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

Synonyms & Antonyms for exaggerate


overdo, overdraw, overstate, put on



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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

Where Sjöwall and Wahlöö succeeded in deromanticizing crime and criminals, in his mission to condemn violence against women, Larsson has ended up lionizing its perpetrators by exaggerating the same old prudish tropes. Alice Bolin, Longreads, "The Daughter as Detective," 26 June 2018 Understandably the 92-year-old wore much shorter heels than her new granddaughter-in-law, which exaggerated the height difference. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Answers to Everything You've Been Googling About Meghan Markle and the Queen Today," 15 June 2018 Prosecutors blamed Price for exaggerating his technical prowess. Jeremy Roebuck, Philly.com, "Bitcoin or bust? Brazen cryptocurrency heist apparently never happened," 10 July 2018 But the President’s exaggerated and frequently false claims of tangible success afterward raised the stakes impossibly high. NBC News, "North Korea shatters Trump's boastful assurances of an easy path to denuclearization," 7 July 2018 Many say Dershowitz’s complaints overlook the real issues in today’s political climate and exaggerate his personal plight. Renae Reints, Fortune, "Alan Dershowitz’s Martha's Vineyard Neighbors Are Shunning Him for Defending Donald Trump," 3 July 2018 During the last decades of the 20th century — adverse years for social democracy across the West — rumors of liberalism’s death within the party proved greatly, and repeatedly, exaggerated. Sam Rosenfeld, Vox, "The Democratic Party is moving steadily leftward. So why does the left still distrust it?," 22 June 2018 But historians and archaeologists knew the conquistadors were prone to exaggerating the horrors of human sacrifice to demonize the Mexica culture. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "Feeding the gods: Hundreds of skulls reveal massive scale of human sacrifice in Aztec capital," 21 June 2018 Hill, with the Anti-Defamation League, points to that small turnout as evidence the TWP is exaggerating its growth. Hannah Sparling, Cincinnati.com, "Neo-Nazis have set up shop here. This is why.," 21 Mar. 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

16 Sep 2018

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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).


alleviating pain or harshness

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