Folks exaggerate… no exaggeration… Fishing yarns often headline tales of excess… “It was a whopper that got away.” But exaggerating to persuade others to consider choices from a different perspective happens every day.
The common figures of speech we use to exaggerate include similes where we compare two things through connecting words “the pebble feels like a gigantic boulder;” metaphors where we describe something as being the same as another unrelated thing without using a connecting word… “the world is a stage;” hyperboles where we use intensifying clauses… “mom is going to strangle us;” personifications where we attribute human characteristics to abstract concepts such as seasons and weather… “time and tide wait for no one;” anthropomorphisms where we attribute human characteristics to beings other than humans, particularly our pets… “my Boston Terrier is ecstatic to see me” and synecdoches (Si Nek Do Keys) where we use part of something to represent the whole… “using the word coke for all carbonated drinks.” Folks exaggerate to amplify successes, obstacles, struggles, and inflate levels of adversity in reaching goals all to bolster self-esteem.
“Expressionist art” attempts to intensify the expression of feeling and attitude by exaggeration’. In healthcare, exaggerations are a means of magnifying small injuries or discomforts to avoid responsibilities. Alarmism is exaggerated alarm about a real or imagined threats and inflated praise through unauthentic flattery is also a form of exaggeration. And when folks embrace negative thinking or overgeneralize they often exaggerate by either blowing things out of proportion or lessening their importance. A typical all-or-nothing thought is… if you’re not with us, you’re against us.
Comedians, using slapstick humor deliver laughs by exaggerating to absurdity. While paradoxical laughter is an exaggerated expression of humor unwarranted by external events such as mournful occasions and is often the basis of material used on late night talk show monologues. Caricature artists exaggerate the essence of folks or things to create easily identifiable likenesses.
When it comes to exaggeration… It’s a Funny Feeling to know we often describe a zillion issues in a suitcase full of challenges, hopes, dreams, and successes through metaphors, hyperboles, personifications, synecdoches (Si Nek Do Keys), and SIMILES… Figures of Speech that we all too often bring to life… to excite and PLEASE…
Copyright Alan P. Xenakis, MD Air Date Oct 17, 2013