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 With thick, fake eyelashes, bedazzled gel extension nails, exaggerated lip makeup and flashy jewelry, YouTube star Natalie Wynn opens the first few minutes of one recent video dressed in drag. Hallie Miller, baltimoresun.com, "This Baltimore YouTube star wants to change minds about transgender issues, one absurd costume at a time," 25 Oct. 2019 Saez and Zucman also assumed that the corporate income tax falls entirely on shareholders (as opposed to labor and other forms of capital), which, because corporate rates have come down over time, exaggerates the trend of falling taxes for the rich. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 24 Oct. 2019 Ramsey sat out the last three games with a back injury that several people inside the organization believe was either made up or exaggerated to avoid playing for the Jaguars. Mark Long, orlandosentinel.com, "Jaguars’ Marcell Dareus takes shot at departed teammate Jalen Ramsey," 16 Oct. 2019 Trump has publicly criticized Chicago and its Democratic leadership about the city’s struggle with violent crime, sometimes exaggerating or mischaracterizing an already tragic issue. Lisa Donovan, chicagotribune.com, "President Trump is coming to Chicago for a fundraiser with Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts. The event is tentatively scheduled for Trump Tower, a source said.," 14 Oct. 2019 The likelihood of an ISIS resurgence remains hard to gauge, since the Syrian Kurdish leadership may have exaggerated some incidents to catch the West’s attention. New York Times, "Abandoned by U.S. in Syria, Kurds Find New Ally in American Foe," 13 Oct. 2019 At Thom Browne’s spring/summer outing, Cardi B went for old school cinematic glamour in a sculpted suit that exaggerated her famous curves. Vogue, "Last Week, Stars Brought Runway Fantasy Into the Real World," 7 Oct. 2019 The company was accused of exaggerating the effectiveness of its opioid pain medications and understating the risk of addiction. USA Today, "How companies turn government settlements into tax write-offs," 12 Sep. 2019 Typically, politicians and the public exaggerate the threat while remaining wary of programs that involve public money or patient proximity. Troy Rondinone, The Conversation, "A plan to monitor the mentally ill? History of mental illness and stigma provides insights," 12 Sep. 2019

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

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for exaggerate

The first known use of exaggerate was in 1613

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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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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).


a calculated move

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