make a federal case out of something

make a federal case (out) of (something)

To exaggerate or build up the importance of something; to make a big deal out of something. The phrase is often used to complain that someone is exaggerating a problem or alleged wrongdoing. So I ate your leftovers. Geez, don't make a federal case out of it! I'm not trying to make a federal case out of it, but I know you stole my new sweater!
See also: case, federal, make, of
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

make a federal case out of something

AMERICAN
If someone makes a federal case out of something, they treat it as if it is much worse or more serious than it really is. Note: In the first two expressions, a case is a matter that is being dealt with by a lawyer or doctor, rather than referring to a box or suitcase. I am not trying to make a federal case out of it, but with minor changes, you could achieve so much more.
See also: case, federal, make, of, out, something
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

make a federal case out of something

tv. to exaggerate the importance of an error; to overdo something. Do you have to make a federal case out of everything?
See also: case, federal, make, of, out, something
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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