Copyright ©2010 by Paul NiquetteAll rights reserved.

hyperbole n. a way of emphasizing what you are saying or writing by describing the subject or event as far more extreme than it really is.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with hyperbole.  It may be the most effective weapon for attacking the bland, the mundane, the ordinary. Like any weapon, though, hyperbole can be dangerous in the hands of the mindless and inappropriate in the presence of juveniles. I don't use the word 'hyperbole' because it would be necessary only in an explanation for someone who doesn't get it.  Better, I think, to let him or her enjoy bewilderment.

Ron Niquette is famous worldwide among those of us who share the name Niquette. The man has a gift for hyperbole. His writing makes that of Dave Barry resemble a potato crop report in The Idaho Statesman.

For an incidental entry, the author of 101 Words I Don't Use spent  hours groping for a hyperbolic way to represent extreme astonishment, eventually coming up with what was thought then to be a sprightly word picture...

"Three times I have experienced facial paroxysms, my eyebrows uncontrollably seeking refuge in my forelocks."
Not long after -- by pure coincidence! -- a letter on an unrelated subject arrived from Ron  Niquette, embedded within which was a criminal attack upon the same literary need...
My eyebrows twitched in unison and leaped uncontrollably skyward, scrambling up my forehead and tunneling into my scalp like a pair of terrified gophers, thrashing my pompadour into disheveled rows much as wheat blown in a stiff Kansas wind, continuing their subterranean scamper down my neck and spine, accelerating beneath the berms and dunes that once I sat upon, finally exhausting themselves in breathless swellings behind my ankles.

 Will  it ever be necessary to explain that this sentence is hyperbole?  I think the hell not.

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Origin: 1520s, from Latin hyperbole, Greek hyperbole "exaggeration, extravagance," related to hyperballein "to throw over or beyond," from hyper- "beyond" + bole "a throwing, a casting, the stroke of a missile, bolt, beam," from bol-, nominative. stem of ballein "to throw" (see ballistics). Rhetorical sense is found in Aristotle and Isocrates.