Of mountains and molehills

A mole is a small animal digging tunnels underground and in the process piling up a small amount of soil, the molehill.

Making a mountain (or here rather a hill) out of a molehill, pic: http://www.wellho.net

Somebody who makes a mountain out of a molehill is somebody who greatly exaggerates the severity of a  situation, making problems sound bigger than they are and/or dwell on a problem after it no longer is a problem.

It is a common and commonly understood expression which traces its roots back to ancient Greece where the the following phrase was used” make an elephant out of a fly”  which means the exact same thing.  That expression in a pretty literal translation (“aus einer Muecke einen Elefanten machen”) is still used in German to express the same concept.

Here is an example:

“My colleague Jenny is very mean, the hates me and is secretly plotting to get me fired.  The other day I saw her glancing at me and then walking into the boss’ office with an evil smile.”

“Really, I think you are making a mountain out of a molehill, she probably just accidentally looked in your direction on her way to the boss’ office.


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