I believe there is a term for words such as never, always, constantly, and so forth; words that generally exaggerate the situation being described. Unfortunately, I can't recall what that term is if I am correct in that there is indeed such a term. Can anyone help me with this question?

  • 2
    What do you mean by "exaggerate"? Are you referring to hyperbole, in which case the words could be said to be hyperbolic, hyperbolical, or hyperbolism.
    – Old Pro
    Apr 26, 2012 at 6:27
  • These words are not necessarily indicative of exaggeration. The Q. is therefore ambiguous. Do you want a class name for these words? Do you want a name for words used for exaggeration?
    – Kris
    Apr 26, 2012 at 6:36
  • I believe that never, always, constantly are all temporal adverbs or perhaps I should say frequency adverbs. They are not used for exaggeration or hyperbole. However, you might say they are used for emphasis as they categorically state how often something happens. Apr 26, 2012 at 7:03
  • False absolutism? Overemphasis? Overgeneralization? Jul 16, 2012 at 17:28

4 Answers 4


For a single word, consider extremes or absolutes. In some contexts, it may sound better to use the adjective form: extreme words, absolute terms, etc.

  • 1
    I think absolutes is probably what is being looked for here and it is rare that absolutes are not exaggeration.
    – neil
    Jan 29, 2013 at 17:48

I may be misunderstanding the answer you're after, but I have a friend who chastises me for making blanket generalizations whenever I use a word like never or always in a sentence. (He's a smart guy.) Is that the phrase you're looking for?

In this case generalization means to make general or broad statements (often impossibly broad). Sometimes people also call these blanket statements.


maybe you are thinking of "hyperbole", an obvious exaggeration intended to create a strong impression.


I don't think any term other than 'time adverbs' is required to describe them, even if one exists.

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