Hyperbole or Exaggeration?

In a previous post, I gave examples of hyperbole in Filipino (Tagalog) lyrics. This time I am sharing a list of hyperbole in English — para fair, charot.

But before I get there, I’d also like to share that I did some cursory Google searching, and I learned that an exaggeration is not necessarily the same as a hyperbole. Hyperbole is a type of exaggeration that is taken beyond the extremes of reality. An expression has to be obviously exaggerated — impossible, unrealistic, etc. — for it to count as a hyperbole.

So if I say, for instance, that my meeting yesterday was so boring it put me to sleep (even though it didn’t), I am simply exaggerating. Anyone can fall asleep during a meeting, so it doesn’t count as hyperbolic. But if I instead say that my meeting was so boring it put the entire Canada to sleep, I am extremely exaggerating and am therefore using a hyperbole to make a point. Makes sense?

I didn’t have that nuance in mind when I was putting together the songs for this list. Now that I have a better understanding of what a hyperbole should be, I will do the exercise of classifying whether the lyrics I collected are a hyperbole or an exaggeration. Let’s see.

Hyperbole or exaggeration?

A typical lighting bolt has about 30,000 amps, and anything above 0.1 amp is lethal to the human body. So if we take the lyrics literally, a thunderbolt through the heart will more likely end things than start them. I therefore conclude that these lyrics count as a hyperbole.

Verdict: Hyperbole

Hyperbole or exaggeration?

Whether we’re talking about airglow or just regular highway lighting, it is extremely unrealistic to expect a single face to illuminate the fucking sky, no matter how oily the fucking skin is. This is a hyperbole for sure.

Verdict: Hyperbole

Hyperbole or exaggeration?

It is quite extreme to give every piece of yourself to another person, but is it necessarily unrealistic? We can “give” out our hand by literally extending our arm towards the other person. We can also give out our hearts and other organs via organ donation. I’d say these lines lean more towards exaggeration than hyperbole.

Verdict: Exaggeration

Hyperbole or exaggeration?

I used to think that anything that uses a catch-all term like “all” or “everybody” is easily a hyperbole. Doesn’t it seem unrealistic to say that fruitcake has at some point got all mothers giggling in sheer delight? But is it extreme enough to be considered hyperbolic? Hmm. I think I need more time to think about this. I will pass on this one for now.

Verdict: Unsure

Hyperbole or exaggeration?

Hyperbole for sure! People can’t fly spontaneously, and the existing machines and devices that allow human flight (e.g. planes, helicopters, hot air balloons) all need to be prepped before take off. Nobody can launch themselves up the sky immediately upon seeing their crush so, yeah.

Verdict: Hyperbole

Hyperbole or exaggeration?

The first half of the lyrics is a hyperbole. Not even your mortal enemy’s greasy-ass face has enough oil supply to power a single ship, what more 1,000? The line is also a reference to Helen of Troy, the popular character in Greek myth who was thought to be hella attractive she drove men to battle and caused the Trojan War. The latter half of the verse is more an exaggeration than a hyperbole. A thousand unkept promises doesn’t sound unrealistic to me.

Verdict: Half-hyperbole, half-exaggeration

Hyperbole or exaggeration?

The sky changes hue because of atmospheric particles and other factors, not because of some random person’s GPS location. This is therefore a hyperbole. Also, the song is dope. Please listen to it hehehe.

Verdict: Hyperbole

Hyperbole or exaggeration?

I picked these lines because of the word “all” and, as with the Eheads lyrics above, I am not sure if these Shirley lines count as an exaggeration or a hyperbole. Cells don’t thrum, do they? But is it necessarily hyperbolic to say that they do? Hmm. For now I’d say these lines are neither an exaggeration nor a hyperbole.

Verdict: Neither

Hyperbole or exaggeration?

The location of the heart is pretty standard among most humans, so not being able to find one’s heart is quite unrealistic. However, I don’t think these lyrics are extreme enough to count as a hyperbole.

Verdict: Exaggeration

Hyperbole or exaggeration?

People die for different reasons, and these lyrics use death in exaggerated terms to demonstrate how extreme the persona has been affected/touched by another person. Clearly a hyperbole.

Verdict: Hyperbole

Hyperbole or exaggeration?

Commercial lunar flights are not a thing yet, but this is about to change as more and more billionaires set their eyes on commercializing and colonizing space. Soon, “taking someone to the moon” will no longer be as extremely exaggerated as it sounds today. For now, I count this as a hyperbole.

Verdict: Hyperbole

Hyperbole or exaggeration?

This one’s quite obvious, isn’t it? Saying “I’m frozen” is a common hyperbole to portray how stunned or shocked one is.

Verdict: Hyperbole

Hyperbole or exaggeration?

I think we’ve all been there. We’ve all been too sluggish and too lethargic to do anything, and I think describing this feeling as being “in a coma” is quite extreme (but also quote-unquote accurate).

Verdict: Hyperbole

Hyperbole or exaggeration?

I would say this is a hyperbole because of how it is phrased, but I would also say that the use of death in this context is already a dead metaphor. When people say, “I’m dying to _____,” the image of literal death does not come to mind anymore. The phrase “dying to” has become synonymous with extreme desire for something. It’s still hyperbolic though, right?

Verdict: Hyperbole…?

That’s it pansit. Here’s a YouTube playlist if you want to check out the songs. You can also counter my verdicts and share other examples of your favorite hyperbole in OPM or even non-OPM lyrics if you like.

Have a good week ahead!

7 Comments

      1. rAdishhorse

        yun nga, napasearch tuloy ako tungkol jan. ang sinabi lang dati ni Japs sa myx, may nagpapabili ng balisong kay RB nung nag gig sila. pero di sya nakabili. tingin ko may posibilidad naman un kay KC at RB. pero grabe kc yun ibang chismis, na anak daw nung 2 yung batang inampon ni sharon. ngaun ko lang nabasa yun sa ibang blogs. hahaha

        actually sasabihin ko sana na hindi sya hyperbole. kc medyo literal sya, kung totoo ang chismis.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Jolens

          ako naman ang narinig ko n’ung bagets pa ako, sa bali raw pinalaglag ‘yung bata. hahahuhu.

          tingin ko non-literal pa rin kasi ‘di naman literal na umiilaw ang mukha? haha. although baka hindi nga hyperbole. i think mas akma kung metonymy haha.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. rAdishhorse

            oo nga no? di rin pala literal.. hahaha. ‘your face’ para sa ‘your face on the billboard’.
            anyway, medyo nako-connect ko rin yung Imposible (rivermaya) at Balisong.. pareho sila tungkol sa pag ibig sa isang star/artista/sikat na tao? parang ganun.

            Liked by 1 person

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