I want to describe a situation in which I acknowledge that someone has done something for me in the past and so I am grateful for it but the person upon hearing this exaggerates the importance of the favor and starts behaving as if I am obligated to him for a lifetime. Is there any idiom for this person's behavior?

  • #1 is an ingrate and an insatiable user. #2 is a whitewashing BS artist. Feb 27, 2017 at 22:31
  • Better stick to one question only. I would omit the second question and try to ask it separately.
    – Centaurus
    Feb 27, 2017 at 22:38
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    "ingrate" is an ungrateful person. The person who exaggerates the importance of the favor they did to someone else is not necessarily ungrateful. I am looking for idioms rather than nouns to describe "exaggerating the importance of favor" and "trying to cover up defects in one's work". Feb 27, 2017 at 22:39
  • 'They want their pound of flesh' is heading in that direction. But here, the pound seems to have become several hundredweight. Metaphorically, it's usury. By a loan-shark. Feb 27, 2017 at 22:51
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    He did me a favor once and now he’ll never let me forget it.
    – Jim
    Feb 28, 2017 at 0:55

1 Answer 1


Two related idioms come to mind:

  • "Lord it over" (M.W.), meaning to behave like a member of the aristocracy and assumes the right to be acknowledged superior: "He helped me in the past and now he just wants to lord it over me".

  • "Make a mountain out of a molehill" (M.W. 7) - to consider something of little importance to be something of great importance: "I acknowledged his help and he made a mountain out a molehill about it, claiming I owed him a life long debt of gratitude."

Although these cover the ideas of assumed superiority and exaggeration, I am not sure there is a single English idiom that matches the saying from your own language in its entirety.

In response to comment, the young Hindi saying could be translated as "I raised you up a hero and all you did was piss in my ear". It's vulgar, not something commonly expressed in English, but could work in film subtitles to translate Hindi dialogue which uses the expression.

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    I think "making a mountain out of a molehill" is said when someone is exaggerating a trivial problem and not when one is exaggerating the importance of a favor granted. The molehill has the connotation of an issue or of a problem. A favor is not an issue. I think "Lord it over" is an exercise of a general feeling of superiority and not necessarily one in response to the acknowledgement of a prior favor. The saying in my language literally translated is "I carried you or took you on my shoulder (basically applauded you or acknowledged what you did for me) and you started urinating in my ear". Feb 28, 2017 at 2:21
  • Th language is Hindi. Young people use this; the elderly would most likely be appalled by its crassness. Feb 28, 2017 at 2:22
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    "I raised you up a hero" does not really mesh in with "urinating in the ear". There is physical proximity with the ear expressed through "took you on my shoulder" which prepares one for what is to come next. The second part is a logical continuation of the first! Feb 28, 2017 at 16:05

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