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

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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 Each time, the user would belittle R.J., calling him pathetic and a loser. New York Times, "She Gets Paid Just to Humiliate Her Fans," 10 Apr. 2021 Seeing public figures question and belittle a person who speaks out about facing these issues and trying to seek help can reinforce an already pervasive and damaging stigma. Elizabeth Gulino,, "Meghan Markle Spoke Honestly About Suicidal Ideation. So, Why Is She Being Accused Of Lying?," 8 Mar. 2021 Don’t belittle or beat up on people who don’t want to wear a mask. Dallas News, "Texas lets residents unmask, but many are keeping covered as orders meant to slow virus end," 10 Mar. 2021 It’s this darker side of sports that turns it into a breeding ground for hazing, initiation rituals that older players use to belittle and humiliate junior teammates. Emma Brown, Washington Post, "We can’t solve the problem of violence against girls and women without also addressing violence against men and boys.," 22 Feb. 2021 Frazier was a relentless puncher filled with rage toward a fighter who couldn’t help but belittle him. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Ali, Frazier and the Fight of the Century 50 years later," 8 Mar. 2021 Frazier was a relentless puncher filled with rage toward a fighter who couldn’t help but belittle him., "Ali, Frazier and the Fight of the Century 50 years later," 8 Mar. 2021 There are plenty of other children's book options to choose from that will help show kids how to embrace diversity instead of belittle it. Paulina Jayne Isaac, Glamour, "Six Dr. Seuss Books Will No Longer Be Published Due to Racist Imagery," 2 Mar. 2021 It’s been used to elevate one man’s patriotism over another’s, to declare some parts of the country more authentically American than others, to belittle some people’s hurt while carefully nursing others through their pain. Washington Post, "Democracy survived, barely," 20 Jan. 2021

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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Time Traveler for belittle

Time Traveler

The first known use of belittle was in 1782

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Statistics for belittle

Last Updated

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Belittle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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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 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.

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