"When someone says 'We've got people everywhere', you expect it to be hyperbole! Lots of people say that. Florists use that expression. It doesn't mean that they've got somebody working for them inside the bloody room!"It is a staple of fiction, and indeed casual dialog, to exaggerate when describing something. Everyone has heard it before: "I'm gonna hit you into next week!" "I'm the biggest baddest guy in town!" "He's the size of a house." We all know the people saying these things don't actually mean what they're saying. They're just using dramatic flair, that's all. It enhances the conversation or makes it funnier. So when the Mighty Glacier tells his opponent that he's about to be punched through a wall, he can't actually do what he just said. Unless he then proceeds to do exactly what he just said. That's where this trope comes in. Not Hyperbole is when exaggerations and hyperboles that we've all become used to in conversation is neither exaggeration nor hyperbole. The character means exactly what he just said and nothing less and usually proceeds to prove it. Usually part of a Badass Boast. See also Literal Metaphor, and All of Them. Literal Ass-Kicking is a subtrope. "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer is a common variation. My God, You Are Serious may follow as well, if another character realizes that this trope is in play. And incidentally, it's pronounced "Hy-PER-bo-lee," not "Hyper-bowl".
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Anime & Manga
- Fist of the North Star: If Kenshiro says that after he's through with you there will be not one hair left from you, he MEANS it!
- In Mahou Sensei Negima!, Evangeline don't have to exaggerate her threats:
- Mazinger Z: In the first episode, The Professor Dr. Kabuto tells The Hero Kouji whoever pilots Mazinger-Z has the potential to become a god or a devil. As later retellings and versions of the history (especially Z-Mazinger or Shin Mazinger Zero) have proved, Dr. Kabuto was not exaggerating.
- UFO Robo Grendizer: Danbei Makiba constantly yells he will hang with his bare hands whoever gets close to his daughter. Nonetheless, Kouji did not take his threats seriously... until Danbei attempted lynching him. Repeatedly.
- Space Runaway Ideon: The opening theme tells that Ideon can rip apart the galaxy. Obviously an exaggeration, right? You keep thinking that if you live in that universe. You will live happier for as long as you have left.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has the Arc Words, "[Simon's] drill is the drill that will pierce the heavens". Obviously this is a metaphor, right? But by the end of the series, it's not.
- An unintentional variation occurs for a bit of drama in Season 1, Episode 14 of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, and only in the English-language track. Commenting on a recluse supposedly asleep in his bed...
Major: I'm amazed this racket didn't wake him. He sleeps like a dead man.
[pulls curtain; cue surprised look on her face; Togusa looks]
Togusa: That's 'cause he is. Looks like he's been dead for about three or four months.
- In One Piece, most pirates' epithets are usually exaggerated and badass-sounding, but in the case of Big Mom, it's also literal: not only is she a physically huge woman, but she's also the mother of 85 children, born from 43 husbands. Brook even lampshades it.
- The Flash: Weather Wizard states despite being a family man, he is not kidding about threatening to place a tornado into someone's belly, and actually carries it out.
Weather Wizard: That was never an empty threat.
- Lucky Luke has multiple rumors, in-universe, about him being faster on the draw than his own shadow. They're all true. And just in case you think you can get him to expend his six rounds by outnumbering him...
Lucky Luke: I also reload faster than my own shadow.
- X-Men: When Quentin Quire apparently dies, Charlies Xavier realizes that he is actually becoming an Energy Being. This is how he explains it:
Professor X: Quentin Quire was liberated from his physical cocoon and born into a higher world at 4:32 this afternoon. I know how ridiculous that sounds, but in this case we believe it to be the literal truth.
- Preacher: When Jody says he's going to "pull yore Goddamn head off so ol' T.C. can shit down yore neck", it's going to lead to T.C. saying "I better do my part. Either've you got any Kleenex, or'm I gonna have to wipe with my hand?"
- Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man: Prologue 1 is described as "Another exciting episode in the Earth-shaking adventures of Superman". Next to "Earth-shaking", there's an asterisk that leads to the following message from Carmine and Stan: And if you think that's just hyperbole, then, fella — hang on!
- Alice will often follow through on her implausible threats, for instance when she stuffed Asok into his own shirt sleeve and punted him into the ceiling.
- She's also promised to "punch someone into next week" (or next <insert day of week here>), only for the last panel to show them emerging from a time portal. Several times.
- She's also kicked an Elbonian into his own hat.
- In another she threatened to punch a man so hard he'd have to drop his pants to say hello. The last panel shows a pair of arms sticking out of the top of a pair of pants, and Dilbert and Wally wondering what that odd "Melp, melp!" sound is.
- On another occasion she threatens to punch someone with an MBA so hard that everyone else with the same degree feels it. Cut to Dilbert and Wally talking to a third guy who suddenly doubles over in pain.
- Garfield once kicked Odie into next week. True enough, Odie didn't appear until the following Monday, when he fell on Garfield.
- U.S. Acres:
- Because of his allergy to flowers, Roy doesn't like it when Booker brings any to the chicken coop. One time, he said "Don't bring those flowers in here! You want me to sneeze my feathers off?!" Enraged, Booker picks a giant flower and brings it to Roy in retaliation. The sneeze was so strong that both Roy and Booker lost their feathers.
- In one strip, Lanolin threatens to slap Roy's beak to the moon. She literally does that later.
- In one Hägar the Horrible strip, Hagar is in bed, above him a log being sawn in half indicating he is sound asleep. Then in the next panels, the saw turns into an axe, then a lumberjack with an axe, then a two-man saw, then finally, a sawmill rotary blade, as he uncomfortably turns and then thrashes in his sleep. Finally, he wakes up, falling out of bed:
Helga: How did you sleep?
Hagar: Like a log.
- In Walking in the Shadows, when D'hoffryn refers to Xander as a "Paladin of snack foods", he's dead serious as demonstrated when Xander magically heals people emotionally with hugs.
- After getting fed up with SG-1's insistence they sign NDAs before being told anything about what's going on in Not In Kansas, Kara threatens to drop kick O'Neil into the Atlantic Ocean if he doesn't start talking. When he still tries to get her to wait until everyone has signed a NDA, Kara asks if he'd prefer landing in the North or South Atlantic.
- From near the beginning of Tsum Tsum meets My Little Pony:
Sweetie Belle: Well she better hurry! I'm about to climb the walls!
Scootaloo: Oh, Sweetie Belle... [laughs]
Sweetie Belle: You think I'm jokin', huh? [proceeds to climb wall]
Scootaloo: I'm surprised you don't get a cutie mark for that.
- In He Who Fights Monsters, Tsukune is dead serious when he says his girlfriend will kill anyone who tries to steal him away from her.
