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be·​lit·​tling bi-ˈli-tᵊl-iŋ How to pronounce belittling (audio)
: expressing disparagement : disparaging, depreciatory
a set of belittling stereotypes
"I think it might embarrass Stuart to hear mice mentioned in such a belittling manner."E. B. White
Nisbett's attitude is far from belittling toward Eastern cultures.Christopher Shea
There was … a certain loftiness and sweetness that rebuked your belittling criticisms and stilled them.Mark Twain
belittlingly adverb
… she is secretly carrying on a love affair with her mousy first cousin, belittlingly known to the family as Little Charles … Charles Isherwood


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: a disparaging statement
Bernheim's fiercely focused, cantankerous Frieda … practically steals the show with her nonstop maternal belittlingsRobert Hurwitt
: disparagement, deprecation
His constant belittling of her work led Joan to believe that she was incompetent …Sharon Freedburg

Examples of belittling in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Yet, since sometime before July 23, 2022, an anonymous user has been steadily updating IMDb’s trivia section on Corsage with hostile and belittling comments presented under the guise of background information. Miles Klee, Rolling Stone, 14 Jan. 2023 The boundaries revolve around disrespectful or belittling speech. Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, 28 Sep. 2020
Reddit Reddit's hasty implementation of API fees and its belittling of protests (both internally, reportedly, and to the press) and complaints are frequently cited by mods Ars has spoken to as elevating the protests beyond a debate on what the formerly free API should cost. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 20 July 2023 The berating and belittling of rank-and-file employees and the network’s reliance on music videos glorifying drugs, violence, and misogynoir. Ruth Umoh, Fortune, 20 Sep. 2023 Screaming, berating and belittling were an accepted part of the package. Paul Newberry, Chicago Tribune, 17 July 2023 Tucker Carlson's belittling of a reporter for The New York Times this week for publicly discussing how she had been harassed reveals both a toxic online culture and bad blood between the newspaper and Fox News Channel and its most popular personality. David Bauder, ajc, 11 Mar. 2021 The larger theme, though, was a culture of belittling players. Theo MacKie, The Arizona Republic, 18 Aug. 2022 Oftentimes, a belittling list of these kinds of real-time human-focused downsides is left on its own accord and leaves a lingering impression that the AI must somehow be leaps and bounds a much wiser choice than having a human-in-the-loop. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 25 July 2022 Kwon, who developed a reputation for belittling and attacking critics of his project, has now been likened to Elizabeth Holmes, found guilty of fraud for her Theranos deception. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 13 May 2022 But despite that -- and Trump's belittling of his father, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush -- George P. has sought Trump's blessing in previous contests. Zachary B. Wolf, CNN, 14 Feb. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'belittling.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1793, in the meaning defined above


1837, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of belittling was in 1793

Dictionary Entries Near belittling

Cite this Entry

“Belittling.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

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