Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To represent as greater than is actually the case; overstate: exaggerate the size of the enemy force; exaggerated his own role in the episode.
  • transitive v. To enlarge or increase to an abnormal degree: thick lenses that exaggerated the size of her eyes.
  • intransitive v. To make overstatements.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To overstate, to describe more than is fact.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To heap up; to accumulate.
  • transitive v. To amplify; to magnify; to enlarge beyond bounds or the truth ; to delineate extravagantly ; to overstate the truth concerning.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To heap up; accumulate.
  • To increase immoderately or extravagantly; make incongruously large or extended; amplify beyond proper bounds.
  • To cause to appear immoderately large or important; amplify in representation or apprehension; enlarge beyond truth or reason.
  • In the fine arts, to heighten extravagantly or disproportionately in effect or design: as, to exaggerate particular features in a painting or statue.
  • To amplify unduly in thought or in description; use exaggeration in speech or writing.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. to enlarge beyond bounds or the truth
  • v. do something to an excessive degree

Etymologies

Latin exaggerāre, exaggerāt-, to heap up, magnify : ex-, intensive pref.; see ex- + aggerāre, to pile up (from agger, pile, from aggerere, to bring to : ad-, ad- + gerere, to bring).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin exaggeratus, past participle of exaggerare ("to heap up, increase, enlarge, magnify, amplify, exaggerate"), from ex ("out, up") + aggerare ("to heap up"), from agger ("a pile, heap, mound, dike, mole, pier, etc."), from aggerere, adgerere ("to bring together"), from ad ("to") + gerere ("to carry"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • "In the fine arts, to heighten extravagantly or disproportionately in effect or design: as, to exaggerate particular features in a painting or statue. Synonyms and To strain, stretch, overcolor, caricature. See list under aggravate." --CD&C

    January 30, 2012

  • Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

    January 25, 2007

  • I've told you a thousand times, don't exaggerate!

    January 25, 2007