Translation Musings: Word of the Day!

Feb 11, 2014 | Uncategorized

dictionaryAnd the word for this rather changeable Tuesday is… hyperbole!

This caused a group of us a long discussion and much googling last night over the pronunciation. There were two schools of thought – one right and one wrong! One is that it is pronounced hy-per-bowl; like Super Bowl but bigger. Unfortunately, though logical, this is not correct.

The correct pronunciation of hyperbole is, in fact, hy-per-bo-lee. But it’s one of those words, like Her-my-o-nee, that, when read, acquires its own pronunciation in your head. It can then be quite disconcerting when you hear it said (correctly).

So where does it come from to be pronounced so annoyingly? Well, it’s from the Greek, by way of Latin, and the ‘e’ on the end of many ancient Greek words is pronounced ‘ee’ (Hermione, you will not be surprised to hear, is also a Greek name). Hyper meaning above/beyond and ballo/bol/ballein – to throw.

And so the meaning: a way of speaking or writing that makes someone or something sound bigger, better, more, etc. than they are/exaggeration, extravagance

So now you know and can hyperbole to your heart’s content.


image credit: asifthebes @ stock.xchng