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

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: Adjective The boundaries revolve around disrespectful or belittling speech. Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, 28 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 While in the embassy role, my manager was rude, belittling and exclusionary. Roxane Gay, New York Times, 11 Feb. 2022 The allegations were alarming: a former Boston College student accused of encouraging her boyfriend to kill himself by tormenting him with belittling and demeaning text messages. Globe Staff,, 14 Nov. 2021 Robinson also called Winder Newton belittling nicknames in the email. Leia Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, 23 Apr. 2021 But his belittling of the couple drew a live-on-air clapback from TV host Trisha Goddard, who is Black. Los Angeles Times, 8 Mar. 2021 Key to his monologue was a constant belittling of mainstream media outlets, even as his power grew greater than many of them. Matt Sedensky, Star Tribune, 17 Feb. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of belittling


1793, in the meaning defined above


1837, in the meaning defined above

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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 10 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on belittling

Nglish: Translation of belittling for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of belittling for Arabic Speakers


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