make a federal case (out) of (something)

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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

make a federal case out of something

 and make a big deal about something
to exaggerate the seriousness of something. Come on. It was nothing! Don't make a federal case out of it. I only stepped on your toe. Don't make a big deal about it.
See also: case, federal, make, of, out

make a federal case of

Also, make a big deal of. Give undue importance to an issue, as in I'll pay you back next week-you needn't make a federal case of it, or Jack is making a big deal of filling out his passport application. The first hyperbolic expression, almost always used in a negative context, alludes to taking a legal action before a high (federal) court. The second alludes to an important business transaction (see big deal, def. 1).
See also: case, federal, make, of

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

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