‘H’ is for hyperbole

LetterHThe word hyperbole is the Greek referring to the image of throwing a ball high over something and in modern usage means something said or written that exaggerates beyond the reality, and therefore cannot be taken literally. A person may say that the ‘car took off at a million miles an hour’ when clearly it took off at speed but not at that impossible acceleration. You may flatter a woman by saying that her ‘beauty is so dazzling that you need to wear sunglasses’. I’m sure you use hyperbole from time to time, and certainly have heard other people use exaggerated phrases. What are your favourites? The short-form hype is believed to derive from hyperbole when media over-emphasises some news aspect to add drama. How often have you heard or read that someone was floating in shark-infested seas for days? I invite you to comment with your own hyperbole terms − the ones you love and the ones you hate.

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