Generally speaking, attach too much significance to [something] can be replaced overvalue, but that doesn't sit well with me in certain contexts.

For example, suppose I reached some conclusion after considering various factors, but it turns out later that I accorded too much weight to "Factor X" (causing me to reach the wrong conclusion).

"I attached/ascribed/assigned/etc. too much significance to X" conveys exactly what I want to say. I can't explain why "I overvalued X" doesn't cut it for me - that's just the way it is.

Words such as overstate, overplay, overemphasise all seem to imply I focused too much on X in a debate attempting to defend my (erroneous) conclusion. And overestimate implies mistakenly thinking X was bigger than it really was (rather than just "more important than it should be").

Ideally, I'm looking for "I xxxx'ed X", but even "I xxxx'ed the importance of X" would do.

  • ... overestimated the significance of ... is a permutation you don't seem to have stated, but the expression you mention first works well for me. Dec 30, 2012 at 16:35
  • Injudicious is possible, but is more to do with judgement than overvalue. Dec 30, 2012 at 16:56
  • @spiceyokooko: I might (just about) have formed an injudicious opinion, but I can't see how any word based on that concept could be used to describe my erroneous treatment of Factor X. Dec 30, 2012 at 17:08
  • 1
    If refragatory ("Disposed to controvert or refute", OED) weren't obsolete, it would give an easy solution; eg “I subrefragatorized X”. Dec 30, 2012 at 18:59
  • No it wouldn't. Dec 30, 2012 at 22:31

4 Answers 4


You can overrate something or overrate the importance of something.


have a higher opinion of (someone or something) than is deserved


How about overweight?

overweight :To place excessive weight or emphasis on; to overestimate the importance of

  • I can't deny that this one should be exactly the word I need. But it's a highly-specialised usage that would normally be swamped by other connotations. So I'll upvote, but I don't think I'll be "accepting" this. Dec 30, 2012 at 18:27

Overemphasize — "to place too much emphasis on or employ too much emphasis".

That's what you did in your example at least.

  • But again this seems more akin to overstate, overplay - as if I've made too much of Factor X when trying to convince other people. Dec 30, 2012 at 20:11
  • And OP has specifically listed and discounted this word in his question.
    – Jim
    Dec 30, 2012 at 21:32
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    @Jim: Perhaps Chris thought I wouldn't notice because of the different spelling (luckily, I'm wise, not yet wizened! :) Dec 30, 2012 at 22:46

I exaggerated the importance of X.
I ennobled X.
I aggrandized X.

Are some suggestions, if you want to avoid the over- prefix.

  • ennobling sounds a bit weird to me - but to me, the others imply defective presentation of an argument. I know in order to make a decision I have to "argue" with myself, but I want something implying I was fooled [by myself], rather than I fooled [anyone, perhaps myself] Dec 31, 2012 at 0:39

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