When you exaggerate you stretch the truth. Fishermen tend to exaggerate the size of their fish. And children tend to exaggerate the seriousness of their cuts in order to get cute Band-Aids.

We all have a tendency to exaggerate. It makes our stories funnier, or more dramatic. After all, when you exaggerate, you're not really lying — you're just overstating things. The word exaggerate can also suggest that a particular characteristic is overdone or almost larger than life. If you describe someone as having an exaggerated limp, he or she might be walking like a gorilla.

Definitions of exaggerate

v enlarge beyond bounds or the truth

“tended to romanticize and exaggerate this `gracious Old South' imagery”
amplify, hyperbolise, hyperbolize, magnify, overdraw, overstate
downplay, minimise, minimize, understate
represent as less significant or important
show 6 types...
hide 6 types...
overemphasise, overemphasize, overstress
place special or excessive emphasis on
blow, bluster, boast, brag, gas, gasconade, shoot a line, swash, tout, vaunt
show off
aggrandise, aggrandize, blow up, dramatise, dramatize, embellish, embroider, lard, pad
add details to
cause to seem more splendid
speak in a blustering or scornful manner
crow, gloat, triumph
dwell on with satisfaction
Type of:
misinform, mislead
give false or misleading information to

v do something to an excessive degree

praise excessively
simplify to an excessive degree
defeat (oneself) by going too far
Type of:
do, make
engage in

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.