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: Adjective The boundaries revolve around disrespectful or belittling speech. Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, "Dear Abby: Husband has little room in his life for anything but himself," 28 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Robinson also called Winder Newton belittling nicknames in the email. Leia Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Former Salt Lake County GOP boss Scott Miller ‘recants’ his apology, says he’s being ‘Kavanaughed’," 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, "Like a ‘hand grenade’: In Britain, Harry and Meghan’s incendiary interview draws praise, fury," 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, "Rush Limbaugh, radio king and architect of right wing, dies," 17 Feb. 2021 Marylynn is sitting next to Jessenia for this belittling conversation. Ariana Romero,, "This Season’s Bachelor Villain Is White Woman Tears," 12 Jan. 2021 That led to me snapping at others and making comments that came off as belittling. Emma Cardarelli, Bon Appétit, "I Couldn’t Change Kitchen Culture as a Line Cook, So I Opened a Restaurant of My Own," 16 Oct. 2020 But the belittling and denouncing coming their way isn’t working. Ann Killion,, "Underestimate this social justice movement in sports at your own peril," 29 Aug. 2020 Khawam said that after Fernandes reported in May that he had been inappropriately touched by a male superior, he was transferred to another unit, and word spread within the new unit, leading to harassment, belittling, bullying and hazing. Cody Shepard, USA TODAY, "Fort Hood Sgt. Elder Fernandes 'humiliated' after reporting sexual abuse, says family's lawyer," 27 Aug. 2020 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

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 16 May. 2021.

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