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.

Pieter_Bruegel_the_Elder-_Big_Fish_Eat_Little_Fish

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.”

800px-Albrecht_Dürer_-_Cupid_the_Honey_Thief_-_WGA07372

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!

800px-Hercules_killing_Cacus_at_his_Cave

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

Hyperbole

Hyperbolic

 

 

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

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    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!

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  1. 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.

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    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!

      Like

    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… 🙂

      Like

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