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Related to trowel: spade, shovel
lay it on with a trowel
To exaggerate, aggrandize, or overstate some emotional experience, response, or appeal, such as blame, praise, flattery, excuses, etc. Jim carries on as though flattering the boss will get him a promotion, so he's always laying it on with a trowel for her. OK, Bob, I think Mary understands the trouble she's in, no need to lay it on with a trowel.
lay it on thickand lay it on with a trowel; pour it on thick; spread it on thick
Fig. to exaggerate or over-state praise, excuses, or blame. Sally was laying it on thick when she said that Tom was the best singer she had ever heard. After Bob finished making his excuses, Sally said that he was pouring it on thick. Bob always spreads it on thick.
lay it on thick(informal) also lay it on with a trowel (informal)
to make an emotion or experience seem more important or serious than it really is He'd injured his hand slightly but he was laying it on a bit thick about how painful it was. They must have told us ten times how wonderful their daughter was - they were really laying it on with a trowel.
lay it on thick
Also, lay it on with a trowel. Exaggerate, overstate; also, flatter effusively. For example, Jane laid it on thick when she said this was the greatest book she'd ever read, or Tom thought he'd get the senator to waive the speaker's fee if he just laid it on with a trowel . This idiom alludes to applying a thick coat of paint or plaster. [c. 1600]
see under lay it on thick.
lay it on thickInformal
To exaggerate or overstate something.