When used in a non-literal, colloquial context, would the phrase "is criminal" be considered hyperbole?

For example, used in the following sentence by someone unhappy with how the board are running a company, and without any implication of any actual crime:

What they have done to the business is criminal

If not, what would it be classified as?

  • 2
    It can be but without knowing "what they have done" it is an impossible assessment to make. Hyperbole is a disproportionate exaggeration. Would you please elaborate? – Tonepoet Dec 30 '15 at 20:59
  • I'm assuming its being used in a colloquial manner. I.e. no implication of an actual crime. For example, not liking the way the boardroom has run the company. I'll edit the question slightly. – TheSteed Dec 30 '15 at 21:01
  • Yes, that could be hyperbole. – Hot Licks Dec 30 '15 at 22:20

Definition #2 in ODO is:

informal (Of an action or situation) deplorable and shocking

The origin of this use may have been metaphor or hyperbole, but now it's just an ordinary meaning. We distinguish this sense from the legal sense by context.

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