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

The birth of the Premier League in 1992 has led to all previous title victories and domestic successes being disregarded and belittled - just ask 18-time league winners Liverpool., "Alfredo Di Stefano: Ode to the Man Who Surpassed All Records," 7 July 2019 This includes ads featuring people being belittled for defying outdated norms, such as a man discussing his emotions. The Economist, "British regulators seek to halt sexist ads," 14 June 2019 Channel9Apologize for your disgusting racist jokes/remarks, blatant misrepresentation of BTS & belittling of their entire careers. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "The BTS Army is Not Happy After an Australian News Station Aired an Offensive Segment About the Group," 21 June 2019 In December, a federal jury awarded $475,000 in damages to a female process operator at a Shell refinery in California who alleged she was taunted, belittled and told repeatedly that women didn't belong there. Alexia Elejalde-ruiz,, "Lawsuits allege lewd photos, insulting graffiti and sexist comments made ExxonMobil’s Joliet Refinery an inhospitable workplace for women," 21 June 2019 For those of us who fit the pickle-fanatic stereotype, though, there is salvation in the form of Jacob’s Pickles, an Upper West Side establishment that doesn’t belittle our beloved ingredient and instead gives it top billing. Samantha Allen, Condé Nast Traveler, "New York City's Unofficial Gathering Spot for Pickle Lovers," 10 June 2019 NBC News reported that Kelly has often belittled female staffers, claiming women are more emotional than men (which is unsurprising given his thoughts on women in the military). Caitlin Wolper, Teen Vogue, "Chief of Staff John Kelly Reportedly Called President Trump an Idiot, Said Women Are More Emotional," 1 May 2018 The chances of that happening, however, are near zero, not least because his would-be country claims territory, like the border town of Brcko, that does not belong to it and has a habit of belittling Bosnian Muslims as fanatics. Andrew Higgins, New York Times, "Russia’s Feared ‘Night Wolves’ Bike Gang Came to Bosnia. Bosnia Giggled.," 31 Mar. 2018 Their rebellion was against progressive snobs who belittled conservatives and their traditional values. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, "Brazil’s Trumpian Candidate," 30 Sep. 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

18 Jul 2019

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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 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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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).


to form ideas or theories about something

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