be·​lit·​tling | \ bi-ˈli-tᵊl-iŋ How to pronounce belittling (audio) , -ˈlit-liŋ, bē- \

Definition of belittling

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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



Definition of belittling (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Other Words from belittling


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

Examples of belittling in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Does it herald the death, or at least the belittling, of creativity and meaning in fashion? Vogue, "The Top 12 Collections of the Fall 2019 Menswear Season," 23 Jan. 2019 Trump belittling #MeToo (while vilifying a female senator) will likely only add to the criticism his administration has received over its decision to bring on former Fox News executive Bill Shine as the communications director for the White House. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Trump mocks Elizabeth Warren’s heritage with talk of offering her a DNA test," 6 July 2018 The White House’s use of a national security argument to justify the duties against a close ally, along with President Trump’s repeated belittling of both Mr. Trudeau and his trade policies, has offended and angered Canadians. Ian Austen, New York Times, "Trade War and Canadian Pride Mix in Retaliatory Tariffs Against U.S.," 30 June 2018 Not surprisingly, Bateman’s comments were met with a firestorm for being insensitive and belittling of Walter’s experience. Don Reisinger, Fortune, "Jason Bateman Apologizes for Being 'Insensitive' to Co-Star Jessica Walter in 'Arrested Development' Interview," 24 May 2018 Part of the students’ motivation to produce MSD Strong was to combat the overwhelming misrepresentation and belittling of student activists. Malavika Kannan, Teen Vogue, "We’re Teen Journalists, and We’re Fighting Gun Violence," 20 Apr. 2018 The president has, for months, attacked Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has so far survived the public belittling. Josh Dawsey, Washington Post, "‘He knows he is done’: Veterans Affairs chief lays low amid rumors he’ll be ousted," 27 Mar. 2018 Djou lamented Trump’s desire to launch a trade war, his treatment of veterans like Sen. John McCain, his belittling of lawmakers and his recitation of conspiracy theories. Washington Post, "Former congressman from Hawaii quits GOP, citing Trump," 19 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'belittling.' 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 belittling


1793, in the meaning defined above


1837, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for belittling

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The first known use of belittling was in 1793

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Cite this Entry

“Belittling.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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