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Hyperbole (//; Ancient Greek: ὑπερβολή, huperbolḗ, from ὑπέρ (hupér, 'above') and βάλλω (bállō, 'I throw')) is the use of exaggeration as a rhetorical device or figure of speech. In rhetoric, it is also sometimes known as auxesis (literally 'growth'). In poetry and oratory, it emphasizes, evokes strong feelings, and creates strong impressions. As a figure of speech, it is usually not meant to be taken literally.
Hyperbole is often used for emphasis or effect. In casual speech, it functions as an intensifier: saying "the bag weighed a ton" or "I've been walking for hours;” simply means that the bag was extremely heavy. A hyperbole can be used for serious, ironic, or comic effects. An example of an hyperbole that is used for serious effect occurs in the Christian bible: “If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away” (Matthew 5:30a). Understanding hyperboles and their use in context can help understand the speaker's point. Hyperbole generally conveys feelings or emotions from the speaker, or from those who the speaker may talk about. It can be used in a form of humor, excitement, distress, and many other emotions, all depending on the context in which the speaker uses it.
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