Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

It seems that if such a word exists it would be rather useful. Often, whether listening to to certain people or talking with friends, I feel that certain ideas are willingly exaggerated for a certain effect--perhaps to elicit a "wow" response. But instead I am left feeling as though the deliberate exaggeration of the point was exactly what turned me off.

share|improve this question

6 Answers 6

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Hyperbolize means to use hyperbole; to exaggerate. As you may already know, the noun form, hyperbole, means obvious and intentional exaggeration. So you could say to your friend, "You are hyperbolizing, and I'm done listening now."

If they are repeating themselves to make a point, you could use the phrase ad nauseam. (I can't think of a verb form for that.) According to Wikipedia, ad nauseam describes an argument that has been continuing "to [the point of] nausea." If you say, "This has been discussed ad nauseam," it means the topic in question has been discussed extensively, and that everyone has grown tired of it.

And finally, in debate terminology, there is a logical fallacy known as argumentum ad nauseam (argument to the point of disgust, through repetition). (I can't think of a verb form for this either.) The American Heritage Dictionary defines this as follows:

Argumentum ad nauseam, or argument from repetition, or argumentum ad infinitum is an argument made repeatedly (possibly by different people) until nobody cares to discuss it any more.

share|improve this answer
    
I just saw this now. "Hyperbolize" works quite well––even though it is a verbalization. –  Jon Jul 11 '13 at 21:50

I've heard oversell.

"It's a dessert topping and a floor wax -- and it cures cancer!"

"I think you're overselling a bit."

Overpraise would work, too.

share|improve this answer

To over-dramatize is to exaggerate for dramatic effect. And over-dramatization can certainly kill enthusiasm.

The other word that comes to mind is belabor which is excessive insistence of an argument even after the point is made.

Coupling these two may be overly dramatic but:

People tend to get annoyed when I belabor my over-dramatized arguments- I don't know why...

share|improve this answer

To labour the point (or labor) means:

to try too hard to express an idea, feeling or opinion, repeating it unnecessarily

according to the Cambridge Dictionary.

share|improve this answer

I think some synonyms for exaggerate can carry negative connotations, depending on the rest of the sentence, including: overstate, inflate, and embellish.

The best I could come up with, though, is the term self-aggrandize.

share|improve this answer
1  
I vote for "overstate", but I'm reminded of "beating a dead horse". –  Hexagon Tiling Apr 5 '12 at 8:17
    
@HexagonTiling: Not to beat a dead horse, but my dictionary says, "express or state too strongly; exaggerate: I may have overstated my case to make my point." But I agree with you: overstate can be used quantitatively, too. –  J.R. Apr 5 '12 at 8:59

Overplay sounds close, though having never actually seen it used, I wouldn't know the precise connotation.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.