- In one Buffy the Vampire Slayer story, Tara tries to enter Xander's mind to help clear up leftovers from his various possessions but warns him that it requires complete trust between them and it's likely to take weeks for her to even approach the border between their minds. When Xander insists he trust her fully, Tara waves it off because it's easy to say such but hard to mean it. Then she finds herself smack dab in the center of his mind, causing her to realize Xander really does trust her completely.
- In the comedic-yet insane MLP fanfic MLP: FML, Applejack threatened to "kick yer (Fluttershy's) little yellow ass right into next winter." if she didn't take care of her apples. She makes good on her promise right after she finds out that Fluttershy fed them to the Parasprites and kicks her straight into the Winter Wrap Up episode.
- In Code Geass: A Different Code V.V. claims that C.C. loves pizza so much you could set a box on top of a landmine, paint "land mine" on said box, and she'd still let herself get blown up to have some. Lelouch insists such a claim is ridiculous only for V.V. to respond that he actually did it once.
- Dragon Ball Z Abridged: Kami wasn't kidding when he said Mr. Popo dropped a gallon of LSD:
Piccolo: A gallon?!
Kami: A literal gallon. Out of a milk jug. I don't even know where he got it from; he never leaves this place.
- In This Bites!, Cross wonders if Hamburg is even human, Itomimizu tells him that's the multi-million beri question, then explains that's how large the ship's betting pool on the topic is.
- When Cross threatens to turn Luffy into Greninja (that is, wrap Luffy's tongue around his neck like a scarf), he's dead serious.
- Few people who hear Ahsoka Tano (and later Aayla Secura) say she can't tell them Harry's secrets in I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For realize she means that she's incapable of it. Due to a Magical Oath, if she intentionally tells someone (and she physically can't do so accidentally or be forced to), she'll be stripped of her ability to use the Force/magic.
- The narration in My Little Pony: Versus Equestria refers to Trixie and Rabbit as being "thick as thieves". This gets repeated after it's revealed they actually are thieves.
- In I'm HALPING, Zachary literally punches Assault into the next state. (His kinetic energy manipulation means that he's not actually hurt). Lampshaded by Clockblocker.
- In Robb Returns, when Robert warned the Septon of Storm's End to not to attempt to damage the Weirwood sapling under pain of having his nose smeared all over his face, he was not joking.
- When Xander says he's attracted to breasts in Crush, he's not saying that he finds them arousing (though he does); he's saying he's magnetically attracted to breasts. When Powergirl enters the room, Xander goes flying face first into her cleavage. Powergirl flies upwards a few feet, only for Xander to remain stuck.
- In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, Spectrem finds out that yes, Paul is genuinely invulnerable, as advertised:
Spectrem paused again, now rather astonished as well as angry. “How tough are you?”
Paul almost wanted to laugh, except he was too pissed off. “I'm invulnerable, or hadn't your spies told you that?”
“Well, yeah, I know you're tough, or I wouldn't've attacked you, but even Andro would've been affected by all that, and he's three times stronger than you!”
“Well, I haven't any idea why that's so,” Paul snapped, though he was quite pleased to find out he was tougher than the Guardians' leader. “I'm sure you know much better than me about such things.”
- A Professor And A Student has Kukui assumes that mention of Ash's Pokemon using moves on him as a friendly greeting/training method is showing them at a safe distance or at very low power. He is flabbergasted when Lillie observes that this is not the case during his training of Rockruff.
- In episode 8 of Hellsing Ultimate Abridged, when Anderson forgives Alucard, the latter calls bullshit by saying only God has that right, to which Anderson agrees and offers to let Alucard "speak to Him". Alucard assumed this was just a Badass Boast by way of Implied Death Threat. However, some time later, when Anderson's holy vines ensnare and immolate Alucard...
God: Vlad Tepes of Wallachia... Son of the Dragon... the Impaler...
Alucard: Oh, fuck me, he wasn't kidding! *ahem* Hello, God!
- Dungeon Keeper Ami: From Writing Home:
She had thought that the references to Boris' homeland being an outpost of hell now had been hyperbole. She was surrounded on all sides by sulphurous wastelands and blackened rock formations, broken up only by patches and rivulets of lava that gaped like open, bloody wounds in the landscape.
- Child of the Storm: Early on in the sequel Ghosts of the Past, Wanda swears to find Sinister and make him pay for the abusive childhood he ensured Harry received by reducing him to screaming molecules, with the narration noting that she's being entirely literal in her statement. And a few chapters later she keeps that promise, confronting and effectively melting him.
Films — Live-Action
- Used and lampshaded by M in Quantum of Solace, for the sheer Refuge in Audacity: Bond drags in a bad guy at the beginning of the movie who is resistant to interrogation. When the bad guy smugly informs Bond that, "Well, one thing you should know is that we have people everywhere," one of M's personal bodyguards pulls out his weapon and tries to assassinate her.
M: When someone says 'We've got people everywhere', you expect it to be hyperbole! Lots of people say that. Florists use that expression. It doesn't mean that they've got somebody working for them inside the bloody room!
- The Chronicles of Riddick:
- In The Chronicles of Riddick, when a couple of guards harass Riddick's friend Kyra, Riddick calmly informs one that he can kill him with a tea cup. And then he does. Next, he holds up a key to a sardine tin and puts it down meaningfully in the same place where the tea cup was — and the other two get the hell out of there.
- It continues into the next installment, Riddick, where Riddick threatens the total asshole villain Santana that he is going to kill him with his own, shiny blade. Santana tells him "I would like to see that" while Riddick is tied up. Needless to say, Riddick quickly ends him.
- From the John Ritter film Hero at Large, Steve is talking to his agent Marty about Marty not getting him any stage work (instead of all the commercials he's doing).
Steve: Marty, how much can you do with, "That's what I call beer"? Marty, get me a play, any play.
Marty: It's not like you never had one. Last summer, Shakespeare in the Park.
Steve: I carried a spear. Marty, that's a joke. When an actor says he carried a spear, he doesn't mean he carried a spear. I. Carried. A spear.
- Hancock goes to prison and tells some prisoners to leave him alone or "your head is going up his ass". They don't leave him alone. The first one's head goes up the second one's ass. It is humiliating.
- The Watch: Bob threatens to rip his daughter's boyfriend's dick out with his bare hands. During the climax of the film he does just that. The boyfriend is an alien, and that's where his brain was.
- The Nutty Professor:
- Dean Richmond provides a memorable example in the Eddie Murphy remake:
Dean Richmond: You won't. I know you won't. As a matter of fact, I know you're going to be perfect! Do you know how I know all these things? I know them because if you're not perfect, nevermind the yelling, the screaming and the firing. If anything goes wrong, for any reason... I'm going to kill you. And I don't mean that as a euphemism, I am going to literally kill you. I'm going to strangle you and choke off your air supply until you pass away.
