Greeking Out on Hyperbole and the Winter Olympics

I am the hyperbole queen and didn’t even know what it meant. I must have been sick that day. When friends said, “You’re so hyperbolic,” I probably thought they said, “hyperactive,” and nodded my head.


The original big fish story.

A hyperbole is an exaggeration that is not to be taken literally. The name for “exceeding the truth,” originated in the 1500’s in Greece.

That got me thinking. Greece is the birthplace of the Olympic Games. It can’t be a coincidence. I can imagine some Greek god-looking dude saying, “Whoa. I threw that javelin like a thousand meters today. It raced with Cupid across the sky.”


Cupid’s about to get stung by a zillion bees!

Greece was also the birthplace of Greek Mythology and Hercules. Take a look at the engraving below. Cacus may breathe fire, but both men are pretty average-sized. I imagined the God of Strength rippling with muscles. And what’s up with fighting naked? Vulnerability comes to mind, not strength. If this is what Hercules really looked like, than his character description is the epitome of hyperbole.

If he’s not careful, he may be headbutted by that cow and could fall into that spiky undergrowth. Youch!


All three of these renderings and the origin of hyperbole are from the 15th century. Coincidence?

“Bringeth on thou’s greatest exaggerations!” said no one ever. 

The meaning of hyperbole must have taken a really long time to travel to other countries. Just think of how everyone suffered until then:

BHBefore Hyperbole  – “The wood I splitteth must weigh…” He gazes down at logs in his arms. “Waiteth here for 36 seconds. I must retrieveth mine scale.” He carries the wood across room and drops it on the metal tray. “Yes. 67.3 pounds.”

Today – “It weighed a ton.”

BH – “Thou is late and hast makest me wait for,” pulls out pocket watch, “two hours, 48 minutes, and 32 seconds.”

Today – “I waited forever!”

BH – “Thy dwelling is so foul, five thousand virgins wearing rosewater could not conceal its unholy smell.”

Today – “It stinks like somebody died in here.”

Hyperbole is alive and well and can be found at the 2014 Olympic Games.

Here’s an example from Sage Kotsenburg. He’s on Team USA’s Slopestyle team and tweeted this before Shaun White dropped out.

The next tweet could be called an under-exaggeration.

Here’s a retweet from Shaun White promoting his new album.

I bet Team USA will win a boatload of medals in the 2014 Olympics. Okay. I may be  hyperbolic, but I can dream!

Do you tend to exaggerate? If you do, did you know you’re hyperbolic?

Related links:

NBC Winter Olympics Schedule





67 thoughts on “Greeking Out on Hyperbole and the Winter Olympics

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  1. What a post … some brilliant work you have put in here, Susie – Team America always takes loads of medals – and now when Russia is all split up .. I don’t think anyone can beat you.
    Anyhow I will only look at the ice hockey … not an Olympic person – I rather get lost in the Oscars. I know, how sad. But bring the games on .. watch some snowboarding this morning – Swede doing okay.


  2. Fun! Brilliant! World peace inducing post, Susie! (One of the aforementioned is hyperbolic. I leave it to you to decide.)

    Me? I would sooner poke myself in the eye with a hot stick than exaggerate.

    OK. So! I have at least a trillion boxes to unpack in our new and downsized home. Toodles.

    GO TEAM USA!! Win medals. More importantly: be SAFE!


    1. Hey Gloria! Great to “see” you!
      Thanks so much! The ironic stars aligned for this one. 15th century, Greeks and Hyperbole. Who knew?

      Are you still in Texas? Congrats on the new homestead!


  3. I readeth your blog and laughest for 25.2 seconds. Now I doth venture out as did Odysseus and travail the 9.2 meters to my coffee urn so I mayest refill my goblet and quaff of the nectar of Columbian beans.


  4. Good to know hyperbole is alive and well. I know it’s pronounced, “high purbaly” but what if we changed that and had a new venue for a big football game. It could be the Hyperbowl. Think of the plays the teams could make. The sky’s the limit.


  5. The profession I am in, accuracy is paramount. Over or under can lead you to long term migraine. That said, creativity and hyperbole usually complement each other.
    To me Big-Bang theory is bit of an hyperbole (literally & metaphorically)!! 🙂


  6. The Winter Olympics are so much fun but won’t be the same without Lindsey Vaughn and Shawn White. Plus, I have a bad feeling about these games in Russia when it comes to security and the safety of the athletes. They have already received terror threats. Keep fingers crossed.


  7. Hi Susie, I will not watch the Olympics. Not even if a thousand network execs came to my home and offered me a gazillion dollars to watch one minute. I learned my lesson during the Super Bowl, Four hours lost forever, into the ether.


    1. Hi per boly. That’s why I could never put the written word with the spoken word. It always looked pretty revolting like a hyper boil…

      Thanks V! I spent a bout a thousand hours on this one so I’m glad you stopped by!


      1. I have ranted about the silly costumes that figure skaters wear, but you make a good point, I should give equal time to complaining about the grunge togs the snow boarders wear. I can’t imagine that dressing like a roadie for Nirvana makes those maneuvers any easier to pull off.


        1. There’s a lot of color on the slopes this year. Snowboarders sit down in the snow a lot so their jackets are long, but I haven’t seen any flannel shirts this year. There is waaaay too much snow!


  8. My husband is the master of hyperbole. Everything is his favorite. EVERYTHING.

    I love the connection you made here among the Greeks, hyperbole, and the Olympics. It’s my favorite. Ever.


    1. Awww. Thanks! It’s been hard to get people to read this one. I think the title may haven’t them off. I should have called it, “This is the sexiest post you’ll ever read!” That would have hooked them!
      I am just like your husband!


    1. Good one!
      This year, you can watch EVERY event at your leisure on Pay-per-view only it’s free!
      Did you see the Opening Ceremonies? How did they project that? It was like a million holograms!


  9. I use hyperbole all the time, like – all the time. But nobody notices, they just look at me funny…

    Great post! Must admit the Winter Olympics haven’t been too big a splash here in NZ. I think we have a team there. I know of a journalist who’s gone. Possibly it’s because I don’t watch TV rather than because of any lack of actual interest nationally.


    1. Ha! A man after my own heart. I can imagine us talking to each other.
      “Wow, my blog post took me a thousand hours.”
      “Yeah, well mine required research from fifty sources.”
      We could go on like that for days, weeks, MONTHS!!!

      I missed the parade in last night after being caught in traffic. I just looked it up. You have 60 athletes!
      Hey the Jamaican bobsled team is back! I can’t wait to watch them. Here in the States, cable is providing on demand Olympics. We can watch anything we want! In the past skating and skiing/snowboarding dominated.
      Thanks for stopping by!


    1. Awww! Thanks Michelle! I should have use a different title. Not as many people were pulled in by the word “hyperbole.”
      I should have said, “Read the wildest post ever!” Yep. I’m hyperbolic… 🙂


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