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"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!"

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It is a staple of fiction, and indeed casual dialog in Real Life, 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.

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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.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Chainsaw Man begins with Denji and his Adorable Abomination Pochita dying and merging together to resurrect the former. Denji assumes Pochita is still dead, but Makima assures him Pochita lives on inside him — and specifies she means that literally, as Pochita physically became Denji's heart (as in the organ). Ironically, Denji describes the situation to Power, who mocks him under the assumption he's speaking metaphorically, and he doesn't bother correcting her.
  • Fairy Tail: When Juvia starts "crying waterfalls", this is no exaggeration. One time when she did this in relief of "her beloved" Gray's return, she flooded the guildhall.
  • 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!
  • 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 also looks]
    Togusa: That's 'cause he is. Looks like he's been dead for about three or four months.
  • Mazinger:
    • 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.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, Evangeline doesn't have to exaggerate her threats:
    Evangeline: Ahahahaha! This is getting interesting! I'll finish this with a single blow! Hold the scum in place for me! [cue one-hit freeze]
  • One Piece:
    • Basically anyone noteworthy enough to get namedropped has an epithet, which is usually a badass-sounding Red Baron title, like "Heavenly Demon" (Donquixote Doflamingo) and "Surgeon of Death" (Trafalgar Law), but often enough it's a blunt and quite literal description. "Straw Hat" Luffy wears one, "Pirate Hunter" Zoro turned in pirates for their bounties prior to becoming one himself, and all of the Four Emperors have non-exaggerated epithets: "Red-Haired" Shanks, Edward "Whitebeard" Newgate, and Marshall "Blackbeard" Teach all have the appropriate hair colours, "Big Mom" Charlotte Linlin is a giant of a woman and the mother of 85 children from 43 husbands (lampshaded by Brook), and "King of the Beasts" Kaido has an army of Zoan-type Devil Fruit users.
    • At one point, a samurai knocks over Sanji's soba cart, causing the chef to tell the man he's "gonna have to eat" the wasted soba. After beating the hell out of him, Sanji force-feeds the samurai all the spilled soba.
    • The filler character Carmen claims she had wanted a cooking battle with Sanji for ten years, but her assistants quickly clarify she only saw the article about Sanji ten days ago. At the end of the cooking battle, it's revealed Carmen actually had met Sanji ten years ago and was inspired by him, leading to her desire for a cooking battle.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, when Kyubey tells Madoka she could become a god, we're meant to assume he's exaggerating to convince her to make a contract. Even he seems shocked when she actually does it, making a wish that hacks the system so she becomes less of a Magical Girl and more of a combination Jesus and psychopomp.
  • In the Samurai Pizza Cats finale, Big Cheese drains the royal coffers for his latest and greatest scheme. Unfortunately, this is noticed by the Princess, who says there isn't enough money left to buy an ice cream. When Big Cheese says she's surely exaggerating, she tells him no, her check bounced that morning.
  • 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.
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    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • Bullseye at one point comments that his jailors keep him on laxatives and stool softeners in the belief that he would murder his way out with a solid enough turd.
And I would, too... if for no other reason than just to say that I did. Because I'm like that.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dilbert:
    • 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 the 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.
    • When the Pointy-Haired Boss said that all the other departments were staffed with professional liars, he really meant it. Dilbert had to concede that it was no exaggeration.
  • Garfield once kicked Odie into next week. True enough, Odie didn't appear until the following Monday, when he fell on Garfield.
  • 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.
  • 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 is so strong that both Roy and Booker lose their feathers.
    • In one strip, Lanolin threatens to slap Roy's beak to the moon. She literally does that later.