- Buddy threatens him with an Ironic Echo near the end of the movie.
- Dean Richmond provides a memorable example in the Eddie Murphy remake:
- Kick-Ass 2: Mindy states at one point that she can kill a man with his own finger. As Black Death finds out the hard way during the final fight, she's not kidding. So when she says she is going to feed a guy his own dick, that is also true.
- In Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Grandpa Potts at first assumes that the Baron's threat to "stuff [his] head with cauliflower and feed it to the ducks" if he can't reinvent his son's car is either a joke or an exaggeration. However, the other scientists in the lab assure him that the Baron's threats are never jokes, giving some unpleasant descriptions of what he's done to them. (A very tall scientist there claims he was a midget before they started using a stretch rack on him.)
- X-Men Film Series
- In The Wolverine, when Logan tells Noburo he has ten words to explain what's going on, he means ten words.
- Deadpool 2: When Juggernaut says he's going to tear someone in half, it's not just a figure of speech, as Deadpool painfully finds out.
Juggernaut: I'm gonna rip you in half now.
Deadpool: That is such a Juggernaut thing to say!
- The Dresden Files:
- A Black Court vampire, Mavra, once got away with successfully blackmailing Harry's friend Murphy, by having evidence that would destroy her. After nearly killing himself to ensure Murphy's protection, Harry tells Mavra in no uncertain terms that this will never happen again, and that if anything happens to Murphy, he's declaring war on her, personally, and that he will pick up every weapon he has at his disposal to end Mavra.
- Fast forward to Changes, and another vamp has kidnapped Harry's daughter. And he picks up every weapon he has, and is fully ready and willing to sell his soul and worse to get even more weapons. The only two in his arsenal he holds back on the Darkhallow and the Denarius. And then proceeds to exterminate the entire Red Court of vampires. All of them. And for the record, if he had to use the Darkhallow or the Denarius, he would have. Without hesitation. Fortunately for him, he had a less evil option. Which is not to say he didn't pay a hell of a price for it.
- Also in Changes, Harry tells someone "I have literally killed people I like more than you." He's not joking.
- Mouse's bark has been described as loud enough it can be heard from a mile away. Later, in an odd turn of events, Mouse shows that he was holding back, and if anything, the entire cast underestimated him.
- When Lara Raith starts getting a little too physical with Harry, Ebenezer McCoy threatens to wipe her off the earth and leave her family with nothing but a pair of five-hundred dollar shoes to bury. Lara is a vampire. She is armed, surrounded by bodyguards and ready for a fight. She, and everyone around her, know that if the old hillbilly wanted to turn her into a charred, greasy smear, he could and he would and there is literally nothing she could do to stop him. Of course, he did just that in a previous book to an equivalently high-ranking Red Court vampire. (Except Ortega's shoes probably didn't survive in buriable condition.)
- In Skin Game Harry muses that Mab will crucify him if he fails to follow through on helping Nicodemus steal the Holy Grail. He is not joking. In fact, if he doesn't follow through, he would be lucky to get off with just crucifixion. Harry's seen what Mab did to the last Winter Knight who displeased her.
- From Earth (The Book):
Q: How many insects are there currently on Earth?
A: 500 quintillion.
Q: How rough an estimate is that?
A: That is the exact number.
- The Wheel of Time has a woman break down in hysterics when she discovers the body of a man who's been murdered by the gholam: "However many times she had heard of a person torn limb from limb, she had never seen the results before."
- In Robin McKinley's The Hero and the Crown, Luthe tells Aerin, "I will love you until the stars crumble, which is a much less idle threat than is usual for lovers on parting." He is indeed not kidding: he's immortal.
- In Words of Radiance, second book of The Stormlight Archive, part of the reason Adolin is willing to enter an Arranged Marriage is because he has had horrible luck with women; his aunt even claims he has offended every eligible woman in the warcamps. Throughout the book, every single time he runs into an eligible woman, she is personally annoyed at him. Every one. Up to and including the stablemaster, who nonchalantly starts throwing rocks at Adolin while instructing Kaladin and co. how to ride a horse.
- In Hogfather, mention is made of Biers, a bar where the undead drank. "When Igor the barman was asked for a Bloody Mary, he didn't mix a metaphor."
- In Mort, Death's Apprentice Mort manages to piss off Death so he strikes him across the face. A later book presented Death's grand-daughter Susan, daughter to Mort and Death's adopted daughter Ysabell. Susan has three parallel skeletal-looking birth-marks on her left cheek — Death really did punch Mort so hard that his future children felt it.
- The Age of Fire's Red Queen once told AuRon that she couldn't be bothered to die. And thanks to her Cloning Gambit and Body Surfing abilities, this turns out to be true, even decades after her apparent death.
- When Garion says that Sadi "could poison one man at a banquet of a thousand people, he thought he was exaggerating. Later, Sadi actually does just that, via an ingeniously simple workaround; he poisoned the target's spoon.
- In The Ender's Shadow series, the Russian military abducts a group of young military geniuses to serve as their military planners in the coming war. Realizing that a group of highly trained, super-intelligent tacticians are going to be hard to control, they put very aggressive security measures in place. While listing these measures, one character mentions "They weigh our bodily wastes. I'm not kidding."
- Heretical Edge gives us this completely literal Badass Boast from Bastet: “Perhaps I have not made myself clear. The only chance you have of harming these children is if any happen to be allergic to your blood or the dust of your bones as it fills this room.” She then proceeds to wipe out a dozen experienced Heretics without a single attack going uncountered.
- Raymond Queneau's 1961 book 100 Billion Poems featured 10 sonnets (14-verse poems) whose verses could be perfectly combined with one another's, resulting in a number of possible combinations of poems approximately equal to the one read in the title.
- In The Micallef Program, Shaun introduces a guest with "My next guest needs no introduction" and then stares silently into the camera for a beat before the guest walks onstage.
- There are some people who will claim that they're older than God. Death might actually be telling the truth. (Probably not though, both he and his sister claim that they're the first things there ever were)
- Similarly, in "Dark Side of the Moon", Dean tells the men who are about to kill him that he'll come back and kill them. Sure enough.... Of course, Dean had already pulled that trick once before, and he knew that the angels wouldn't let them stay dead for long.
- In Arrested Development Lucille is one of the world's worst drivers. Her clip from World's Worst Drivers showed her responding to a space she might have had to parallel park into by driving in vertically, leaving her car covering half the road.
