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What is a single word for a person who, as a habit, exaggerates a lot when relating information?

So for example, they relate something that happened but exaggerate so much that they are including clear falsehood and they are well known for doing that.

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One might say fabulist, which is a teller of fables, but some might regard exaggeration and fables as non-equivalents, so perhaps that's not the best choice of words. If that's the case, there's always exaggerator. –  J.R. Dec 9 '12 at 10:44
    
Apparently, you are looking for something other than the obvious and natural option of exaggerator -- why? –  Kris Dec 9 '12 at 11:18
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Hyperlobator. Of course that’s a bit of an exaggeration. –  MετάEd Dec 9 '12 at 16:51
    
George Bush called Al Gore a "serial exaggerator" leading up to the 2000 election. –  Captain Claptrap Dec 9 '12 at 20:52
    
I can't resist thinking that hyperboloid could be recoined for this... And of course there is fisherman (fisherperson? fisher?). –  Drew May 21 at 4:42

5 Answers 5

This kind of behavior actually is a recognized psychiatric disorder. Such a person is known as a pathological liar, a compulsive liar, or a mythomaniac. See this definition of pseudologia fantastica.

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Upvoted and deleted my answer-I didn't notice you'd already included mythomaniac! –  Autoresponder Dec 9 '12 at 15:45
    
Would this really apply to someone who just had a "habit" of exaggerating? Seems a bit exaggerated... ;-) –  Drew May 21 at 4:38

Drama Queen. Someone who turns something unimportant into a major deal. Someone who blows things way out of proportion when ever the chance is given.

Embroiderer, exaggerator, dramatist, fabricator, embellisher, and hyperbolist. Some dictionaries might not list the last two, but some do, such as Collins.

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@J.R.: Thank you for for the edit, J.R. I was just too lazy to do much digging. –  user21497 Dec 9 '12 at 10:52
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I like your other words, especially hyperbolist, but I'm not sure a drama queen necessarily exagerates as much as simply draws attentions to him/herself about otherwise mundane issues or events. –  Kristina Lopez Dec 9 '12 at 11:09
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@Kristina Lopez: The definition given by the Urban Dictionary certainly suggests exaggeration: turns something unimportant into a major deal and blows things way out of proportion. I like hyperbolist too. :-) –  user21497 Dec 9 '12 at 12:17

The most accurate term is Bullshitter but that is definitely not polite.

A more polite way to describe them would be to say that "they tell tall tales"

A tall tale is a story with unbelievable elements, related as if it were true and factual. Some such stories are exaggerations of actual events, for example fish stories ('the fish that got away') such as, "that fish was so big, why I tell ya', it nearly sank the boat when I pulled it in!"

Those two terms could be more accurate than fabulist, fabricator etc as those words imply that the person making up the facts expects to be believed or believes those made up facts themselves.

If someone is telling a story, and alters the facts to make the story better, even if they know that their audience knows the true facts behind the story, they may not be trying to deceive anyone, but just to improve the story so that it is more amusing.

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Overstater or braggart could be the words you're looking for.

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To "spin yarns" or to be a "yarner" are two ways to describe the action and the actor of exaggeration. A "yarn" is a fantastic tale that carries on for the purpose of entertainment and not accuracy. It's origins, per etymonline, are in nautical slang.

The phrase to spin a yarn "to tell a story" is first attested 1812, from a sailors' expression, on notion of telling stories while engaged in sedentary work such as yarn-twisting.

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