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 Profit off the pandemic, belittle those striving for racial equality, and emerge the victim. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Oligarch of the Month: Kelly Loeffler," 20 Nov. 2020 Trump’s effort to deny and belittle the COVID-19 pandemic is hurting him in key Midwestern states as the campaign closes, Chris Megerian reported. David Lauter Washington Bureau Chief, Los Angeles Times, "Essential Politics: How to watch election night like a pro," 30 Oct. 2020 The former vice president has mainly ignored the allegations so far except to belittle journalists who bring it up. Philip Wegmann - Rcp Staff, al, "COVID, Hunter Biden likely to dominate final 2020 presidential debate," 22 Oct. 2020 The Trump camp has used Biden's platform to belittle him as a liberal puppet, an extension of its attacks on the two-time aneurysm survivor's age and mental acuity. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Biden steadies himself for historic shot at the presidency," 20 Oct. 2020 Many conservationists belittle or ignore local people’s ideologies and needs in conservation decisions. Helen Santoro, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Humans Benefit From a Highway of Trails Created by African Forest Elephants," 15 Oct. 2020 Don’t belittle someone who is at least trying to make the world better. Ann Killion,, "Underestimate this social justice movement in sports at your own peril," 29 Aug. 2020 While many see the interaction as just another instance of DeGeneres attempting to belittle her guest — and Twitter has the receipts — Vergara was not at all offended by the conversation. Ineye Komonibo,, "Sofia Vegara Defends Ellen DeGeneres After Resurfaced Videos Go Viral," 24 Aug. 2020 But the rift between Herschel and Ben drives the rest of the comedy, for better or worse, as the time traveler sets out on his own, determined to strike it rich as a pickle maker and belittle his doubting great-grandson. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'An American Pickle': Film Review," 3 Aug. 2020

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

2 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Belittle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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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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