    Fan Works 
  • Tracy, in At The Food Court, tells his Love Interest that the fiftieth time Team Rocket tried to steal Ash's Pikachu, they ought to have been institutionalized. The love interest is convinced that Tracy is exaggerating, but he denies it, and says that after what happened to Ash he would never call anyone crazy as an insult, but only if they are genuinely insane.
  • In A Boy, a Girl and a Dog: The Leithian Script, the Steward states three words is all the Captain needs to prove he is crazy. His colleague argues the Steward is exaggerating things since three words can't possibly be enough to give your nuttiness away. The Steward retorts with what the Captain said when they were saved from death's door by the arrival of reinforcements during a military operation: "Happy New Year".
  • 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. A few chapters later she keeps that promise, confronting and effectively melting him.
  • 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.
  • Conversations with a Cryptid: In the sequel Kidnapping of a Cryptid All for One promises if Bakugou ever calls Izuku useless again or threatens him, he will either rip his fingers off or make something karmic happen to him. When Bakugou does so out of spite, All for One has Bakugou hit with Laser-Guided Karma for his bullying of Izuku by making Bakugou quirkless.
  • 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.
  • A Diplomatic Visit: In chapter 12 of the sequel Diplomat at Large, Aria says the sirens once threw Squirk out of their territory, and they meant it literally — they levitated him out of the ocean and threw him over the horizon.
  • 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.
  • In He Who Fights Monsters, Tsukune is deadly serious when he says his girlfriend will kill anyone who tries to steal him away from her.
  • 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 Infinity Crisis:
    • Nebula mentions she and Gamora "tried to kill each other" and Black Siren assumes she means the usual sisterly arguments or minor fights. A glare from Nebula makes Siren realize she meant they literally tried to kill each other.
    • Constantine openly notes that when the Phantom Stranger talks of "the end of all that is," he's not just being dramatic.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • In A Letter from Screwtape to Mr. Holland Manners, Screwtape advises Holland Manners on his dealing with Angel during the first season of the show, and also congratulates him on how he snared Lindsey McDonald into joining Wolfram and Hart willingly, while at the same time warning him not to make the same mistake that Mayor Wilkins made with Faith back in Sunnydale by loving Lindsey as a son.
    Perhaps in this, I am worrying without cause. After all, you were willing to sacrifice your beloved first wife on the altar of ambition. Fancy, too, that in some circles, that would have been a figure of speech.
  • A Man of Iron: Jane Seaworth is surprised that when Thor declared he would feast for seven days, he was not kidding and promptly does so, even going off to get more food when Dragonstone runs low on supplies.
  • Balance reveals that Hela's claim about being the Goddess of Death wasn't just idle boasting. While still in the womb, she'd been empowered by the Soul Stone, granting her Complete Immortality and power over death.
  • ''MLP: FML': Applejack threatens to "kick yer (Fluttershy's) little yellow ass eight months into next winter" if she doesn'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.
  • 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.
  • 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'Neill 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.
  • An accidental variant occurs in On a Pale Horse. When the Order of the Phoenix decides to summon a hero from another world to defeat Voldemort, at one point during the ritual the entire room jerks, with Harry comparing it to a god yanking on reality. What he didn't know is that they were (accidentally) summoning Death and that's precisely what he was doing.
  • 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.
  • A Red Rose in the Blue Wind: When Sonic explains to Ozpin that Dr. Eggman has an IQ of 300, he makes sure to add that it has been offically tested.
  • 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.
  • SAPR: Nora frequently tells wild stories about her and Ren’s misadventures pre-Beacon, with the latter often interrupting to correct her exaggerations. After one particularly outlandish story involving working for a broke circus and being compensated with exhibit animals, Ren admits that one was completely accurate.
  • In Chapter 65 of Son of the Sannin, Tsunade wanted to force Jiraiya to dance with her until their feet bleed, then she'll heal them and they'll keep up until they bleed again. Jiraiya recalls she did the same in Shizune's wedding and the part about bleeding was quite literal.
  • In Stand-Ins and Stunt Doubles, 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 Supernova, Luffy tells Arlong that he's going to feed the fishman his own nose for what he did to Nami. At the end of their fight, Luffy breaks off Arlong's nose and shoves it into his mouth.
  • Tales of the Monkey Queen: Freeza claims at one point you could fill a planet with the number of children he's killed. Later he's shown working out the math and deducing that, assuming an average population and one moon each, you could populate five planets and their moons with the number of children he's killed.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In The Writing on the Wall, Daring Do and her crew assume the titular writing is just a curse promising a painful death on grave robbers and proceed to excavate the tomb anyway. It's only after ponies start dying and the writing is properly translated that they realize the writing isn't a curse, but a warning of the contents within, complete with an accurate if simplified description of radiation poisoning.

