ex·​ag·​ger·​ate | \ig-ˈza-jə-ˌrāt \
exaggerated; exaggerating

Definition of exaggerate 

transitive verb

1 : to enlarge beyond bounds or the truth : overstate a friend exaggerates a man's virtues— Joseph Addison

2 : to enlarge or increase especially beyond the normal : overemphasize

intransitive verb

: to make an overstatement

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Other Words from exaggerate

exaggeratedly adverb
exaggeratedness noun
exaggeration \ig-​ˌza-​jə-​ˈrā-​shən \ noun
exaggerative \ig-​ˈza-​jə-​ˌrā-​tiv, -​ˈzaj-​rə-​tiv, -​ˈza-​jə-​rə-​tiv \ adjective
exaggerator \ig-​ˈza-​jə-​ˌrā-​tər \ noun
exaggeratory \ig-​ˈzaj-​rə-​ˌtȯr-​ē, -​ˈza-​jə-​ \ adjective

Examples of exaggerate in a Sentence

The book exaggerates the difficulties he faced in starting his career. It's impossible to exaggerate the importance of this discovery. He tends to exaggerate when talking about his accomplishments. He exaggerated his movements so we could see them more clearly.
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Recent Examples on the Web

In a lone dissent, one of its authors said the report exaggerated those threats. Kate O’keeffe, WSJ, "Scholars Warn of Chinese Influence Operations in U.S.," 28 Nov. 2018 Drew Angerer / Getty The rumors of sports’ death have been greatly exaggerated, says former ESPN President John Skipper. Eric Johnson, Recode, "John Skipper, ESPN’s former president, is back ... at a rival sports media company.," 8 Nov. 2018 South Korean historians say the tale is exaggerated. Fox News, "The Latest: Trump welcomes 'tremendous progress' with NKorea," 19 Sep. 2018 The ad said the app was clinically tested and highly accurate, but the ASA’s investigation found that the ad exaggerated how effective the app is. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "Birth control app Natural Cycles ran a misleading Facebook ad claiming to be ‘highly accurate’," 29 Aug. 2018 After Rhynhart’s flashy news conference, Rob Dubow, Kenney’s finance director, defended his team and hinted that Rhynhart exaggerated her findings. Phillyclout Team, Philly.com, "Who pulled strings to get killer cop Ryan Pownall a patronage job? | Clout," 22 June 2018 Kerr and other Warriors players have routinely expressed their displeasure with the media's coverage of the series, complaining that reporters exaggerated the talent difference in the series. Nihal Kolur, SI.com, "Steve Kerr on Media: “I Thought you Guys Were Much Better Today”," 3 June 2018 CalPERS is recruiting a new chief financial officer a month after a financial blog reported that Charles Asubonten exaggerated his recent work history in his application to work for the giant pension fund. Adam Ashton, sacbee, "Pension fund's CFO 'no longer works' for CalPERS after hiring review | The Sacramento Bee," 21 May 2018 Her use of genetic testing also exaggerates the fundamental misunderstanding of how tribal nations — and nationhood — works. Rory Taylor, Teen Vogue, "DNA Tests Are Not An Indicator of Native Identity," 19 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'exaggerate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of exaggerate

1613, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for exaggerate

borrowed from Latin exaggerātus, past participle of exaggerāre "to heap up, construct by piling up, increase in significance," from ex- ex- entry 1 + aggerāre "to heap up over, form into a heap," verbal derivative of agger "rubble, earthwork, rampart, dam," noun derivative of aggerere "to bring, carry (to or up), push close up (against)," from ag- ag- + gerere "to carry, bring" — more at jest entry 1

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Statistics for exaggerate

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for exaggerate

The first known use of exaggerate was in 1613

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More Definitions for exaggerate



English Language Learners Definition of exaggerate

: to think of or describe something as larger or greater than it really is

: to make (something) larger or greater than normal


ex·​ag·​ger·​ate | \ig-ˈza-jə-ˌrāt \
exaggerated; exaggerating

Kids Definition of exaggerate

: to describe as larger or greater than what is true She exaggerated her successes.

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Comments on exaggerate

What made you want to look up exaggerate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

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