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What are some examples of hyperbole?

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Quick Answer

Hyperbole is intentional exaggeration, such as "I'd give my right arm for a slice of cheesecake right now" or "Your suitcase weighs a ton!" Hyperbole is a literary device used to add emphasis. The word originates from Latin and dates back as far as 15 B.C.

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"I was frozen solid" is a common example of hyperbole one might use to express extreme cold during the winter. "I'm so hungry I could eat a horse" is another common exaggeration, as is the expression "trainwreck" in reference to a failure. People who want to express how much they don't want to do something might say they wouldn't do it in a million years, while people who want to express how busy they are might say they're working 24 hours a day, seven days a week. People who find a situation uncomfortable or annoying often claim the situation is killing them.

Hyperbole appears in many literary works. Shakespeare used hyperbole several times in his famous play "Macbeth" – for example, "Thy crown does scar mine eye-balls." Another famous work including hyperbole is "The Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad, where he states: "I had to wait in the station ten days – an eternity."

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