- In one episode of Parks and Recreation, Ron goes into a diner and asks the waiter to give him "all the bacon and eggs you have." When the waiter starts to leave, Ron stops him and adds:
Ron: I'm worried that what you heard was, "give me a lot of bacon and eggs." What I said was, "give me all the bacon and eggs you have."
- Babylon 5:
- Londo claims about G'Kar. "I will kill him one day." Without prompting, he explains it isn't a threat, it isn't him being annoyed. Centauri have prophetic dreams. He knows that they will die strangling each other. Years later, they do. Although it doesn't go the way we originally thought it would: G'Kar mercy-kills Londo at his own request to free himself from a Puppeteer Parasite, and the parasite gains control just long enough to strangle G'kar to death in kind.
- Marcus makes a Badass Boast when trying to get some thugs to talk, and then follows through on it when the thugs remained silent:
Marcus: Because if you don't, then in five minutes I'll be the only person at this table still standing. Five minutes after that, I'll be the only person in this room still standing. So, who's in?
[ten minutes and a room full of senseless, drooling thugs later]
Marcus: Bugger! Now I have to wait for someone to wake up!
- The words, "I'll never leave you, Delenn, not if the whole universe stood between us," read as textbook Romantic Hyperbole, right? Yeah, not when you're John Sheridan. The universe does, and he doesn't.
- Subverted in Sherlock: The first episode has John Watson being kidnapped and confronted by an upperclass gentleman who claims to be "the closest thing to a friend that Sherlock is capable of having: An enemy. He would probably call me his Arch-Enemy." This is, however, just a ruse by Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock's older brother. However, another dialogue might suggest more than that:
John: So, when you say you're concerned about him... you really are concerned?
Mycroft: Yes, of course.
John: And when you said it's a childish feud... it really is a childish feud?
- It happens several times in Supergirl:
- In "Livewire", Kara's opinion of chocolate pecan pie:
Kara: Chocolate pecan pie is the best dessert in the galaxy. And as someone who's been to twelve different planets, I mean that literally.
- In "Luthors", Kara describes Metallo, an android whose heart has been replaced with a machine:
Kara: He literally has no heart.
- In "a crossover episode" with The Flash (2014), Kara and her boyfriend make up, but she promises she'll drop a mountain on his head if he ever lies to her again:
- In "Livewire", Kara's opinion of chocolate pecan pie:
- Everybody Hates Chris:
- Chris imagines his mother slapping him into next week by showing the family at dinner with him missing. When asked where he is, his mother answers she "slapped him into next week. He'll be back on Tuesday"
- Another episode shows Chris in a hospital after his mother literally put her foot in his ass (and left her shoe behind) after threatening to do so earlier.
- How I Met Your Mother:
- Whenever anyone asked Barney what his job was, he'd only respond with a dismissive "Heh, please." In the final season, it's revealed that Please is literally his job title, and his job description is an acrostic of it. Provide Legal Exculpation And Sign Everything.
- Barney lives and breathes this trope. One prominent example being when he and Ted reveal they made a bet that the first of them to get into a threesome would claim "the belt", which Lily thought was a metaphor. Then a flashback reveals Barney got an actual championship belt.
- In "How Lily Stole Christmas", after Ted calls Lily a bad word (which he replaces with 'Grinch' in his explanation to his kids), Lily's lights go off, and Lily tells him he just ticked off 'the man upstairs'. Ted comments that he doesn't think it would matter to God, but it turns out that she meant her upstairs landlord, who threatens to turn off the water if Ted uses that language again.
- Lily does this again by mentioning that Ted's relationship with Jeanette will be doomed when it all goes down in flames, in a literal sense. Cut to a few episodes later where that actually happened, with Ted's stuff being burned on the sidewalk.
- On an episode of Taxi, Bobby's new agent is getting him great roles, in exchange for sexual favors. Leading to this dialogue:
Tony: Bobby, you're sleeping with your agent??
Bobby: C'mon! Don't tell the whole garage!
[Louie picks up the microphone for the intercom and speaks through it]
Louie: Wheeler's sleeping with his agent.
- On Frasier, the title character's devious agent brags about her relationship with the station's negotiator.
Bebe: Oh, we go way back, the Hammer and I. I know where the bodies are buried. (beat) Usually that's just a metaphor.
- Used tragically in the Series Finale of Dinosaurs. When Fran tells Earl that his plan to destroy an annoying infestation of flowers killed every plant on Earth, Earl dismissed it saying that a global-scale operation is bound to have casualties, but nothing that exaggerated. Until he looked outside.
- On Some Girls, the girls watches Amber compete in a football trial when Viva spots one of Saz's crushes cuddling up to a girl.
Viva: Saz, don't look now, but Omar's there and he's snuggled up to Emma O'Brien.
Saz: Why is Omar snuggled up to Emma O'Brien?
Holli: Because he's dunking his Twix in her latte.
Saz: Oh God, why do you have to be so dirty, Holli?
Viva: She's not. He really is dunking his Twix in her latte.
- In Community, Abed refuses to go to a restaurant because the manager hates Die Hard. The assumption is that Abed is overreacting by not wanting to associate with someone for not liking a movie, but it turns out the manager rants constantly to everyone he serves about how much he hates it.
- In The Munsters, a recurring joke is that when one claims they're so mad, they could go through the ceiling, they really do leap through the ceiling.
- In one episode of Spin City, Carter gets aggravated that he can't get reservations at a fancy restaurant, claiming that in rejecting him, the restaurant owners are saying they don't like him or think he's good enough. Caitlin believes he's just taking the rejection too personal, but Carter reveals those insults are actually on his voicemail.
- In "Running", Selina walks through a glass door. Several people have to have it clarified that it's not code for something, it's what literally happened.
- In "Camp David", Dan calls Selina to tell her Jonah just shot himself in the foot. She assumes he made another gaffe on his Congressional campaign; Dan explains that Jonah, who was filming a hunting commercial, actually shot himself in the foot.
- Horrible Histories' Hitler Youth sketch:
Adolf Hitler: Everyone is signing up. Don't miss out. You must join today. No, really, you MUST JOIN! It's compulsory.
- Red Dwarf: After some unwanted advances from Lister (who mistakenly thinks she was coming on to him a moment ago), Kochanski belts him in the face and declares she wouldn't sleep with him if he was the last man alive. A confused Lister points out he is the last man alive. Kochanski rests her case.
- The West Wing: During the final season, there is this quote about Republican Presidental Candidate Arnold Vinick:
Leo: Ever see Arnie Vinick campaign, up close? He'll go into those high school gymnasiums in Iowa and New Hampshire and blow them all away. Shake every hand in the joint, kiss every baby, hug every widow on social security, and sound smarter and more honest than any Republican they've ever seen — because he is.
- Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, in the episode "Different Drum":
Squatt: Gee, I'm so hungry I could eat a bug. Hey, not a bad idea! (reaches into a bag and pulls out a gift box with a nightcrawler in it) I was saving this for a special occasion, but too bad. (eats it)
- Mark Henry's nickname, the World's Strongest Man, wasn't hyperbole initially. He was actually a World's Strongest Man winner.
- In The Muppet Movie, Professor Krassman, the world's leading expert on mind control in frogs, promises a revelation so intense that the listener will have to hold on to his hat... and refuses to continue until Doc Hopper has a death-grip on his hat.
Pr. Krassman: When a German scientist says hold on to your hat, it's not casual conversation! Hold on to your hat! Hat! HOLD!... Good!
- At the end of Act One of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Willy Wonka sings to the Golden Ticket winners (as part of his Welcoming Song / "I Am Great!" Song "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen") "Your life's about to change now/So don't get left behind". In Act Two, as he leads them through the factory, this promise proves to be absolutely true for all the members of the tour group, as his world brings either catastrophe or happiness upon its visitors depending on their inherent natures.
- Dark Souls III: On the first glance, Aldrich's title "Devourer of Gods" is just a Large Ham Title, right? Turns out he literally devoured a god, and specifically, none other than Dark Sun Gwyndolin himself.
- Duke Nukem 3D:
- The second boss fight has Duke threaten to "tear off [his] head and shit down [his] neck." Successfully beating the boss leads to a cutscene where he actually does it.
- He does it again with the third boss. At the end of chapter 2 he says to the monster that sends a message to him "The last thing going through your mind will be my size 12 boot." So at the end of chapter 3 he proceeds to punt the Cyclopean Emperor's eye as an American football through the goal posts.
- Duke Nukem Forever also keeps with Duke's bragging here and here, especially for the final boss. He makes a very crude boast, and you basically have to carry out the boast in order to beat him.
- In The Secret of Monkey Island, Guybrush claims he can hold his breath for 10 minutes. When he finds himself trapped underwater, if the player waits exactly 10 minutes, he will drown.
- Planetary Annihilation clearly is just a continuation of Total Annihilation, showing that it's more about planets now, right? Wrong. Players can have great fun completely annihilating celestial bodies.
- Dragon Age: Inquisition:
- A literal incarnation of fear claims that he is your worst nightmare.
- In a more humorous example, Varric threatens to hand the person ripping off his books to his editor. And no, he's not referring to his crossbow, his actual editor. Who runs half the Coterie (dwarven mafia) and once killed a man over a semicolon. He never publishes a book without her.
- in Off, the first boss Dedan boasts: "I'm the guardian of zone 1! It ain't nothing without me!" If you try to enter the zone after beating him, you'll find yourself in an empty landscape, devoid of color and (mostly) devoid of life. Enoch later confirms that the death of a Guardian causes his Zone and all its inhabitants to fade away.
- In Team Fortress 2, the Heavy loves calling his enemies "babies". In a spin-off comic, he calls a group of large bears this, just before their massive mother appears.
- One of the heartwarming moments in Transistor is when the Spine keeps trying to crush Red with its tail, the Transistor is going a bit loopy and losing touch, and Red (whose voice has been stolen) finds a computer terminal and uses it to communicate by text, reassuring her Empathic Weapon that they'll get through this, and promising to defeat the Spine and break its heart. One of the awesome moments is just after the ensuing boss battle, when Red literally trudges into the monster's body and slices its heart in half.
- Meta-ish example in Mount & Blade: Whenever someone says something in this game costs "A king's ransom" or more, it'd do well to take it at face value, as you can capture kings and ransom them, and the money you get will fall quite short of some of the most expensive gear in the game.
- In Alan Wake's American Nightmare, psychopathic Serial Killer Mr. Scratch adopts Poets of the Fall's "The Happy Song," as his Villain Song. The lyrical Evil Gloating makes a point of Implying that the listener ought to have taken the singer's admissions about his mental state more seriously.
You knew I'm a psycho
Yeah, I told you I'm a psycho
Why, why, why, why?!
Cause really, I'm a psycho
I told you I'm a psycho, psycho PSYCHO!
- In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, Team Galactic make vague threats in their appearances throughout the game not to interfere with their plans 'to create a new world'. It turns out that they aren't exaggerating. Their plan is use the power of the Legendary Pokémon of either time or space to actually destroy the world and create a new one the way they want it.
- Sonic Adventure introduced three items/moves with "light speed" in their names: Light Speed Shoes, Light Speed Dash and Light Speed Attack. The first thing Tikal mentions when describing the Light Speed Dash to Sonic is indeed that it "lets [him] race toward rings at light speed". Even when their names were changed in Sonic Adventure 2 to remove the "speed" part, the description stayed the same.
- In DC Super Hero Girls, Stelar Sapphire Carol Ferris was born flying. Literally.
Carol: Take it from me, there's nothing to fear. And I should know because I was born flying. Literally. I was born in a private jet flying over the Atlantic because my parents were needed in London for a Ferris Air board meeting that could not wait. And neither could I.
- In an early season of Red vs. Blue, Church recounts a time when Tex pulled out an enemy's skull and then beat him to death with it. Naturally, upon hearing this, Tucker declares, "What? That doesn't seem physically possible!" to which Church replies: "That's exactly what Jimmy kept screaming." And sure enough... Earlier in the same scene, Church mentions one of the soldiers running around screaming bloody murder. The flashback shows a guy basically spinning on the spot and literally yelling "Bloody murder! Bloody murder!"
- Subverted in Season 14. While Jimmy's Famous Last Words were indeed "This doesn't seem physically possible!", it's because he had the Alpha A.I. - later known as Church - forcefully implanted in him. His body didn't actually die until Caboose killed it with the tank, though Jimmy himself was long gone, with a few fleeting memories merging with those of Alpha-Church's being all that was left of him. And the one who caused this was not Tex, but rather Captain Butch Flowers, also known as Freelancer Agent Florida and the Director's man in Blood Gulch.
- In One Ring to Rule Them All, Sauron tells Wayne the goblin that he'll get a job as an evil henchman in 5 seconds. Literally.
- In RWBY, Professor Ozpin tells Ruby Rose, while teaching her about leadership, that he's "made more mistakes than any man, woman or child alive." As he explains to Ruby much later, he wasn't exaggerating. Having been forced by a special type of resurrection cycle to walk the earth for thousands of years as punishment for his failure to stop Salem, it's chronologically impossible for anyone else to make as many mistakes as he has.
- Trope named outright in the Camp Camp theme song, in regards to the many, many, curriculum Camp Campbell has to offer; There's endless possibilities / And no, that's Not Hyperbole!
