be·​lit·​tle | \ bi-ˈli-tᵊl How to pronounce belittle (audio) , bē- \
belittled; belittling\ bi-​ˈli-​tᵊl-​iŋ How to pronounce belittle (audio) , -​ˈlit-​liŋ , bē-​ \

Definition of belittle

transitive verb

1 : to speak slightingly of : disparage belittles her efforts
2 : to cause (a person or thing) to seem little or less a curiosity so vast that it almost belittled the main matter— Mark Twain

Other Words from belittle

belittlement \ bi-​ˈli-​tᵊl-​mənt How to pronounce belittle (audio) , bē-​ \ noun
belittler \ bi-​ˈli-​tᵊl-​ər How to pronounce belittle (audio) , -​ˈlit-​lər , bē-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for belittle

decry, depreciate, disparage, belittle mean to express a low opinion of. decry implies open condemnation with intent to discredit. decried their defeatist attitude depreciate implies a representing as being of less value than commonly believed. critics depreciate his plays for being unabashedly sentimental disparage implies depreciation by indirect means such as slighting or invidious comparison. disparaged polo as a game for the rich belittle usually suggests a contemptuous or envious attitude. belittled the achievements of others

Examples of belittle in a Sentence

The critic belittled the author's work. Her detractors are in the habit of belittling her accomplishments.
Recent Examples on the Web The point, explained Dmytrovych, isn’t to belittle the invading forces, which Ukrainians regard as formidable and horrifying. New York Times, 1 July 2022 Several creators have accused the most fervent Depp supporters of using the trial as an opportunity to belittle and invalidate women rather than support domestic abuse survivors. Morgan Sung, NBC News, 3 June 2022 Dark sets up a tug of war between Agnes’ strident independence and Polly’s deference to her self-important husband and money-hungry eldest son, who belittle her at every turn. Heller Mcalpin, The Christian Science Monitor, 4 July 2022 Then, of course, there are the toxic leaders who belittle and mistreat their workers, actively stripping away their dignity. Ron Carucci, Forbes, 30 June 2022 And while, sure there are some genuine conversations being had on the app, most videos are either purposefully cruel or an attempt to belittle and demean Heard’s testimony in order to support Depp. Katherine Singh,, 3 June 2022 This critique has often been used to belittle pop groups. New York Times, 28 Apr. 2022 It is designed to silence and belittle young people who are fighting for a liveable future. Wyatte Grantham-philips, USA TODAY, 14 Apr. 2022 Society is quick to shun, stigmatize and belittle the blue-collar street fighter. Washington Post, 29 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'belittle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of belittle

1782, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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The first known use of belittle was in 1782

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Last Updated

5 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Belittle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for belittle


be·​lit·​tle | \ bi-ˈli-tᵊl How to pronounce belittle (audio) \
belittled; belittling

Kids Definition of belittle

: to make (a person or a thing) seem small or unimportant She belittled his efforts.

More from Merriam-Webster on belittle

Nglish: Translation of belittle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of belittle for Arabic Speakers


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