ex·​ag·​ger·​ate | \ ig-ˈza-jə-ˌrāt How to pronounce exaggerate (audio) \
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

exaggerative \ ig-​ˈza-​jə-​ˌrā-​tiv How to pronounce exaggerative (audio) , -​ˈzaj-​rə-​tiv , -​ˈza-​jə-​rə-​tiv \ adjective
exaggerator \ ig-​ˈza-​jə-​ˌrā-​tər How to pronounce exaggerator (audio) \ noun
exaggeratory \ ig-​ˈzaj-​rə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce exaggeratory (audio) , -​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 Researchers also need to know how far away each galaxy is, and their treatment of the uncertainties that accompany these distances can either soften or exaggerate the tension. Quanta Magazine, "A New Cosmic Tension: The Universe Might Be Too Thin," 8 Sep. 2020 An observational study such as this one—which simply tallies up what happens without being able to minimize biases—will often exaggerate the benefits of treatment. Hilda Bastian, Wired, "The FDA's Approach to Covid-19 Is a Bloody Mess," 25 Aug. 2020 Managers exaggerate, but Yellow Horse had a great season for the Travs. Philip Martin, Arkansas Online, "CRITICAL MASS: Poetic history — The essential veracity of Dee Brown’s corrective history, ‘Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,’ turns 50," 16 Aug. 2020 Other experts point out that the climate model used in the research paper can exaggerate cooling effects from eruptions. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "How an Alaskan Volcano Is Linked to the Decline of the Roman Republic," 29 June 2020 There is a balance, as many in the Obama administration worried in 2016, between publishing evidence of threats and leading the public to exaggerate them in their minds. Justin Sherman, Wired, "How the US Can Prevent the Next ‘Cyber 9/11’," 6 Aug. 2020 Although Lincoln sometimes suggested that the Framers had purposefully designed slavery’s abolition—even Lincoln could wishfully exaggerate—the Constitution hardly ensured slavery’s doom. Sean Wilentz, The New York Review of Books, "What Tom Cotton Gets So Wrong About Slavery and the Constitution," 3 Aug. 2020 The use of blackface began in the mid-19th century, when performers would darken their skin and exaggerate their lips as part of traveling minstrel shows. Lisa Respers France, CNN, "Blackface in Hollywood has never been funny. People are just admitting it now," 24 June 2020 Companions might exaggerate or be innocently misinformed. BostonGlobe.com, "Horoscope," 16 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for exaggerate

Time Traveler

The first known use of exaggerate was in 1613

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Statistics for exaggerate

Last Updated

17 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Exaggerate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exaggerate. Accessed 21 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for exaggerate


How to pronounce exaggerate (audio)

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 How to pronounce exaggerate (audio) \
exaggerated; exaggerating

Kids Definition of exaggerate

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

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