Hyperbole is the literary term used for exaggeration. When authors use hyperbole, they do not mean for their statements to be taken literally-they are exaggerating the facts for effect.
1. My father drives 1,000 miles per hour!
2. I ate a ton of food for dinner.
3. Mom, if I don't get some dinner soon, I will starve to death!
4. I don't think a herd of elephants would be as noisy as this class is today!
5. It seems to have been raining for 40 days and 40 nights.
6. The mayor's speech was never-ending.
7. I like that outfit, but it would cost me an arm and a leg.
Examples of Hyperbole in Literature
Wordsworth describes a field of daffodils, using hyperbole:
"Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:"
Wordsworth, "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud"
"What hands are here? ha! they pluck out mine eyes. Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood Clean from my hand? No, this hand will rather. The multitudinous seas incarnadine, Making the green one red."