    Films — Animation 
  • Aladdin: Genie tries to convince Aladdin to use his third wish to become a prince again so he can marry Jasmine rather than wish for his own freedom:
    Genie: Al, you're not going to find another girl like her in a million years. Believe me, I know. I've looked.
  • My Little Pony: A New Generation: When Zipp tells Sunny her mother never takes off her crown, she means it; a quick montage shows Queen Haven wearing the crown while sleeping, showering, and swimming, even putting on a bathing cap over the crown before diving into the pool.
  • The Rescuers Down Under: After being sedated by a bush doctor mouse, Wilbur wakes up and moans "I feel like I got my head in a vice..." Then it zooms out to show Wilbur's head has been restrained by an actual vice.
  • Sing 2: Jimmy Crystal threatens to throw Buster Moon off the roof if Buster ever disappoints him. Buster tries to awkwardly laugh this off as apparently a morbid joke on Crystal's part. But when Crystal's daughter Porsha loses the starring role and mistakenly assumes she's been fired, Crystal tries to literally throw Buster off the roof for real, and then throws him off a catwalk later, which would have killed him if Rosita hadn't overcome her fear of heights and caught him. So Crystal wasn't speaking in hyperbole; he was completely serious about committing outright murder.
  • Toy Story 2: When the Buzz Lightyear with Utility Belt and the rest of the gang attempt to break into Al's apartment, Rex asks what they should do. Buzz suggests that Rex use his head, meaning they will use Rex's head as a Battering Ram to bash through the vent.
    Rex: But I don't wanna use my heeaad!
  • Wakko's Wish: Pinky and the Brain fly to the Wishing Star on one of Those Magnificent Flying Machines that works by Pinky pedal-power. As they fly, Brain encourages his partner with, "Pedal, Pinky! Pedal as if our very lives depended on it!" He looks down from the height they're at. "...Which may well be the case."
  • Wolfwalkers: After Robyn turns into a Wolfwalker due to Mebh accidentally biting her, Mebh worriedly says her mother's going to kill her. Robyn, whose father Bill is a wolf hunter, replies that her father will kill her. Bill does indeed try to shoot Robyn both before and after this scene, not recognizing her in wolf form.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Austin Powers
    • At one point Austin pulls out his driver's license and shows it to Vanessa to make clear that his middle name, literally, is "Danger".
    • When Scott and Dr. Evil are in group therapy, Scott says that he thinks his father wants to kill him. The group director tries to assure him by saying that it is only a remark. Dr. Evil, unfortunately, confirms that he is trying to kill Scott but Scott's wily nature is making it difficult.
  • Back to the Future:
    • At the end of Part I and beginning of Part II, when Marty is reunited with Jennifer after being in 1955, she says "Marty, you're acting like you haven't seen me in a week", to which he says "I haven't". For Jennifer, it'd been less than 24 hours since they were together, but for Marty, he really did go a week without seeing her, arriving on November 5, 1955 at 6:00 AM and leaving on November 12, 1955 at 10:04 PM.
    • In Part II, when Doc and Marty go back to 1955, Marty says "It's like I was just here yesterday.", to which Doc says that he was there yesterday. From the time Marty left 1955 at the climax of Part I (arriving on October 26, 1985, 1:24AM), to the time he returns with Doc to 1955 in the middle of Part II (leaving 1985-A at around October 27, 1985, 2:00AM), is a real-time passage of about 24 hours. Of course, another Marty had been there yesterday, and about five more days before that.
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: Grandpa Potts at first assumes that Baron Bomburst'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).
  • 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 teacup. Then he does. Next, he holds up a key to a sardine tin and puts it down meaningfully in the same place where the teacup 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.
  • 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.
  • Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle: After Harold gets arrested, he finds himself in a prison cell with a Black man. Harold asks "What are you in, for?", and the man answers "for being Black", explaining that the police were after a Black man wanted in a crime in another city and he got arrested, instead.
  • 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.
  • Highlander: When Sunda and Connor meet each other again, Sunda remarks that it seems like a hundred years have passed since they last saw each other. Connor responds that it has been one hundred years.
  • 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.
  • Knives Out: Blanc and the other investigators assume Marta is being hyperbolic when she says she Cannot Tell a Lie because being dishonest makes her vomit. Then she tells a lie, and immediately has to go hurl into a flowerpot. Blanc is very apologetic, saying he didn't realize she really meant it.
  • In the Richard Pryor comedy Moving, the protagonist buys a new home when his job forces him to move and the people who own it keep saying throughout the scene, with lots of laughs, that they will take it all with them when they go (the pool, the tiles on the walls, the lights, the doors, the windows, etc). To Pryor's character's horror, when he and his family arrive to the house later in the film, everything has been dismantled and taken away. When he calls the owner in a rage, saying that with all of the sarcasm being flung around he expected the owner to be kidding, the owner answers that he has a record of the conversation and he can legally prove that he said that he was going to do it, the only moment in which he explicitly said that he was kidding was when he mentioned that he was going to take the door hinges.
  • 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, never mind 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.
  • 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!
  • During Rambo: Last Blood, Rambo threatens to literally rip Hugo's beating heart out and show it to him as he dies. What sounds like just a badass threat is proven to be very literal during the climax when he does exactly as he threatened.
  • In True Lies, Harry Tasker explains how he will escape being tied up and kill his captors while on truth serum. They really shouldn't have been surprised at what happened.
  • The Watch (2012): 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.
  • 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, actually counting them.
    • 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!

