hyperbole

Definition

Media Studies

  • noun exaggeration or over-statement for literary effect, not intended to be taken literally

Idiom of “hyperbole”

Hyperbole is overstatement or exaggeration, used for emphasis and effect. It is a feature of many idiomatic expressions: old as the hills, spread like wildfire, a whale of a time, a flood of tears, loads of money, waiting for ages and frozen to death (two examples often found together if the speakers are at a bus stop!), make a mountain out of a molehill, tear someone to shreds, etc. Other examples include: work one’s fingers to the bone (= work very hard); eat someone out of house and home (= eat huge amounts); worship the ground someone treads on (= revere someone); laugh one’s head off (= laugh outrageously).

Hyperbole is common in journalism, and in comic or burlesque writing, for example in much of the fiction of Charles Dickens and in the ‘tall tales’ of the American frontier in the mid-19th century.
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