be·​lit·​tle | \ bi-ˈli-tᵊl How to pronounce belittle (audio) , bē-\
belittled; belittling\ bi-​ˈli-​tᵊl-​iŋ How to pronounce belittling (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 belittlement (audio) , bē-​ \ noun
belittler \ bi-​ˈli-​tᵊl-​ər How to pronounce belittler (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 Rather than working to further destabilize Europe, Trump celebrated two of his nation’s oldest alliances, which he had previously belittled and undermined, and basked in the glow of a formal dinner with Queen Elizabeth II. Eli Stokols,, "For Trump, it’s all personal; ideology takes second place," 7 June 2019 For Monroe’s singular subjects, obsessing over true crime may have been a way to find meaning and agency in a world that belittled, ignored or misunderstood them. Jennifer Latson,, "In ‘Savage Appetites,’ cracking four cases of the true-crime obsessed," 29 Aug. 2019 When this conversation gets back to your daughter and wife, you will be belittled and blamed. Ask Amy, oregonlive, "Ask Amy: Father wants to know if he should warn future son-in-law about daughter’s behavior," 10 Sep. 2019 But the Fake News is only interested in demeaning and belittling. al, "Trump: ‘Bad people’ distorted Alabama Hurricane Dorian comments," 3 Sep. 2019 At work, his boss, Mr. Carsvile, also demeaned and belittled him. Mike Oliver |, al, "My Vinyl Countdown is all ears as it enters The Twighlight Zone," 17 Aug. 2019 Cagnina and Peterson claimed they were repeatedly humiliated and belittled in front of their colleagues at several Hooters locations in California, including Costa Mesa, downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood. Daily Pilot, "Biz News: Man who sued Hooters alleging sexual harassment reaches settlement," 13 Aug. 2019 On Saturday, Nail sent de la Torre an email claiming that people involved with the university had been telling him that the president had belittled his service as dean. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Former dean accuses SDSU president of promoting ‘political litmus test’ for top jobs," 12 Aug. 2019 This is paired with Rockaway’s sobering depictions of sexism in tech – the way her co-workers not only harass Mel but also belittle and discredit her abilities purely because of her gender is infuriating, and sadly, all too relatable. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Hot Stuff: July romances offer 'knotty' self-discovery," 30 July 2019

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

24 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for belittle

The first known use of belittle was in 1782

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More Definitions for belittle


How to pronounce belittle (audio)

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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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).


to spread as a report or rumor

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