be·​lit·​tle | \bi-ˈli-tᵊl, bē-\
belittled; belittling\bi-​ˈli-​tᵊl-​iŋ, -​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

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Other Words from belittle

belittlement \bi-​ˈli-​tᵊl-​mənt, bē-​ \ noun
belittler \bi-​ˈli-​tᵊl-​ər, -​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 unidentified woman told Selvaratnam that Schneiderman had slapped, choked and spat at her and also belittled her appearance. Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, "Eric Schneiderman, powerful Dem who took on Weinstein, is accused of violence against women, drug abuse in shocking report," 2 Oct. 2018 The Power begins in a world in which women are subjugated, in which they are raped and ignored and belittled and live their lives in fear. Constance Grady, Vox, "How 3 feminist dystopias are trying to update The Handmaid’s Tale for today," 29 Aug. 2018 Many students see free speech as less sacrosanct than an individual’s right not to feel attacked or belittled. Mark Sappenfield, The Christian Science Monitor, "A different definition of violence," 8 Apr. 2018 For months now, President Trump had been humiliating his top law enforcement official, belittling him in public and yelling at him in private, in a clear attempt to force his resignation. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "We aren’t alarmed enough about Jeff Sessions’s firing," 8 Nov. 2018 Yet people have found an opportunity to belittle, as opposed to understanding how painful those kinds of recollections are. Olivia Fleming, Harper's BAZAAR, "Ana Maria Archila and Maria Gallagher Open Up About Confronting Jeff Flake in the Elevator," 29 Oct. 2018 The woman alleged in subsequent testimony that Greitens had restrained, slapped, shoved and belittled her. Washington Post, "Missouri governor quits in scandal, signs ‘revenge porn’ law," 2 June 2018 Many on both the right and left are either mocking or belittling his legacy (or his prospects over the next nine months). The Christian Science Monitor, "Did Paul Ryan leave them rolling in the aisles?," 12 Apr. 2018 In other cases, the state noted staff belittled children or left them without supervision. Allie Morris, San Antonio Express-News, "Texas has found 150 health violations at migrant children shelters," 8 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of belittle

1782, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Statistics for belittle

Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for belittle

The first known use of belittle was in 1782

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More Definitions for belittle



English Language Learners Definition of belittle

: to describe (someone or something) as little or unimportant


be·​lit·​tle | \bi-ˈli-tᵊl \
belittled; belittling

Kids Definition of belittle

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on belittle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for belittle

Spanish Central: Translation of belittle

Nglish: Translation of belittle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of belittle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on belittle

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living or existing for a long time

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