(uncountable) Extreme exaggeration or overstatement; especially as a literary or rhetorical device.
(uncountable) Deliberate exaggeration.
(countable) An instance or example of this technique.
(countable, obsolete) A hyperbola.
1800s=1837 1841 1843,
* 1602 — i 3
*: ...and when he speaks
'Tis like a chime a-mending; with terms unsquar'd,
Which, from the tongue of roaring Typhon dropp'd,
Would seem hyperboles .
* 1837 —
*: The great staircase, however, may be termed, without much hyperbole , a feature of grandeur and magnificence.
* 1841 — , ch. 28
*: "Nay - nay - good Sumach," interrupted Deerslayer, whose love of truth was too indomitable to listen to such hyperbole with patience.
* 1843 —
*: The honourable gentleman forces us to hear a good deal of this detestable rhetoric; and then he asks why, if the secretaries of the Nizam and the King of Oude use all these tropes and hyperboles , Lord Ellenborough should not indulge in the same sort of eloquence?
* c.1910 —
*: Of course the hymn has come to us from somewhere else, but I do not know from where; and the average native of our village firmly believes that it is indigenous to our own soil—which it can not be, unless it deals in hyperbole , for the nearest approach to a river in our neighborhood is the village pond.
* 2001 - Tom Bentley, Daniel Stedman Jones, The Moral Universe
*: The perennial problem, especially for the BBC, has been to reconcile the hyperbole -driven agenda of newspapers with the requirement of balance, which is crucial to the public service remit.
Exceptional, conspicuous, outstanding, most usually in a negative fashion.
* 16thC , ,
- The student has made egregious errors on the examination.
* c1605 , , Act 2, Scene 3,
- I cannot cross my arms, or sigh "Ah me," / "Ah me forlorn!" egregious foppery! / I cannot buss thy fill, play with thy hair, / Swearing by Jove, "Thou art most debonnaire!"
* 22 March 2012 , Scott Tobias, AV Club The Hunger Games [http://www.avclub.com/articles/the-hunger-games,71293/]
- My lord, you give me most egregious indignity.
Outrageously bad; shocking.
- When the goal is simply to be as faithful as possible to the material—as if a movie were a marriage, and a rights contract the vow—the best result is a skillful abridgment, one that hits all the important marks without losing anything egregious .
The negative meaning arose in the late 16th century, probably originating in sarcasm. Before that, it meant outstanding in a good way. Webster also gives “distinguished” as an archaic form, and notes that its present form often has an unpleasant connotation (e.g., "an egregious error" ). It generally precedes such epithets as “rogue,” “rascal,” "ass," “blunderer”.