Like when a historical event has been retold and changed so many times that nobody knows the truth anymore. Like the Trojan Horse or the legend of Arthur or whatever. "The event was ___. "

  • Built up in an endless game of telephone? Jun 25 '17 at 13:26

I would use the verb to mythologize.

1.1 Create or promote an exaggerated or idealized image of.

The event was mythologized.

Given the etymology of myth, I think its relation to truth is self-evident.

8.the talk of men, rumour, Soph., Eur.

  • '... has passed into myth' is perhaps more idiomatic, but OP has been prescriptive. Jun 25 '17 at 14:21

Retelling a historical event of greater significance can easily deflect to exaggeration. Historical events are retold in books, online media, or more commonly in documentaries or feature-length movies. Some authors tend to be delinquent by stripping off the facts and adding events of personal interest to make the story attractive and intriguing. Such content additions, to make an original event more fascinating and sensational is called "embellishment."
Therefore, we can say: "The event was embellished."

Embellishment (Noun)

Definition 1: A decorative detail or feature added to something to make it more attractive.

Example: ‘architectural embellishments.’

Definition 2: A detail, especially one that is untrue, added to a statement or story to make it more interesting.

Example: ‘stripped of her embellishments, the core of hard fact was disappointingly small.'

More example sentences:

'Every time the story was told, a little more was added, a few embellishments created, until finally the story was unrecognizable as what really happened, but I liked it better that way, and so did everyone else.’

'An extraordinary story is told, then retold with embellishments and remodeled with favorable points emphasized while unfavorable ones are dropped.’

‘If you have a chance to see the movie, you'll hear the main character's father tell the story, with the sort of embellishments that have nourished all the Alexander legends through the centuries.'

Source: OED

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