    Literature 
  • 1632: When Priscilla Totman, an uptime midwife, saves the lives of the wife and child of the Mughal sultan from a paticularly difficult childbirth, the sultan orders that Priscilla recieve her weight in silver for her services. Priscilla assumes he means "a lot of money" until she enters the throne room and sees a pair of human-sized scales and a very large stack of silver bars.
  • 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.
  • The Age of Fire's Red Queen once told AuRon that she couldn't be bothered to die. Thanks to her Cloning Gambit and Body Surfing abilities, this turns out to be true, even decades after her apparent death.
  • The Belgariad: When Garion says that Master Poisoner Sadi "could poison one man at a banquet of a thousand people", he thinks he's exaggerating. Later, Sadi actually does just that by poisoning the target's spoon.
  • Discworld:
    • 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 Dresden Files:
    • In Dead Beat, 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 use every shred of power at his disposal to end Mavra. Dead Beat is the seventh book in the series, and she doesn't reappear until book 17, and even then only with seven other Black Court master vampires and Vlad Drakul backing her up. And she does nothing to Murphy, and might not have even expected Dresden to find her!
    • Fast forward to Changes, and another vamp has kidnapped Harry's daughter. He picks the least bad of his options, becoming the winter knight, calls in all the cavalry at his disposal, and is more than willing to sell his soul and worse to get even more weapons. Then he proceeds to exterminate the entire Red Court of vampires. All of them. For the record, if he had to use worse options like the Darkhallow or the Denarius, he would have, he just happened to have 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 good enough condition to be buried.)
    • 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.
  • 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 is 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."
  • Harry Potter: Played for Laughs with Bertie Bott's Every-Flavour Beans, a brand of wizarding candy that comes in every flavour. That includes classical candy flavours like chocolate and peppermint, non-candy flavours like spinach and liver, and non-edible flavours like bogey and earwax. A box of Bertie Bott's is a game of Russian Roulette with your tongue.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • N. K. Jemisin's Inheritance Trilogy: The eternally childlike Physical God Sieh extracts a promise from someone with a playful "Cross your heart, hope to die, stick a needle in your eye?", per the children's rhyme. When they break their word, he shows up with some very large needles. He gets talked down before following through on the threat, but only just.
  • Moby-Dick: Borders on a running gag with Queequeg, starting with him literally being off selling shrunken heads as the innkeeper said.
  • In the Night Huntress series, Bones has this as a character trait. He makes the usual threats such as "I ought to rip off your stones and feed them to you," but he is known to follow through on them quite literally. This is his way of making sure people take his threats seriously.
  • In Pale, a spirit of war named John Stiles informs the main characters that if they call for his aid, he will be right behind them. As in, he will literally appear no more than 5 steps behind them and armed. Seeing as how magical users in the setting can't lie without losing their powers, as all magic is basically a contract with the spirits that make up the universe, he means it.
  • In the historical fiction Sarum, the local priests tell Nooma, a stonemason, that they want him to build a giant temple out of 30-ton stones. Nooma tells them that their dream is impossible, and would require hundreds of labourers, anyway. They go, 'Okay, where do you want them?' (This was an era when people generally did not tell priests 'no'.)
  • A minor case in Snow Crash, where in the opening chapter a sticker gets attached to Hiro's car, and he laments in the narration that getting it removed will cost him trillions of dollars. Later on in the book, we learn about the Ridiculous Future Inflation.
  • 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 The Witcher series of books, the current Nilfgaardian Emperor is also called "The White Flame, Dancing on the Barrows of his Enemies." The latter part of that is not metaphorical; he had all of his former political enemies and people who had crossed his family disinterred, and used their grave markers to tile the floor of his palace ballroom.
  • In Words of Radiance, the second book of The Stormlight Archive, part of the reason Adolin is willing to enter an Arranged Marriage is that he has had horrible luck with women; his aunt even claims he has offended every eligible woman in the war camps. 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 gives a riding lesson while throwing rocks at him, despite the fact that Adolin doesn't even remember what he did to offend her.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Used tragically in the Grand 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.
  • The Drew Carey Show: In "Drew Goes to Hell", Wick takes Drew to a sadistic themed bar actually named Hell. After getting disgusted, Drew starts to leave the room and heads elsewhere. Wick then informs Drew that if he leaves, he will be in a world of hurt, meaning that it is a another room actually called 'World of Hurt' with a separate cover charge.
  • 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.
    • Chris mentions that if he ever lied to his mother, she'd slap him into another nationality. One imagine has her slapping Chris for bringing a Playboy to school, turning him Asian.
      • Similarly, Chris finds Drew making out with a girl he likes and imagines himself literally slapping the black off of his brother, with paramedics carrying Drew away in a gurney with multiple patches of black missing.
  • Family Matters:
    • In the Christmas Episode "Have Yourself a Merry Winslow Christmas", Steve says that he will tape the wallet (Laura's gift to him) to his heart. Then he lifts up his shirt to reveal he actually does that to keep bullies from shaking him down for money.
    • In "They Shoot Urkels, Don't They?", after a long stretch, Carl remarks that he could dance all night. After Steve looks out the window and sees the sun, he remarks that they have.
  • Frasier:
    • In one episode, 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.
    • The episode where Roz learns she is pregnant ends with her freaking out over being a single mom, and Frasier starts a long passionate speech about her strength and how he will always be there for her, ending with:
    Frasier: ...and you will look down on little Bobby, or little Alice, or dare I hope little Frasier?
    Roz: Oh God, I’m gonna hurl.
    Frasier: [chuckles] well alright, you name your child whatever you want...
    Roz: No, I mean I’m gonna hurl! [sprints to the bathroom]
    Frasier: Oh! Um, I’m out here if you need me.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air:
    • In "You've Got To Be a Football Hero", Hilary tells Ashley that there are plenty of men in the sea. When Ashley asks if she meant fish, Hilary responds "No, I mean men. Fish don't own yachts."
    • In "Hilary Gets a Life", Hilary hides in the supply closet after spotting two of her socialite friends during a catering gig she is managing to avoid embarrassing herself. After a bit of time, Geoffrey knocks on the door and tells her that it is time to come out of the closet (meaning the supply closet she is hiding in). A party guest misunderstands this and gives an unrelated pep talk.
  • Full House: In "Silent is Not Golden," Danny is telling Stephanie about an abrasive guest on his morning talk show. When Danny asks Rebecca is she remembered when he showed a different side of himself, she responded: "Yeah. He mooned us."
  • The Golden Girls:
    • In "Beauty and the Beast", Rose describes a year in which she lost the Little Miss Saint Olaf pageant by saying she smelled a rat. When Blanche asked if she meant Rose realized the contest was fixed, Rose responded that her talent was actually smelling rats.
    • In "Yokel Hero" Rose tells the girls that the prior winner for Saint Olof "Woman of the Year", Emma Immerhoffer, was disqualified for a skeleton in her closet. When Dorothy what it was, Rose responded Mr. Immerhoffer.
  • 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.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
  • 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.
  • 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]
  • 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.
  • Happens in one episode of NUMB3RS, when Alan wanders in while Charlie and Amita are working on the case of the week.
    Alan: Am I interrupting anything?
    Charlie: Just attempting to rescue a busload of tourists being held at gunpoint by four men demanding 18 million dollars. That's all.
    Amita: Unfortunately, he's not joking.
  • 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."
  • Red Dwarf: In "Epideme", 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.
  • Subverted in Sherlock: "A Study in Pink" has John Watson being kidnapped and confronted by an upper-class 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?
  • Smallville: Played for laughs in "Spell". The ghosts of three witches possessing Lana, Chloe and Lois turn Chloe's birthday party in the Kent barn into A Party, Also Known as an Orgy. Days later, Jonathan Kent finds somebody's misplaced brassiere in a haystack and queries Clark about it.
    Clark: It was magic.
    Martha: I'm sure it was.
    Clark: No, I mean it REALLY was!
  • On Some Girls, the girls watch 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 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 "You're not good enough for us" and "Screw you!". Caitlin believes he's just taking the rejection too personally, but Carter reveals those insults are actually on his voicemail.
  • It happens several times in Supergirl (2015):
    • 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:
      Mon-El: Figuratively?
      Kara: Geologically.
  • Supernatural:
    • In "All Hell Breaks Loose Part Two", The Yellow-Eyed Demon tells Jake that if he does not obey him, Jake's mother and sister will be forced to eat their own intestines.
      "No Jake, I'm not bluffing".
    • There are some people who will claim that they're older than God. Death might actually be telling the truth. (Probably not though, as God and his sister claim that they're the first things there ever were, and the latter doesn't know who/what death is.)
    • Similarly, in "Dark Side of the Moon", Dean tells the men who are about to kill him that he'll come back and be pissed. 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. Interestingly, when said men finally reappear seven years later, Dean dismissively says "We're good." Apparently he's forgiven them for killing him (and Sam) and they have more important issues now.
  • 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.
  • Veep: In a Season 5 episode, Dan calls Selina to tell her that Jonah shot himself in the foot during his Congressional campaign. When Selina asks what Jonah did to screw up this time, Dan explains that Jonah literally shot himself in the foot with a hunting rifle while filming a campaign ad.
  • 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.
  • The Wire:
    • In Season 3, all the police majors are rounded up in a meeting and dressed down by their superiors for letting the crime rates spike. On their way out of the meeting, the majors all exasperatedly discuss mundane ways of getting their stats down, while Bunny Colvin, in a moment that sounds like a joke but is actually foreshadowing, says:
      Bunny Colvin: Me? I thought I might legalize drugs.
    • When Daniels rebuilds the Major Crimes Unit in Season 4 with Lester bringing up the rear, Daniels jokingly (?) tells Lester "you can pick your own boss, for all I care." Lester ends up doing exactly that, installing Asher as head of the unit, because Asher is a do-nothing who is solely focused on planning his imminent retirement and demonstrably will let the MCU investigate whatever and whoever it needs to, however it wants to, a much-needed return to smart police work after the Marrimow debacle.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Mark Henry's nickname, the World's Strongest Man, wasn't hyperbole initially. He was actually a World's Strongest Man winner.