- Cyanide & Happiness:
- Done several times. For example, a man is shown arguing with a woman. He concludes by telling her not to let the door hit her on the way out. When she walks out of the frame, an angry door on legs stomps by and right-hooks her in the face. See it here.◊
- The Order of the Stick:
- Named for Lien's little speech:
Lien: My parents were fishermen. When I was a little girl, I stood right here and learned how to clean the fish that they caught. I'm telling you this so that you know that when I say that if you take one more step, I will gut you like the catch of the day — IT IS NOT HYPERBOLE!
- In another strip, when Heroic Comedic Sociopath Belkar says, "I am going to rip off your stupid bug head and piss down your neck hole!", he happens to be serious.
- The Great(ish) Escape:
Elan: But we don't need to be rescued! We're guests!
Durkon: Elan, when yer captor refers to ye as 'is "guests", he's just usin' an ironic euphemism. Yer na ACTUALLY 'is guests!
Elan: Except in this case, when we are.
Haley: Turns out the head general for this empire is Elan's long-lost father.
- It appears that one of these was the last straw in the marriage of Elan's parents.
Tarquin: You sound like your mother. "Oh Tarquin, you jerk! When you said that you would liquefy every man in the tavern if one of them grabbed my butt again during my shift, I didn't think you meant it!"
- Named for Lien's little speech:
- When two people in Books Don't Work Here talk about how you should still be polite while playing God here, it's practical advice.
- Used in Questionable Content. One person says it's hyperbole, the other insists it isn't.
- Tagon from Schlock Mercenary does this:
Tagon: You know, for all I've threatened to do it in the past, this is the first time I've actually torn someone a new one with my bare hands.
- In Girl Genius, when Dr. Sun threatens to dismantle a battlemech with his bare fists, he means it.
- Similar to the real life example below, Prince Vadim Sturmvoraus once said that he would eat his hat if a cathedral ever got built in Mechanicsburg. When the Heterodyne responded by building a cathedral, the prince by all accounts was true to his word.note
- Cassiel is described as the closest you'll get to the devil himself, which is then clarified as being because he's her uncle.
- At one point, Vashiel threatens Cassiel with a slightly narmful Badass Boast... until you remember he's bound by an oath of truth, suddenly making his promise "not even your uncle will be able to protect you from me" much more impressive.
- When Spades Slick says he made this town, he means that without him it would be a lifeless desert. This is because he's one of the Troll's session's Exiles and the town is in post apocalyptic Alternia.
- Cans, one of the members of The Felt, can quite literally punch people into next week. He also slugs Hearts Boxcars so hard that he ends up in a different calender entirely.
- On this page, Gamzee refers to his parental guardian as "the old goat". It later turns out said guardian is a giant goat-like creature.
- In Mindflayed the halfling just had to ask the wrong question.◊ Or a horribly right question, depending how you look at it.
Djaro: ...Would it be an understatement to say I was being sarcastic?
- Used in Bob the Angry Flower to end a confrontation.
- Shortpacked!: When your boss has the ability to somehow resurrect dead historical figures, conversations can get a little awkward.
Ethan: I can't talk right now, Christmas shoppers are trampling Jesus. Manny, that's not a metaphor, Christmas shoppers are literally tramping Jesus.
- Though it does not actually happen in this case, Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire has the Prime Mover warn a local Intrepid Reporter that, if she should ever so much as think about revealing the secrets of the events that had transpired that day, her head would explode. This threat is, with good reason, taken entirely at face value.
Hyraxx: You're joking, right? I can't control my thoughts.
Prime Mover: I recommend a lobotomy.
- A characters in Zero Percent Discount says he is contacting the spirits of dead presidents, which turns out to be true.
- In the finale of the Morth arc of Exterminatus Now, the gang muse over the prospect of being trapped in a Collapsing Lair.
Eastwood: Oh, I assure you I'm pissing myself with fear.
Virus: Well, I wouldn't go that far.
Rogue: I would. Just noticed. Watch your step there.
Virus: Oohh, right, NOT a metaphor.
- In Alice Grove, Alice gets angry enough at a fellow Ageless, Nigh Invulnerable ex-Super Soldier to threaten to melt the rock underneath her and bury her in it. Much later, she turns out to have meant it quite literally, and to have done it to the Ax-Crazy "Mr. Church" 5000 years ago.
- In the TV Tropes page for Saved from Development Hell, it is stated that projects can stay in Development Hell for decades, and states that this is Not Hyperbole — and it isn't. Works finally emerging from Development Hell after 10 years or more are:
- Whateley Universe: Several early stories had people joking about how one of these days someone would make Phase mad and suddenly the national economy would strike back. Turns out that was never a joke. In 'Ayla and the Great Shoulder Angel Conspiracy 6' Phase gets angry enough to sic the patent law departments at every single electronics company on two mad scientists who pissed him off, just to bankrupt them. He only calls it off because a friend came up with a nastier plan - namely unleashing a whole bunch of other angry Mad Scientists.
- In Sean Bean Saves Westeros (in which the actor appears in White Harbor the same day Ned Stark is beheaded, and subsequently takes his place in the new world, as well as taking advantage of book foreknowledge to help Stannis win the war), Sandor Clegane threatens Littlefinger and Varys with pissing on their dead mouths if they do not shut up. When Littlefinger tries to get Sansa out of King's Landing and to the Vale, Sandor kills him and, to quote the story, "The last thing to go through Lord Petyr Baelish's mockingbird of a mouth was not a wry insult, nor pretty, manipulating words, but Sandor Clegane's piss."
- One Not Always Working story has a repair company treat a customer's claim that her ceiling fan is hanging by its wires casually, because they get a call for the same thing about once a month and it's usually less serious. The electrician they send is quite shocked to find out that in this one case, it really was hanging by its wires.
- The Angry Beavers episode "Same Time Last Week" focuses on Daggett annoying his brother Norbert. Norb threatens to punch Dag into last week, and he does... only for Daggett to start annoying him all over again. It goes on and on, until finally when trying to avoid annoying Norb, he ends up getting punched back to the stone age.
- On an episode of Codename: Kids Next Door, Cree threatens to turn the treehouse upside down if Numbuh One doesn't tell her where her sister is. He tells her to go ahead and try it. Smash Cut to the treehouse literally turned upside down and a dazed and very bruised up Numbuh One stating he didn't think she could actually do it.
- This exchange:
Cyril: I got the 50 million in bearer bonds.
Cyril: [smiling as if complimented] Well, I...
Spelvin: No, I mean I literally don't believe you.
