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

Law clerks and externs from numerous federal courts shared with us that they had felt demeaned, belittled, or humiliated during their clerkships or externships. Joan Biskupic, CNN, "Senate Judiciary Committee takes up #MeToo in the courts," 13 June 2018 Nobody tried to belittle a rival with an insulting nickname. Michael Dresser,, "Democratic candidates for Maryland governor struggle to break away from pack at GBC forum," 27 Apr. 2018 Or risk more lives being taken away in shooting after shooting while Republicans continue to belittle us with thoughts and prayers., "The Capital Gazette Shooting Is A Tragic Reminder: Take Abuse Of Women Seriously.," 29 June 2018 After he was elected, Trump voiced similar, if not as robust, sentiment and denounced judges who ruled against the travel ban, belittling them on social media and questioning their legitimacy. Joan Biskupic, CNN, "In travel ban test, Supreme Court may not hold Trump's words against him," 26 Apr. 2018 Her 2005 split from now-ex-husband Brad Pitt inspired a veritable lifetime of demeaning and belittling headlines that constantly paint her as the heartbroken victim in a classic love triangle (with Pitt and Angelina Jolie). Kathryn Lindsay,, "Why Be Engaged When You Can Be An Ex?," 13 July 2018 One staff member showed up to work drunk, while others belittled children. Allie Morris, San Antonio Express-News, "Texas has found 150 health violations at migrant children shelters," 8 June 2018 These and other belittling statements by Punk probably led some of the podcast’s listeners to question Amann’s skills and medical judgment. Michael Mccann,, "What Were the Key Factors Behind CM Punk Winning His Defamation Trial?," 5 June 2018 Coaches who berate and belittle teenage athletes should not expect to last long. Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star, "Coaches on hot seat: Youth sports, social media, parents have changed the job," 2 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

12 Sep 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

What made you want to look up belittle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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