    Puppet Shows 

    Tabletop Games 

    Theatre 
  • 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.
  • The Epilogue of Hamilton start with Hamilton's surviving Arch-Enemy and future President saying something about Alexander Hamilton's legacy.
    Thomas Jefferson: I’ll give him this: his financial system was a work of genius; I couldn't have undone it if I tried!… [sheepishly] and I tried.

    Toys 
  • BIONICLE: At one point in the novel Time Trap, Teridax tells Vakama that "There are a thousand ways I could kill you right now. And 941 of them hurt."

    Video Games 
  • From the Age of Empires II community: In his overview of the Persian civilisation, a well-known Youtuber called Spirit Of The Law said that the Elite War Elephant is like a walking building. Complete with images showing that said Elephant's health and armour stats compare favourably to those of a house. Except this is a house that does trample damage.
  • 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!
  • 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.
    • The Jailers are some of the biggest Demonic Spiders in the game, because they can drain your health just by looking at you. That isn't an exaggeration: if you're in their line of sight, your maximum health drains away until you're only one hitpoint away from death, unless you can kill them quickly.
  • The first thing V says to Dante in Devil May Cry 5 is "I have no name, I am but two days old." He isn't kidding, Vergil split himself into V and Urizen just two days prior to this.
  • 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. No, he's not referring to his crossbow, his actual editor. Who runs half the Coterie (the biggest organized crime group in his home city) and once killed a man over a semicolon. He never publishes a book without her.
  • 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 goalposts.
  • 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.
  • God of War III: Just before he's brutally beaten to death by Kratos, Poseidon warns the Spartan; "The death of Olympus means the death of us all!" He's not kidding, either, since when his dead body falls into the ocean, it triggers a cataclysmic tidal wave that floods most of Greece (and it's implied the rest of the planet). It's all downhill from there with each Olympian's death.
  • One intro in Mortal Kombat 11 has Shang Tsung almost laughing at Johnny Cage's claim that he took down Shinnok. Anyone who played Mortal Kombat X knows Johnny isn't making this up.
    Johnny: Once upon a time, I beat Shinnok.
    Shang Tsung: My, what a colorful imagination.
    Johnny: Look it up! I laid him out!
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 to 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
    Heavy: These bears were babies.
    Scout: Yeah yeah, everything's a baby to you.
    Mama Bear: RROARRR
    Heavy: No, these bears were babies. Her babies.
  • Transistor: 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.
  • Undertale: If you continue to spare Flowey during the Neutral Ending, he warns you that if you let him live, he'll kill you and everyone you love. It's hard to decide which is worse; the face he makes when he says that, or the fact that he isn't bluffing.

    Web Animation 
  • 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!
  • In DC Super Hero Girls, Stellar 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 episode of Pinchimono, he shows his favorite cereal Burger Flakes, which boasts to have "MORE flavor! So much it doesn't fit in the box!". Then in points to a small baggie of "extra flavor" stapled to the box.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • In an early season, 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." Sure enough... note 
    • 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!"
  • 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.
  • RWBY:
    • When teaching Ruby Rose about leadership in Volume 1, Professor Ozpin states that he's "made more mistakes than any man, woman, and child on this planet". In Volume 5, he reveals that he wasn't exaggerating. The gods made both Ozpin and Salem immortal for clashing reasons, which has led to their Forever War. After thousands of years of trying to earn humanity's redemption in the eyes of the gods, Ozpin really has made more mistakes than any normal human is capable of. However, he also assumes far more responsibility than is genuinely the case; this contrasts Salem, who assumes none and was the person responsible for humanity's fall from grace in the first place.
    • In Volume 2, Doctor Oobleck and Team RWBY are searching Mountain Glenn for signs of a covert criminal group, when an encounter with a sinkhole gives Dr. Oobleck his revelation: they've been searching for an underground crime network — they just didn't expect it to be literally under the ground.
    • In Volume 3, Qrow's disruptive entrance into Beacon Academy results in a frustrated Ironwood snapping that if Qrow was one of his men, he'd have him shot. Qrow retorts that, if he was one of Ironwood's men, he'd shoot himself. It turns out that this was neither a joke nor hyperbole. In Volume 7, Ironwood turns on the heroes and shoots Oscar at point-blank range. Oscar survives due to Ozpin's magic, but it unleashes Ironwood's dictatorial instincts; he goes on to shoot Councilman Sleet for objecting to martial law and almost shoots Marrow for lashing out against his more inhumane decisions (Winter saves his life just in time).
  • In the spin-off RWBY Chibi:
    • One skit involves Ruby playing "the floor is lava" with her teammates (she's very disappointed when they just use their various powers to effortlessly cross the room without touching the floor). Then Roman Torchwick appears, she repeats her warning, but he doesn't believe her, steps onto the room's floor — and promptly melts, because the floor really was lava.
    • Another skit has Ruby and Ren attacked by Grimm pancakes, and Ruby says "I never knew it would end like this... really! It never would have occured to me!"
  • 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.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • 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:
  • A couple from the Not Always series:
  • 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."
  • 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.

