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 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 Palm Beach Post Maybe Davon Godchaux is exaggerating. Hal Habib, USA TODAY, "Dolphins DT Davon Godchaux: 'Everybody will freak out' if NFL can't play season due to coronavirus," 14 May 2020 Critics in Europe accused WHO of having exaggerated the pandemic threat in order to generate profits for the pharmaceutical industry, pointing to consulting arrangements that the agency’s influenza experts had with vaccine manufacturers. Andrew Lakoff, The Conversation, "Why the WHO, often under fire, has a tough balance to strike in its efforts to address health emergencies," 1 May 2020 For example, a cytokine storm could cause brain swelling, and the blood’s exaggerated tendency to clot could trigger strokes. Meredith Wadman, Science | AAAS, "How does coronavirus kill? Clinicians trace a ferocious rampage through the body, from brain to toes," 17 Apr. 2020 The brief strongly implies without stating outright that Jessop may be exaggerating the coin collection’s existence and value. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "To Protect and Serve, or Pilfer and Steal?," 17 Apr. 2020 The Telluride has more head- and legroom in both the second and third rows, and, like in a big house, its large windows and tall ceiling exaggerate the feeling of airiness. Joey Capparella, Car and Driver, "2020 Kia Telluride vs. 2020 Toyota Highlander: A Battle for Three-Row Supremacy," 31 Mar. 2020 Yokelson was exaggerating the field’s simplicity, but the assets needed to run a comprehensive project had never been deployed. Kyle Dickman, Scientific American, "The Hidden Toll of Wildfires," 1 Mar. 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

7 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Exaggerate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exaggerate. Accessed 3 Aug. 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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