What is hyperbole?

Hyperbole is the deliberate use of exaggeration to create feeling (sympathy, anger, humour) or an impression.

Note on hyperbole

You should be careful with using hyperbole – a little can add variety, but don’t make it too crazy or use it too often. You should also choose when to use it – serious writing doesn’t generally use hyperbole.


Hyperbole exampleMeaning
He has tons of moneyHe is rich
Her brain is the size of a peaShe is stupid
I’m so hungry I could eat a horseI’m very hungry
If I am seen with her, I will die of embarrassmentI would be embarrassed if people see me with her
It’s going to take me a million yearsIt’s going to take a really long time
I’m freezingI’m really cold
This room is boilingThis room is really hot
I’m starvingI’m really hungry
I’ve been dying of the flu all weekI’ve been really sick with the flu all week

Further common examples

I have a million things to doI have a mountain of paperwork to do
I will be there in two secondsShe is so thin that when she turns sideways she disappears
The bus is taking foreverYou’re always doing that
I’ve told you a thousand timesShe has been working here since the beginning of time
I’m so tired I could sleep for a weekShe is so beautiful she could stop traffic