What does the idiom "make a mountain out of a molehill" mean?
make a mountain out of a molehill is an idiom used by many writers. When idioms are used in the right place, they open the doors of effective communication and increase your descriptive power. In this way, you will be better understood. The meaning of the expression make a mountain out of a molehill is also remarkable in this respect.
Meaning of "make a mountain out of a molehill"
The phrase “make a mountain out of a molehill” is used to describe someone who is creating an issue out of something that does not need to be a big deal. It is suggesting that the speaker is exaggerating a situation and making something smaller appear to be much larger or more serious than it actually is. In this phrase, the molehill is meant to represent a small problem that gets wildly over-exaggerated, while the mountain is meant to symbolize a much larger or more serious problem.
This phrase has been in use in some form since the 1500s. It first appeared without the molehill aspect and simply read "make a mountain". In the 1600s, it was then further extended to "make a mountain out of a mole-hill", and it has been used in this form ever since. It is thought to be derived from the Latin phrase, “montem ex mus monticulum facere”, which means to exaggerate matters and draw attention to small issues.
This phrase is used in both a literal and figurative sense. It is mostly used to talk about everyday situations and issues, often when someone is over-exaggerating their problems or situations. For example, if two friends are talking about exams, one of them might use this phrase to describe the other's reaction to the exams, saying that they are “making a mountain out of a molehill” and over-exaggerating their issues.
It can also sometimes be used in a positive way, to emphasize the importance of something that might have initially appeared to be insignificant. For example, if someone is highlighting the importance of taking small steps to solve larger problems, they might use this phrase to describe their advice.
- I know you're worried about your test, but you don't need to make a mountain out of a molehill.
- We should try to make a mountain out of a molehill and start taking small steps to make a difference.
- My mom always makes a mountain out of a molehill and it's so annoying!
Beyond the Literal: Figurative Language in Idioms
Idioms often use figurative language to convey a message that is not meant to be taken literally. For instance, the idiom "bite the bullet" means to endure a painful or difficult situation without complaint, while "hold your horses" means to be patient and wait. Other idioms, like "kick the bucket" or "pop your clogs," use euphemisms to talk about death.