    Web Videos 
  • Atop the Fourth Wall: Linkara describes his videos as "the place where bad comics burn." There have been instances, like the infamous Holy Terror, where Linkara has finished his review by setting the book on fire.
  • 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.
    • When King Kai is threatened by the Ginyu-less Ginyu Force, he just gets annoyed and tells them that they can all go straight to hell. Then Recoome has the gall to ask him "Who's gonna make Recoome?" and getting in his face. Cut immediately to the entire force crash-landing in actual Hell.
  • 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, sometime 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!
  • Numberphile: "Graham's Number" opens with Tony Padilla stating that "If you actually tried to picture Graham's Number in your head, then your head would collapse into a black hole", and then clarifying that he means this very literally:
    Tony Padilla: The entropy of a black hole the size of your head carries less information than it would take to write out Graham's Number.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius:
    • In "The Retroville 9", during Jimmy's team's rematch against Butch's team, Butch declares 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.
    • In "Sorry, Wrong Era", when Hugh is left with Jimmy's time control remote, he goes to the Candy Bar and while eating an ice cream cone tells Sam that he can eat it all day long. He then reverses time to un-eat his cone and eat it again, which disgusts the other patrons.
  • 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 "The Faith", Alan says that despite all of his attempts to befriend Gumball, the latter still won't look him in the eye. As it turns out Gumball literally refuses to look him in the eye, because offscreen the top of his head has twisted itself to face away from Alan.
  • 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.
  • Archer:
    • This exchange:
      Cyril: I got the 50 million in bearer bonds.
      Spelvin: Unbelievable!
      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).
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • There's a variation in the 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.
      Iroh: Maybe it should be a proverb...
    • In "The Boiling Rock Part 1," the Warden says that he would rather jump in to the lake of boiling water surrounding the prison than let the track record of nobody escaping be broken. Part 2 reveals he means that. When the heroes try to escape on the gondola with him hostage, he tells the guards to cut the rope, knowing that would mean he would fall in to the lake too.
  • BoJack Horseman: Sarah Lynn gets letters every day from boys telling her she was the first girl they masturbated to. "Literally! Every day!"
  • 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 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In the first episode of Dog City, the Dogfather decides to work over Ace Heart to get info on the episode's MacGuffin.
    Bugsy: Dis is gonna hurt me more dan it does you.
    Ace: Thanks for the sympathy.
    Bugsy: What sympathy? I got pistol-whipper's elbow. This is really gonna smart!
  • 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 the DuckTales (2017) episode "The Last Crash of the Sunchaser", when the triplets' mother Della got lost in a cosmic storm, Scrooge stated he "spared no expense" to find her. His family took this as he spent as much as he could without putting a dent in his wealth. Turns out though, he meant it. He nearly brought his company to the brink of bankruptcy in his attempt to find Della, but the search was too futile and too expensive to continue.
  • 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.
  • The Flintstones:
    • In the episode "Dino Disappears", when Dino runs away, Fred finds a dog that looks a bit like him. Despite the dog's owner telling him otherwise, Fred stubbornly believes that dog is Dino, stating he'll sleep in Dino's doghouse for a week if it's not him. After going through a manner of hijinks including dognapping and getting arrested, Fred is shocked when the real Dino shows up. The episode then ends with Wilma bringing Fred his dinner...at Dino's doghouse.
    • In "Room For Two", when Barney tells Fred that half of his house's newly built room is on Barney's property, Fred doesn't believe it and calls the City Hall of Records to check it. Barney comments that Fred will raise the roof when he learns it's true. Sure enough, when Fred finds out that Barney does legally own half the room, he angrily yells so loud that the room's roof jumps.
  • Futurama:
  • 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.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • In "Boyz Crazy", Wendy's claim that boy bands are "just a manufactured product of the bloated corporate music industry" (a perspective Dipper agrees with) turns out to be quite literal as Mabel's favorite band Sev'ral Timez is revealed to be clones that were genetically engineered by their producer to be perfect boys and treated like animals.
    • 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 to ask for help. Dipper dryly tells her "You're the worst" and slams the door in her face.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy:
  • In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2021), while stuck with Teela for the night, Evelyn decides to sleep. When Teela asks why she'd feel safe enough to sleep around her Nemesis, Evelyn boasts that she sleeps with one eye open. While normally an expression that means someone's a light sleeper and can wake in an instant, Evelyn proves she literally sleeps with her right eye open, to Teela's discomfort.
  • Kaeloo: Mr. Cat, who Hates Being Touched, threatens to kill Kaeloo and Stumpy for touching him in one episode... while holding a knife to Kaeloo's throat.
  • 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.
  • 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. Daffy laughs off this threat, on which the muscle-head proceeds to make good.
    • 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]
    • In the climax of "Knighty Knight Bugs", Bugs Bunny traps the Black Knight (played by Yosemite Sam) and his dragon, who has a habit of sneezing fire at the worst possible time (it got a cold because its fire ran too low), in the Black Knight's castle's explosives tower. Surrounded by explosives, the dragon starts gearing up to sneeze yet again. Knowing full well what's going to happen, the Knight freaks out and tries to cover the dragon's nose while yelling, "No, no! Don't sneeze, you stupid dragon, or you'll blow us to the moon!" Of course, it's all in vain as the dragon sneezes anyway, causing all the explosives to blow up at once and send the explosives tower rocketing into the sky toward the moon.
      Black Knight: Dragons is so stupid.
      Bugs Bunny: (calling up to the sky and waving) Adios! Have a nice trip! Bon voyage! Farewell to thee!
      (The Singing Sword in Bugs' hand vocalizes to "Alohe Oe")
    • In the special "Daffy Duck's Fantastic Island", Daffy laments being stuck on a desert island with Speedy Gonzales, with nothing to eat but coconuts, and cries "I'll go nuts if I'm on this place another minute!" When Speedy points out "It's a minute already," Daffy has a brief nervous breakdown.
    • The conflict between Duck Dodgers and Marvin the Martian in Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century is started by Dodgers' insistence that "there just ain't room enough on this planet for the two of us", which he repeats again at the end of the cartoon... after both of their explosives have reduced said planet to the size of a floating basketball the two can barely fit on.
      Duck Dodgers: As I was saying, buster, this planet ain't big enough for the two of us, so... [shoves him off] ...off you go!
  • 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 catches him trying to ambush her in a dark alley and makes good on her threat.
  • 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 that 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?
  • Metalocalypse: Deathklok are in a bad mood after being blamed for awakening a troll in Finland.
    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 one episode of Mickey Mouse (2013), Mickey is trying to get Ludwig VonDuck to help Donald with his temper, as he "has been blowing his stack at the drop of a hat". When Donald protests that he doesn't, Mickey takes out a hat and drops it, causing Donald to fly into a rage.
  • 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.
  • My Little Pony:
  • Regular Show: Done unintentionally in "It's Time": when Mordecai and Rigby are hurtling through a time vortex on a microwave, Rigby calls Mordecai out for flaking on him to hang with Margaret. In a fit of rage, Mordecai yells I'll Kill You! and pushes Rigby off, and the vortex turns him to dust (he gets better).
  • 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 "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.
  • Rocko's Modern Life: In "Unbalanced Load", Rocko declares that he needs to get some laundry done, because his bedroom looks like a pigsty. Then he sees an actual pig in his bedroom stuffing his face with pizza, and tells the guy to "Amscray!"
  • 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 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.
  • Sheep in the Big City:
    • One episode features a commercial within the show for a store called Les is Moore's Warehouse. Owner Les Wiggles tells viewers that his prices are "completely nuts!" — and he means it. A single battery costs $42,000, while a giant elephant is only sixteen cents.
    • General Specific runs afoul of this trope when the Angry Scientist tells him that he's cooked up a new plan to capture Sheep that "stinks." The general won't listen because he wants a good scheme, not a stinky one, so the Scientist explains that he wasn't exaggerating: the plan is to unleash a massive stink bomb into the Big City to drive Sheep out with the odor.
  • 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 "Worst Episode Ever", while Bart and Milhouse are taking care of Comic Book Guy's shop, Milhouse ends up buying a lot of comic books about a glasses-wearing superhero that proves extremely unpopular. Bart angrily says that they'll never sell them because "birds won't even use them for their nests". Right on cue, a crow comes in with a copy of the comic book, angrily shreds it with its talons, and leaves.
    • In "Take My Wife, Sleaze", the Simpson home gets invaded by a motorcycle gang, the Hell's Satans. When Marge offers to make breakfast for them, their leader, Meathook, replies "I'd kill for some waffles", with his friend Ramrod adding "He has. Remember that IHOP in Oakland?", which makes them both laugh.
    • In "A Star is Burns", Lisa is describing Jay Sherman as a possible judge for the upcoming film festival. Shortly after, Homer walks in and says my ears are burning. Lisa promptly responds that she was not talking about Homer. Homer then responds that his ears were actually burning. He lit a Q-Tip to see inside his ears.
  • 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.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Pizza Delivery", Squidward demands that SpongeBob drive to make the titular pizza delivery, assuring him that the customer's house is "just around the corner" from the Krusty Krab. It turns out that Squidward was not wrong; the customer's house was indeed an extremely short distance away from the Krusty Krab.
    • At the end of "Squid on Strike", SpongeBob has destroyed the Krusty Krab overnight (dismantled the establishment) and Mr. Krabs tells him and Squidward that they'll have to work for him forever to pay off the damages. This is followed by a card reading "One Eternity Later" and a shot of SpongeBob and Squidward's skeletons still working there.
    • 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 "Sing a Song of Patrick", when Patrick submits a terrible poem to be turned into a song, the leader of the band doing the song says that they're going to do it if it kills them. Less than 5 seconds later, it's shown that finishing the song quite literally killed them.
    • In "Komputer Overload", Karen tells Plankton that without her, he probably wouldn't even remember to blink. A few seconds later, he does exactly that and Karen has to remind him to.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: Marco once threatens a knight that his face will hit every surface of a room and that said knight will wake up in the belly of a dragon. A few moments later he does exactly that (though by "in the belly" he meant "on the abdomen").
  • In the Steven Universe: Future episode "I Am My Monster", Steven Universe has been corrupted into a monster due to trauma from his previous battles. White Diamond cries in guilt that this is all her fault, as she hurt Yellow and Blue, so they hurt Pink, and thus caused a Chain Of Harm that hurt everyone in the universe. Coming from anyone else, someone claiming to have hurt "everyone in the universe" would sound like hyperbole, except that the Diamonds used to be intergalactic dictators, so White's claim is literally 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.
  • Tom and Jerry:
    • In "Love That Pup!", Spike the bulldog 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 "That's My Boy", while teaching Tyke how to chase cats, Spike demonstrates on an unsuspecting Tom, claiming that sneaking up on cats always scares them out of their skin. Sure enough, when Spike started barking, Tom was so spooked he leaped out of his fur.
  • Duncan on Total DramaRama claims that he was born in timeout. This is followed by a cutaway to his birth, where the doctor gave Duncan a timeout for slapping him.
  • 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.

