The word ‘hyperbole’ is derived from Greek, meaning excess. It literally means to exceed or to throw beyond. Hyperboles are mainly found in literature and add humor to the story and color to a character.
Like metaphor or simile, a hyperbole is a figurative language. Since hyperbole involves two objects, it is often confused with the use of simile and metaphor. Hyperbole, however, does not involve comparison of two things as in similes and metaphors, but just creates an exaggerated effect of a particular quality or action. Basically, hyperbole is an exaggeration as in the following example: ‘He has the weight of an elephant.’
Like other figures of speech, hyperbole is used to communicate emotions, images, and ideas in a more efficient way than using plain language. For instance, a writer might want to say that John has a large house. Authors can use hyperboles to frame their ideas and give them the context in order to allow readers to better understand what they intend. For example, if John really lives in a very big house, the author may write, “John’s house is so big that a million people can fit into it.’
Authors have been using hyperbole for many centuries. Modern tall tales use hyperbole to exaggerate the characteristics and feats of their characters. Hyperbole is also used in comedy to provide a humorous description of something or somebody.
References
http://www.innovateus.net/innopedia/how-use-hyperbole
http://figurativelanguage.net/Hyperbole.html

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