Definition of exaggerate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪɡˈzadʒəreɪt/
Pronunciation: /ɛɡˈzadʒəreɪt/


[with object]
1Represent (something) as being larger, better, or worse than it really is: she was apt to exaggerate any aches and pains [no object]: I couldn’t sleep for three days—I’m not exaggerating
overstate, overemphasize, overstress, overestimate, overvalue, magnify, amplify, aggrandize, inflate;
hyperbolize, add colour, stretch the truth, catastrophize;
British  overpitch
informal pile it on, lay it on thick, lay it on with a trowel/shovel, make a mountain out of a molehill, blow something out of all proportion, make a drama out of a crisis, make a big thing of
British informal shoot a line
archaic draw the longbow
informal over the top, OTT, tall
1.1 (as adjective exaggerated) Enlarged or altered beyond normal proportions: exaggerated features such as a massive head and beetling brows
More example sentences
  • As soon as he walked in all cameras focused on him and his hero pals made an exaggerated show of affection towards him.
  • This can lead to exaggerated food portions or over consumption of calories.
  • We in the West have done far more than the Russians to publicise the fact that our children embody all of our exaggerated fears today.



Pronunciation: /ɪɡˈzadʒəreɪtɪdli/
Pronunciation: /ɛɡˈzadʒəreɪtɪdli/
Example sentences
  • Sitting in the office where he has been busily preparing to lead election-night coverage, he is clearly fired up by an otherwise uninspiring campaign, chuckling, giggling, contriving exaggeratedly actorish expressions.
  • You'll all be happy to know that I escaped my self-made prison without too much trouble, although I nearly slipped and fell when I tried to make an exaggeratedly large step well over the possible height of any of my candles.
  • After returning across the bridge, she shed her veils, exaggeratedly made-up her face and disappeared among the pedestrians travelling south along the waterfront.


Pronunciation: /ɪɡˈzadʒərətɪv/
Pronunciation: /ɛɡˈzadʒərətɪv/
Example sentences
  • There have been movie - makers who have stepped out of the realms of exaggerative patriotism and have dared to show America and its people for what they really are.
  • I must admit even though I am on the receiving end of all this exaggerative policing, I am grateful for the sense of safety it promotes.
  • You have an overly exaggerative imagination.


Pronunciation: /ɪɡˈzadʒəreɪtə/
Pronunciation: /ɛɡˈzadʒəreɪtə/
Example sentences
  • May you survive the tempests that you are tempting, angering that the ungodly tribe of fibbers, exaggerators and outrageous abusers of power to bludgeon the real number.
  • I've gone through the claims and counter-claims, and suspect he was valiant in one incident and a whiner or exaggerator in others.
  • But the fact that he's a serial exaggerator is exactly why this story should receive attention, not why it should be shrugged off.


Mid 16th century: from Latin exaggerat- 'heaped up', from the verb exaggerare, from ex- 'thoroughly' + aggerare 'heap up' (from agger 'heap'). The word originally meant 'pile up, accumulate', later 'intensify praise or blame', giving rise to current senses.

  • To exaggerate was originally ‘to pile up, accumulate’, and later ‘to make much of, emphasize’. It comes from Latin exaggerare ‘to heap up’, from agger ‘heap’. Mark Twain is usually credited with saying, in response to an incorrect story that he had died, ‘Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated’. In fact, he said ‘The report of my death was an exaggeration’—in the New York Journal, on 2 June 1897.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ex|ag¦ger|ate

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