ex·​ag·​ger·​ate ig-ˈza-jə-ˌrāt How to pronounce exaggerate (audio)
exaggerated; exaggerating

transitive verb

: to enlarge beyond bounds or the truth : overstate
a friend exaggerates a man's virtues Joseph Addison
: to enlarge or increase especially beyond the normal : overemphasize

intransitive verb

: to make an overstatement
ig-ˈza-jə-ˌrā-tiv How to pronounce exaggerate (audio)
exaggerator noun
exaggeratory adjective

Example Sentences

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Jumping to catastrophic conclusions is like setting off a series of false alarms that keep you on edge and exaggerate your sense of threat. Bethany Teachman, CNN, 9 Nov. 2022 This blazer technically takes on the style of a riding jacket, with the addition of Victorian-esque darting placement at the waist and shoulder pads, which exaggerate the curvy silhouette that this blazer sculpts. Alyssa Brascia, Peoplemag, 8 Nov. 2022 Foreign meddlers could launch cyberattacks or exaggerate the effects of relatively ineffectual attacks. Frank Bajak, Anchorage Daily News, 3 Nov. 2022 Cullenward says many carbon offset companies exaggerate the additionality of projects. Taylor Moore, Time, 28 Oct. 2022 Her fifth-graders imitate a dance routine shown on a screen, as Quist and two education assistants — Bonnie Welch and Jenniffer Wardell — exaggerate their moves, making the seven children smile and laugh. Connor Sanders, The Salt Lake Tribune, 30 Sep. 2022 Fisher explains that daters who lie or exaggerate their talents are just trying to be selected. WIRED, 18 Sep. 2022 Its consequences are likely to send a message to entrepreneurs who exaggerate in the name of innovation. Erin Griffith, BostonGlobe.com, 7 July 2022 At night, street lamps and car headlights exaggerate the glimmer of stainless steel that does not, cannot disappear into the darkness like wrought iron. New York Times, 10 June 2022 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1613, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of exaggerate was in 1613

Dictionary Entries Near exaggerate

Cite this Entry

“Exaggerate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exaggerate. Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition



ex·​ag·​ger·​ate ig-ˈzaj-ə-ˌrāt How to pronounce exaggerate (audio)
exaggerated; exaggerating
: to enlarge a fact or statement beyond what is actual or true
exaggeration noun
exaggerator noun

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