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Make a federal case out of something

verb phrase

To overemphasize the importance of something; exaggerate or overreact; blow up: I merely bought a new car, so don’t try to make a Federal case out of it

[1950s+; popularized after being spoken by a judge in the 1959 movie Anatomy of a Murder]


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  • Make a fool of

    Also, make an ass or monkey out of. Cause someone or oneself to look foolish or stupid. For example, John doesn’t mind making a fool of himself at parties, or They made an ass of me by giving me the wrong instructions, or Just watch him make a monkey out of this amateur chess player. […]

  • Make a fortune

    Also, make a small fortune. Earn a great deal of money, as in He made a fortune on the stock market. Similar expressions are be worth a fortune or small fortune, as in Now that their parents have died, they’re worth a small fortune. Make a fortune dates from about 1700, and its use with […]

  • Make after

    verb 1. (intransitive, preposition) (archaic) to set off in pursuit of; chase

  • Make a fuss

    1. Cause a needless commotion or display, as in I’m sure he’ll be here soon; please don’t make a fuss. It is also often put as make a fuss about or over, as in He’s making a fuss about nothing, or If you make a fuss over the small budget items, what will it be […]

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