make a meal of/out of something

make a meal of something

 
1. to eat something. The cat made a meal of the fish. They made a meal of the roast beef and enjoyed it very much.
2. to eat enough of something to consider it or have it as a full meal. I really don't want to make a meal of lettuce alone. Can we make a meal of this turkey, or should we save some for sandwiches?
See also: make, meal, of

make a meal of something

or

make a meal out of something

mainly BRITISH
If someone makes a meal of something or makes a meal out of it, they spend too much time or energy on it. He's only been asked to write a brief essay but he's making such a meal of it. Only spend an hour or so on the task — don't make a meal out of it.
See also: make, meal, of, something

make a meal of

treat a task or occurrence with more attention or care than necessary, especially for effect. British informal
1961 Colin Willock Death in Covert Dyson… was making a meal of everything. He had carefully paced the distance…He had stuck sticks in the ground.
See also: make, meal, of

make a ˈmeal of/out of something

(informal) do something with more effort and care than it really needs; treat something as more serious than it really is: Just write her a short note — don’t make a meal of it.It’s only a small mistake. There’s no need to make such a meal out of it, is there? OPPOSITE: make nothing of something (1)
See also: make, meal, of, out, something
References in classic literature ?
She knocked a third time, three regular strokes, gentle, but perfectly distinct, and with meaning in them; for, modulate it with what cautious art we will, the hand cannot help playing some tune of what we feel upon the senseless wood.
And she treats you with a sort of respect, too, and says, 'Monsieur' and modulates her tone in addressing you, actually, as if you were something superior
There being no teeth to modulate the voice, it had a mumbled fierceness, not passionate, but stern, which absolutely made me quiver like calf's-foot jelly.
She could not modulate out the key of self-abasement in which she had started.
Why should not the symmetry and truth that modulate these, glide into our spirits, and we participate the invention of nature?
So Gabriel waited until the boy came up, and then dodged him into a corner, and rapped him over the head with his lantern five or six times, just to teach him to modulate his voice.