- At the end of the fifth season premiere, after it's announced ISIS will shut down, Archer reveals they've been sitting on "Literally — not figuratively — a ton of cocaine."
- Subverted when Cyril becomes a dictator and Cheryl claims he has a nuclear missile. Jump Cut to Krieger and his clones working on a giant missile. Then jump cut back to Cheryl, where she explains she was actually talking about his penis (said missile turns out to be something neither Cyril nor Cheryl knew about).
- This exchange:
- Kaeloo: Mr. Cat, who Hates Being Touched, threatened to kill Kaeloo and Stumpy for touching him in one episode... while holding a knife to Kaeloo's throat.
- There's a variation in the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "The Waterbending Scroll". Iroh interrupts a fight between Zuko and a pirate captain (that he hired only for them to double-cross him), scolding them with "Are you so busy fighting, you cannot see that your own ship has set sail?" When Zuko dismisses it with "We have no time for your proverbs, Uncle!" Iroh retorts that "It's no proverb", and points out that the Gaang have just stolen the pirates' ship.
Nathan: Aw man, I hate Finland. I need a hundred beers.
[cut to a bar]
Nathan: I need a hundred beers. Exactly. Exactly one hundred. Thank you.
- In Madballs: Escape from Orb, after Bruise Brother (one of Commander Wolfbreath's goons) makes fun of her hair, Freakella says she'd like to pound him flat, fold him into a paper airplane, and send him flying into a brick wall. Later in the cartoon she does exactly that.
- During the climax of the My Little Pony 'n Friends episode "Bright Lights," the Flutter Ponies sing about how they're "faster than a lightning bolt" while effortlessly dodging the lightning bolts the villain's shooting at them, proving it's no exaggeration.
- This also happens in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- In the very first episode, Rainbow Dash tells a skeptical Twilight she can clear the sky in ten seconds flat. If you time the clearing sequence, it takes her exactly ten seconds.
- In another episode, Spike meets the enormous Dragon Lord Torch, who laughs that he "could squish [Spike] with my pinky!" When Spike nervously laughs along with him, Torch snaps, "That's not a joke; it's a fact."
- Looney Tunes:
- "Muscle Tussle": Daffy Duck loses his girlfriend to a strong duck who threatens to pound Daffy's head so far down, he would need to unbutton his shirt to eat. The muscle-head proceeds to make good on that threat.
- In the Sylvester cartoon "Hippety Hopper", Sylvester gets taken down by a mouse working with Hippety Hopper, the baby kangaroo. Spike, the house bulldog, decides to take the mouse down himself. After the mouse and Hopper kick Spike out of the house, the mouse announces, "And if you come back in, I'll pin your ears back!"
Spike: Any time a mouse can pin my ears back, I'll take up ballet dancing. [enters house, gets knocked back with a clothespin on his ears]
Sylvester: Well, I see you got your ears pinned back.
Spike: C'mon, cat. [drags Sylvester into his doghouse, they then emerge in tutus] We're takin' up ballet dancin'. [dance and exeunt]
- Tom and Jerry: Spike the bulldog once threatens to skin Tom alive if Tom ever bothered Tyke again. At the end of the story, Tom is wearing a Bankruptcy Barrel while Spike, Tyke and Jerry are sleeping on a rug made of his skin.
- In an episode of The Smurfs, the Trokkle King has an advisor, who he never listens to. When the advisor gets upset and complains that there's no point in a king even having an advisor if he never listens to advice, the king thinks that makes sense — and fires the advisor. Realizing he made things worse, the advisor fools the king into abdicating his throne to Brainy Smurf... But Brainy not only won't listen to his advice, he won't listen to anyone, so now all the trokkles decide to overthrow him. When the original Trokkle King finds out about this, he gets frightened and warns the other smurfs, because he knows that when the trokkles overthrow a king, they throw him over a cliff, literally.
- In The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius episode "The Retroville 9", during Jimmy's team's rematch against Butch's team, Butch threatens that if Jimmy hits the next ball he'll eat his hat. After Jimmy hits the ball, Butch quite literally takes a bite out of the lid of his hat and declares that it's actually not bad.
- The Simpsons:
- In "Ned 'N Edna's Blend" when Flanders and Mrs. Krabappel reveal that they're married, Bart reminds Homer that he said if Flanders ever remarried he'd eat his hat. His hat, in this case, was the Crown of Thorns he was wearing as Jesus in a play (long story) but fortunately for him it's made out of licorice.
Homer: Mmmm... sacrilegious.
- In "Pokey Mom", after being injured in a prison rodeo, Homer said "I can't complain." while in the infirmary, then points to a sign that says "No complaining". Upon being informed that only applied to the prisoners, he felt free to complain about his injuries and his life in general.
- In "22 Short Films About Springfield", Barney comments that the people at Moe's had a good laugh when Moe said he'd need to send Barney's tab to NASA to calculate. Moe reveals that he did and the results have just arrived. Barney owes Moe $14 billion.
- In "Ned 'N Edna's Blend" when Flanders and Mrs. Krabappel reveal that they're married, Bart reminds Homer that he said if Flanders ever remarried he'd eat his hat. His hat, in this case, was the Crown of Thorns he was wearing as Jesus in a play (long story) but fortunately for him it's made out of licorice.
- The Amazing World of Gumball:
- In "The Laziest", Larry calls Richard "lazier than a rock". Larry is an anthropomorphic rock, and he lost to Richard in a laziness contest in 1983, so this is literally true.
- In "The Quest", Anais calls Tina's house a dump. It turns out that Tina actually does live in a dump.
- Implied in "The Tape" when Ninja George says he'll never raise his fist again, then eats a sandwich with his foot.
- In "The Fraud", Gumball says he and Darwin have been ashamed so many times in their lives that they're now incapable of feeling shame. Darwin then takes apart Gumball's brain to show that he's run out of "shame-osterone".
- In "The Void", Mr. Small says Janis could never go anywhere without him. It's true, not because Janis cares about him, but because Janis is his van. He's also not exaggerating when he says she "runs on good vibes"; gently patting the dashboard gives the van a tremendous speed boost.
- In an episode of Doug, Doug is repeatedly told that the candy bars he's trying to sell taste like cement. This, he later discovers, is entirely accurate; due to a serious mix-up at the factory, the bars actually are made with cement.
- In one episode of The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack had Flapjack exile himself to a leper colony after the people of Stormalong Harbor ostracized him due to his adoption of a plague-ridden rat. After the rat abandons him for a mate, the Stormalongians return to bring Flapjack back home, claiming they can't live without him. On the boat, Captain K'nuckles explains they were being literal: the reason Flapjack never caught the plague is because he's naturally immune, and they need his blood to make a vaccine.
