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lay it on thick

To exaggerate, overembellish, 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 thick for her. Bob, I think Mary understands the trouble she's in, no need to lay it on so thick.
See also: lay, on, thick

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.
See also: lay, on, trowel
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

lay it on thick

 and 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.
See also: lay, on, thick
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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 also: lay, on, thick

trowel

see under lay it on thick.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

lay it on thick

INFORMAL
If you lay it on thick, you try to make something seem more important than it really is when you talk or write about it. Gerhardt explained the position to the Press Officer, laying it on thick about Adrian Winter's importance. Ask someone to tell him how good you are at your job. Get them to lay it on thick. Compare with lay it on with a trowel.
See also: lay, on, thick

lay it on with a trowel

BRITISH
If you lay it on with a trowel, you try to make something seem more important than it really is, especially in order to get the reaction you want. You have to make up your mind about whether Carmen's telling the truth or laying it on with a trowel. Note: You can also say that someone lays on a particular thing with a trowel if they emphasize it. He followed my advice and laid on the flattery with a trowel. Compare with lay it on thick.
See also: lay, on, trowel
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

lay it on ˈthick/with a ˈtrowel

(also pile it on ˈthick, pile it ˈon) say that something is much better or much worse than it really is because you want to impress or annoy somebody: He said that she was his favourite author and that she deserved the Nobel Prize for literature. He really laid it on with a trowel.My father really piled it on, shouting at me for ages about my exam results.
See also: lay, on, thick, trowel
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

lay it on thick

Informal
To exaggerate or overstate something.
See also: lay, on, thick
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Upon troweling, the agent imparts an optimally thin paste, ready for smooth float or broom brush.
Because the excess mortar at the surface tends to cause additional surface shrinkage, delayed floating and troweling operations are required for proper compaction.
Possible Cause: Premature floating and troweling. Premature floating, in particular, mixes excess surface water with the surface fines, thereby weakening the strength of the cement paste.
Possible Cause: Condensation of the surface before floating and troweling operations have been completed.
Floating and troweling of this excess water into the surface will cause dusting.
While condensation is still present, floating and troweling operations should be held to a minimum and the surface should not be given a second troweling.
The troweling aid's additional cementitious material strengthens the surface.
A ready mixed producer and early Day1 adopter, Scott's Concrete has incorporated the troweling aid as a value-added product, loading 5-gal.
Pre-show and Gold Lot testing served as the first steps toward developing performance measurements and standards for concrete slab troweling aids.
Test methods for measuring troweling aid performance will enable contractors to select effective materials that will not compromise the concrete.