make a meal of

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make a meal (out) of

  1. (idiomatic, transitive) To spend more time and energy on some task than it warrants; to make something overly complicated.
    • 1997, Alison Aprhys, Careers in Publishing and Bookselling: How to Get the Job You Want,[1] Hale & Iremonger, →ISBN, page 191:
      Some people can make a meal out of the simplest task. If you give it to a busy person, they don’t have time to muck around on the edges and worry about it — they’ll just do it.
    • a. 2004, Kate Williams, Using Information for Decision Making, Second Edition, Elsevier (2004), →ISBN, page 53:
      They both looked good – I would have been happy with either version. There was no point in making a meal of the decision, so I just picked up the one which was nearest to me on the desk and said, ‘We’ll go with this one.’
    • 2008, Julia Gregson, East of the Sun, Simon and Schuster (2009), →ISBN:
      page 131: And if he preferred Viva, fine. She wasn't going to make a meal of it or even give them the satisfaction of a scene.
      page 524: Make it quick and painless, she'd told herself, don't make a meal of it.
    • 2010 November 3, Andrew Barker, “Morning Glory (review)”, in Variety:
      Ford's character is a bit one-note, and his gravelly intonation suggests a drunken poet more than a respected newsman, yet he makes a meal of the role all the same, and his pronunciation of the word "frittata" may well be the film's high point.
  2. To eat something as a meal.
    Don't walk near the tiger: it'll make a meal of you.