Is there a word, preferably a verb, that means to exaggerate a point, or idea, to the detriment of the point?
It seems that if such a word exists it would be rather useful. Often, whether listening to certain people or talking with friends, I feel that certain ideas are willingly exaggerated for a certain effect–perhaps to elicit a “wow” response. But instead I am left feeling as though the deliberate exaggeration of the point was exactly what turned me off.
Hyperbolize means to use hyperbole; to exaggerate. As you may already know, the noun form, hyperbole, means obvious and intentional exaggeration. So you could say to your friend, “You are hyperbolizing, and I’m done listening now.”
If they are repeating themselves to make a point, you could use the phrase ad nauseam. (I can’t think of a verb form for that.) According to Wikipedia, ad nauseam describes an argument that has been continuing “to [the point of] nausea.” If you say, “This has been discussed ad nauseam,” it means the topic in question has been discussed extensively, and that everyone has grown tired of it.
And finally, in debate terminology, there is a logical fallacy known as argumentum ad nauseam (argument to the point of disgust, through repetition). (I can’t think of a verb form for this either.) The American Heritage Dictionary defines this as follows:
Argumentum ad nauseam, or argument from repetition, or argumentum ad infinitum is an argument made repeatedly (possibly by different people) until nobody cares to discuss it any more.
To over-dramatize is to exaggerate for dramatic effect. And over-dramatization can certainly kill enthusiasm.
The other word that comes to mind is belabor which is excessive insistence of an argument even after the point is made.
Coupling these two may be overly dramatic but:
People tend to get annoyed when I belabor my over-dramatized arguments- I don’t know why…
Did Yahusha mean we should literally pluck out our eyes in Matthew 5:29-30?
In the Sermon on the Mount, Yahusha says something that must certainly have seized His hearers’ attention: “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell” (Matthew 5:29–30). Yahusha repeats the admonition in Matthew 18:8–9, except there He adds the need to dispense with a foot as well as a hand and an eye.
The graphic word pictures of Matthew 5 and 18 still grab attention today, and they raise the question of how literally we should take Yahusha’ commands in these passages. Does Yahusha actually mean to say that we should pluck out our eyes or sever a hand if we are prone to sin? It may be of comfort to know that Yahusha’ instructions in these particular verses are not meant to be taken literally. We need not mutilate our bodies as a punishment for our sin. Rather, Yahusha means that we should be prepared to make exceptional sacrifices if we want to follow Him (see Matthew 16:24).
Yahusha had just warned His audience against using their eyes for lustful purposes (Matthew 5:28), so His prescribed remedy for lust—to pluck out an eye—makes sense, in a radical sort of way. But it is the radical nature of His statement that makes it so memorable.
When Yahusha advises us to pluck out a sinful eye or cut off an unruly hand, He is employing a figure of speech known as hyperbole. Hyperbole is an obvious exaggeration or an intentional overstatement. Examples of hyperbole in modern speech would include statements like “This bag of groceries weighs a ton,” “I’ve been waiting forever,” and “Everyone knows that.” The apostle Paul uses hyperbolic language in Galatians 4:15. Hyperbole, like other figures of speech, is not meant to be taken literally.
Yahusha’ purpose in saying, hyperbolically, that sinners should pluck out their eyes or cut off their hands is to magnify in His hearers’ minds the heinous nature of sin. Sin is any action or thought that is contrary to the character of Yahuah. The result of sin is death, from which Yahusha wants to preserve us (see Hebrews 2:9). Yahusha warns of hell because He doesn’t want people to go there (Matthew 5:29–30).
Sin takes people to hell (see Revelation 21:8), and that makes sin something to avoid at all costs. Yahusha says that, whatever is causing you to sin, take drastic measures to get that thing out of your life. “It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. . . . It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell” (Matthew 18:8–9). Nothing is worth missing heaven for. Nothing is worth going to hell for. Nothing.
Yahuah takes sin seriously—seriously enough to sacrifice His only begotten Son to destroy it. We must take sin seriously as well. A lack of repentance is a crime punishable by eternal death. It is better to deny our flesh—to pluck out an eye or cut off a hand, as it were—than to risk sinning against Yahuah. Yahuah demands holiness (1 Peter 1:15), but we naturally tend to pamper ourselves and excuse our sin. That is why we need Yahusha’ shocking, radical hyperbole to wake us from our spiritual complacency.