Flapjack: Oh. Well, it's nice to be needed!
Dr. Barber: (holding up a giant syringe) Don't you mean, needled?
- In the Uncle Grandpa episode "RV Olympics", Pizza Steve says that Uncle Grandpa can't tell the difference between a banana and a microphone. Sure enough, he's talking into a banana, then pulls a microphone out of his lunch bag, attempts to peel it like a banana and eats it.
- In one episode of My Gym Partner's a Monkey, Adam decides to run for class president against Bull Sharkowski, but Jake tries to convince him not to, claiming "You'll get beat!". Adam believes that Jake means he has no chance of winning the election, but after making a stirring speech, wins. However, what Jake meant was that the animals at the school attack the class president for dominance. The episode ends with Adam running for his life.
- In Chowder episode "Big Ball", Mung continuously says that scoring would ruin the titular game. Turns out he was quite literal as when Truffles's team wins the game, a giant Bowser expy throws the entire stadium in a trash can.
Truffles: [to Mung] I thought you were talking figuratively!
- Gravity Falls: In "Northwest Mansion Mystery", upon finding Mabel and her friends talking about the upcoming Northwest Family Party, Dipper reminds them that Pacifica Northwest "is the worst. And that's not just jealousy talking, I'd say that to her face". Right on cue, the doorbell rings and Pacifica is there. Dipper says, albeit flatly, "You're the worst" and slams the door in her face.
- SpongeBob SquarePants:
- In the episode "Club SpongeBob", when SpongeBob and Patrick start their own club, they say Squidward couldn't get in. Squidward, thinking they're snubbing him, forces his way into their treehouse. Turns out they were being literal about Squidward not fitting in. Their treehouse was so small, there was no room for three people in it.
- In "Squilliam Returns", Squidward has to pretend the Krusty Krab is a five-star restaurant he owns. While convincing Mr. Krabs to play along, Krabs offers to play a sad song on the World's Smallest Violin. This sounds like sarcastic rejection at first, but then Krabs reveals he really is playing the world's smallest violin.
- In "Patty Hype", when SpongeBob loses confidence in his Pretty Patties selling, Patrick tells him that they have to look deep inside themselves to solve their problems. SpongeBob says he's scared, so Patrick grabs one of his holes and climbs inside him.
- LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures: When Zander tells Kordi a rich customer wants to hire them to replace his pod racing team, Kordi is reluctant until Zander tells her of the offered money and says she can't say "no" to this. She does try only to find out it's physically impossible.
- In the first episode of Futurama, when Fry first meets Leela, he learns that he is designated to be a delivery boy. Having done that for most of his life, Fry refuses, but Leela tells him that everyone must follow their designated roles. Those who don't get fired...out of a cannon, into the sun.
- In the "Missouri Mish Mash" arc of Rocky and Bullwinkle, Kurwood, the Moon Man wizard who created the Kurwood Derby, said that its creation would "take a lot out of him". Turns out he was serious, for the ritual that created the derby ended up reducing him to two inches tall.
- In the Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! episode "Go Away, Ghost Ship", the gang sails through a bank of ominous fog, and Shaggy remarks "The fog's so thick, you could cut it with a knife!" Scooby tries it, and much to his surprise it turns out to be true.
- This conversation from The Super Mario Bros. Super Show episode "Plumber's Academy":
Mario: I can't quit now, Luigi! I was born with a plunger in my hand!
Luigi: I know. Boy, it was awfully hard on Mom.
- In the Dexter's Laboratory episode "Faux Chapeau", Dee Dee convinces Dexter to market one of his inventions as a hat, and his customers turn on him when it makes their heads all grow giant. In an interview, one man says "I can't leave my house", making it sound like he's experiencing Freakiness Shame, but then he adds "...literally!", as his head has now become too big to fit through his front door.
- Used both tragically and as a Wham Episode in the penultimate episode of Samurai Jack. Ashi and her sisters being called "the Daughters of Aku" wasn't just a title bestowed on them as his greatest warriors; they were literally spawned from their mother drinking Aku's essence.
- In the first episode of Hotel Transylvania: The Series, a critic is coming to inspect the hotel and Mavis claims that a single bad review could sink it. Cut to another hotel quite literally sinking into the ground.
- In the Garfield and Friends episode "All About Odie", while talking about Odie, Garfield mentioned that he liked to chase cars, and whenever he caught one, he'd bury it in the backyard, causing the entire audience to laugh at the ridiculous concept, to which Garfield stormed out of the lecture hall in a huff. Upon reaching home, he mentioned the humiliation he experienced to Odie while the two of them are walking through a yard full of half-buried cars containing annoyed drivers.
- In Breadwinners, SwaySway's eccentric distant grandfather rode a Tunnel Eater completely naked, claiming that "Duck naked is the only way to ride". Turns out this wasn't just crazy talk. Tunnel Eaters can't resist the soft down of ducks.
- In the Robot Chicken episode "Two Weeks Without Food", the first "Great Moments in Dumb Kids History" sketch has a mother threatening her son that if he doesn't stop touching his sister, she'll drive the car into a lake. He touches his sister anyway, and the skit ends right as the mother is about to fulfill her claim.
- In The Fairly OddParents! episode "So Totally Spaced Out", this is how Cosmo inadvertently discovers the Gigglepies' weakness; when he says that they're cute enough to eat, he promptly stuffs one in his mouth, only to spit it out when he finds that they're made of manure. As manure is a Yugopotamian delicacy, Timmy wishes for the king and queen to have bibs, utensils, and empty stomachs to be able to eat all of them.
- In Castlevania (2017), after Dracula finds out the Church had his wife put to death, he tells everyone present that they have one year before he lays waste to Wallachia. It turns out that's how long it will take for him to summon enough demons for that purpose.
- Werner Herzog once told Errol Morris that he would eat his shoe if Morris ever completed the film that he had been labouring over. When Gates of Heaven premiered, he did exactly that.
- This trope is inverted with the word "literal" as commonly used. David Cross explains the problem here.
- At one point during the 2013 Oscars, host Seth MacFarlane noted that "Our next presenter needs no introduction" — and then simply walked off the stage. He was proved correct when Meryl Streep walked up to the microphone.
- Illiterate Clown Elected to Congress. Oh, Brazil...
- In baseball, "knocking the cover off the ball" usually just means that the batter hit the ball really hard. Rarely is it meant to be literal.
- In 1943, the British, fearing a tea shortage after the bombing of Mincing Lane (the largest tea trading business centre of the British Empire), bought ALL the tea, as in literally every bit of tea that was available to be sold to them. They sent more tea to their troops in greater weight than anything, except for bullets. Pound for pound, they shipped more tea over to them than artillery shells.