'Hyperbole' has to be related etymologically to the geometric curve the hyperbola. The sources say they come from the same root, but I can't see how that root relates to the curve. Can anyone help, or is this more mathematical than linguistic?
As I understand it, the two words have totally different meanings because "hyperbola" comes (confusingly) from the Greek "huperbole", whereas "hyperbole" comes (again confusingly) from the Latin "hyperbola".
Hyperbole simply means an exaggerated statement that is not meant to be taken literally. (And there have been many eaxmples of such statements on this board!).
I tend to avoid the use of hyperbole as it will usually lead to trouble if the recipient of the hyperbolism doesn't realise that this is what it is!
For example, although I know a lot about beer, you will never see me claiming to be "The greatest living expert" or using Anheuser Busch's hyperbolical statement "King of Beers" (although maybe they expect people to believe it, in which case it is just a lie - not hyperbole)
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Having read this thread, I am now at a conference in DC where a nationally-recognized expert used hyperbolecompletely wrong, and I had to chuckle a bit as I listened. She was referring to confusion as she said, "There is a certain "hyperbole" that surrounds this conversation". When I got to my room, I checked this discussion and went to onelook, finding that "hyperbole" was the word-of-the-day on dictionary.com.
I am right that there is no way this word can mean "confusion", right? Or--should she be chuckling at me?
It certainly sounds like she used the wrong word, or misused it. I've been trying to think of similar-sounding words that would fit, but without success. Hyperbole can certainly cause confusion, if the listener takes what is said literally.
Hyperbole is a rhetorical device and means "exaggeration for effect". She might have meant that data was suspect because of exaggeration.
Arnie, I suppose she could have meant taking an exaggeration literally (after all, I am a literalist!)--good point! However, she was talking about the confusion between the roles of clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners. So, the "confusion" didn't really include any exaggeration. I think she just didn't understand the definition. If that's the case, it is strange because she is a major international healthcare leader.
Thanks, tsuwm! I'd already changed my own bookmarks but didn't think to post here. It's always good to resurrect mentions of good sites every now and then so that the more recent comers to the board don't miss them!
Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
We started this thread a long time ago when the board first began. We have posted a lot of links for linguaphiles...most (all?) of the best so this thread has died down a bit. Tsuwm has asked me why we don't update our links. That's a good question. If any of you know of links that have changed, please post the new address. I will begin to look, starting from the beginning, to make sure links are current. I'd love a little help from some of you on this.
Also...if there are links that we don't have, please post them!