    Real Life 
  • 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. He also told the cast of Even Dwarfs Started Small after two near incidents of Fatal Method Acting that if they made it through the rest of the shoot without any more injuries he would jump into a cactus patch and let them film him doing so. They made it through unscathed and he kept his word.
  • 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.
  • During the Apollo 13 mission, NASA had to put a square peg in a round hole to keep the astronauts alive. In context — the Lunar Module's CO2 scrubbers weren't powerful enough to account for three astronauts.note  The Command Module's were, but its plug-in was shut down along with the rest of the module. Now, the obvious answer was to put the CM's scrubbers in the LM's plug, but they were incompatible — the LM's scrubbers were round and the CM's were square. So the engineers had to come up with a way to fit that square CM unit into the LM's round plugs, using only what limited resources the astronauts had on hand.
  • The Exynos variants of Samsung's Galaxy S20 (and later Galaxy Note 20) series flagship smartphones have gotten a lot of flak for their many issues compared to their Snapdragon counterparts, such as overheating, throttling, and battery life, to the point that people aren't exaggerating when they say that even budget phones run better.
  • One of Cards Against Humanity's Black Friday stunts was selling bullshit. Literal feces, from a male bovine.
  • Telling someone to "Go To Hell" is not a figure of speech for a place called Hell in Michigan or a village in Norway.
  • In 1995, networking pioneer Robert Metcalfe predicted that the Internet would suffer a "catastrophic collapse" the following year, and promised to eat his words if it did not. In a 1997 conference, he blended a printed copy of that column with some water and ate it before a cheering audience.


 
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Tom's wizard master attempted to concoct a magical potion, only to discover that when the book said one of the ingredients had to be milk from a cow that lived in Calcutta, it MEANT it.

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