This often happens in sports but in everyday life as well.

Say, in a football match, player A accidentally makes player B of the opposite team fall lightly. That is a very small fault but B screams like crazy as if he hurts a lot. But actually, he is faking his hurt with a purpose of letting the referee book player A a red card or send A out.

In everyday life, you rush and by accident bump into a man, which causes a very small scratch on his leg. He then starts to scream loudly and asks you to pay a lot of money to him for that very small incident.

In everyday English, how to express the action that a person forces you compensate a lot for your very small bad effect on him?

Maybe, the man is tricking me into his exaggerated schema.

  • 1
    For money, you have to go to court. You would have to sue the person. No person can "force you to compensate them". Only courts can order you to pay someone. But a court might consider that to be a "frivolous suit".
    – Lambie
    Commented Sep 7, 2020 at 17:25
  • 1
    "embellishment" I believe is the official football term for exaggerating or faking an injury to get the referee to penalize the other player.
    – gotube
    Commented Jul 13, 2021 at 15:05
  • 1
    We always refer to that as “world-cupping it”, for example, “That kid is totally world-cupping it, she barely touched him.”. not sure how common it is among other people though. Soccer (football) fans should understand it.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jul 13, 2021 at 17:17

1 Answer 1


The common idiom “making a mountain out of a molehill” comes to mind.

However, I think the best phrase here would be to say that the person is “milking it”. A longhand version of which is “milking it for all they/he/she can get”, or “milking it for all that it’s worth”.

This is quite a generic phrase, and can also be used, for example, to say that a person is “milking” praise or recognition. Essentially it refers to one who is blatantly using a situation or event to further their own gain, perhaps especially when it is frowned upon or viewed as selfish, or even, as in your examples, morally wrong/unfair.

“Milking it”, of course, is derived from the way we milk animals, and succeeds in implying that there is some force/effort going into it.


Following @FumbleFingers’ comment, I’ve decided to add a few more phrases (these are idiomatic in the UK only, as far as I’m aware).

This one’s a little profane, but if you gave someone a trivial injury and they started demanding compensation, you might say they are “taking the piss” (which in this context would mean that they are exploiting you, taking advantage of you, and perhaps also ridiculing you [“making fun of” and “taking the piss out of” are synonymous UK idioms]), or for a less profane version, you might say they are “having a laugh” (implying that it’s so ridiculous that they must be joking).

  • 1
    Don't milk it! is good for complaining when someone appears to be demanding excessive compensation for some minor inconvenience, for example. Also cash in on, exploit, bleed/suck dry, fleece, and rinse, but at least some of those are more specifically relevant to the context of a cowboy tradesman overcharging customers (as opposed to someone who expects you to buy him a brand new car because you scratched the paint on his old banger! :) Commented Sep 7, 2020 at 17:25
  • Neymar is a well-known footballer and he did exactly what I described and I found this paper "Mexico coach rips ‘clown’ Neymar for milking injury". nypost.com/2018/07/02/…
    – Tom
    Commented Sep 7, 2020 at 23:16
  • In Canadian hockey, this is frowned upon. It still happens but depending on the referee you can actually wind up with a penalty for exaggerating the injury. Lets say Player A skates by Player B, and his stick happened to lightly touch his leg. Player A purposely falls and acts like he was tripped in order to draw a penalty. We would say "Player A 'took a dive'. I have heard this also apply to soccer and boxing. Boxer is asked to take a dive in the 3rd round to throw a fight. 'Taking a dive' I have only hear referred to in sports.
    – Forward Ed
    Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 1:31
  • Milking it is separate from taking a dive, but can be used in conjunction with it. Player A took a dive, and now he is milking it for all he is worth to draw the penalty. In this case, we see that Player A faked what ever lead to the incident and by milk it the situation, he is exaggerating the fall out of the situation.
    – Forward Ed
    Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 1:34
  • "blowing something out of proportion" fits
    – gotube
    Commented Jul 13, 2021 at 15:07

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .