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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from exaggerate

exaggerative \ ig-​ˈza-​jə-​ˌrā-​tiv How to pronounce exaggerate (audio) , -​ˈzaj-​rə-​tiv , -​ˈza-​jə-​rə-​tiv \ adjective
exaggerator \ ig-​ˈza-​jə-​ˌrā-​tər How to pronounce exaggerate (audio) \ noun
exaggeratory \ ig-​ˈzaj-​rə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce exaggerate (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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web But Kyrsten Sinema is no Barry Goldwater, and her detractors exaggerate her propensity to buck the party line. William Mcgurn, WSJ, 4 Oct. 2021 But some online posts exaggerate the depth of the drop. Devon Link, USA TODAY, 23 Sep. 2021 Pompeo told Dempsey, seeming to exaggerate the sass factor for his benefit. Los Angeles Times, 30 Sep. 2021 Some identity solution providers tend to over-exaggerate the effectiveness of using just identity data for fraud prevention. Yinglian Xie, Forbes, 30 Sep. 2021 Research indicates post-election surveys regularly overestimate voter turnout because people tend to exaggerate their voting behavior. Daniel Funke, USA TODAY, 15 Sep. 2021 Nearly every day, the Taliban’s website features reports of purported defections to its side, though the details are likely exaggerated, just as both the Taliban and the Afghan government exaggerate each other’s casualties. New York Times, 30 Mar. 2021 Workplace dramas tend to exaggerate the thrills of the hospital, the police precinct, or the courtroom—settings where the stakes are already clear. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, 23 Aug. 2021 Experts say hydrogen peroxide does have an array of uses, but some of the recommendations in the post can be harmful, and others exaggerate its effectiveness. Nayeli Lomeli, USA TODAY, 11 Aug. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About exaggerate

Time Traveler for exaggerate

Time Traveler

The first known use of exaggerate was in 1613

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near exaggerate

ex Africa semper aliquid novi



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for exaggerate

Last Updated

24 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Exaggerate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exaggerate. Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon
Seen & Heard
People are talking about

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for exaggerate



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.

More from Merriam-Webster on exaggerate

Nglish: Translation of exaggerate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of exaggerate for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!