hyperbole(redirected from hyperboles)
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hyperbole(hīpûr`bəlē), a figure of speech in which exceptional exaggeration is deliberately used for emphasis rather than deception. Andrew Marvell employed hyperbole throughout "To His Coy Mistress":
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast;
But thirty thousand to the rest …
a stylistic figure or artistic device based on exaggeration. In hyperbole a phenomenon is endowed with a particular attribute to a degree that it does not really possess (for example, N. V. Gogol’s “trousers as wide as the Black Sea”). Thus, hyperbole is an artistic convention and is employed with expressive intentions. It is characteristic of the poetics of epic folklore, romantic poetry, and satirical works (Gogol and V. V. Mayakovsky). The opposite stylistic figure is litotes.