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 It’s hard to exaggerate the viciousness of what Michael Vick did. Steve Chapman, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Michael Vick deserves our forgiveness," 11 Dec. 2019 In the 1860s, the commercialization of color photographs was still decades away, and black and white images tended to exaggerate blonde-ish hair into gray or even white. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "Archaeologists Find Hair Dye Bottles Used by Self-Conscious Civil War Soldiers Posing for Portraits," 5 Dec. 2019 And reports of his wheeziness proved to be exaggerated. Andrew Dansby, Houston Chronicle, "Willie Nelson's Sugar Land show proves he's still going his own peculiar way," 19 Nov. 2019 The president has proven masterful at controlling the message, using his microphone and Twitter account to exaggerate success. Christine Romans, CNN, "Democrats need to sharpen their attacks on the Trump economy," 17 Oct. 2019 The 62-year-old real estate broker said he's been frustrated by Trump's tendency to exaggerate his support among black voters. The Washington Post, al, "Man Trump called ‘my African American’ says GOP’s ‘only concern is for whites’," 14 Sep. 2019 The conversation around the rise and fall of NBA players tends to exaggerate things; every veteran who takes a step back is clearly washed, and every young player who takes a step forward is an inevitable star. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "Top 100 NBA Players of 2020," 12 Sep. 2019 Be aware of those who tend to exaggerate, and keep offers in perspective. Eugenia Last, The Mercury News, "Horoscopes: Sept. 11, 2019," 11 Sep. 2019 True to form, Nigeria’s government accused the United Nations and its agencies of exaggerating the scale of an imminent famine in the northeast in 2016 despite corroborative evidence from groups active in the region. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Nigeria’s military is in a battle with humanitarian NGOs in the country’s troubled northeast," 26 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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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 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Exaggerate.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exaggerator. Accessed 19 January 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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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).


to insert between existing elements

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