Belittle



to regard or portray as less impressive or important than appearances indicate; depreciate; disparage.
Contemporary Examples

I ask Cupp if she thinks news editors start their meetings by asking, “How can we belittle Christianity today?”
The Right’s Favorite Atheist Benyamin Cohen June 12, 2010

Hand it off to a hen-pecked husband or a put-upon assistant and it can demean or belittle.
The Language of Margaret Thatcher’s Handbags Robin Givhan April 7, 2013

To belittle her as a thumper/clinger is to diminish many hardworking folks in the heart of the nation.
Sarah Palin’s Calling the Shots for the 2012 GOP Field Mark McKinnon May 26, 2011

None of this should belittle the impact that super PACs will make in November.
Is Super PACs’ Influence on the 2012 Presidential Election Overhyped? Ben Jacobs February 15, 2012

The Fox News host seemed to belittle Laura Ingraham during an on-air clash about same-sex marriage.
Bill O’Reilly’s Macho Moment in On-Air Confrontation With Laura Ingraham Lauren Ashburn April 4, 2013

Historical Examples

How do we belittle the works of our Fathers when we talk as though they wrought for their contemporaries only!
They Who Knock at Our Gates Mary Antin

Now, far be it from us to belittle the splendor of this scientific vision.
Understanding the Scriptures Francis McConnell

Anyway, he died for his country and let no one belittle his memory.
The Strange Story of Harper’s Ferry Joseph Barry

Why, words would only belittle this part of our “performance.”
Adventures and Recollections Bill o’th’ Hoylus End

Nevertheless, these misstatements of Greaves were used by critics all over the world to belittle Whistler.
The Life of James McNeill Whistler Elizabeth Robins Pennell

verb (transitive)
to consider or speak of (something) as less valuable or important than it really is; disparage
to cause to make small; dwarf
v.

1781, “to make small,” from be- + little (v.); first recorded in writings of Thomas Jefferson (and probably coined by him), who was roundly execrated for it in England:

Belittle! What an expression! It may be an elegant one in Virginia, and even perfectly intelligible; but for our part, all we can do is to guess at its meaning. For shame, Mr. Jefferson! [“European Magazine and London Review,” 1787, reporting on “Notes on the State of Virginia”; to guess was considered another barbarous Yankeeism.]

Jefferson used it to characterize Buffon’s view that American life was stunted by nature, which he was refuting. The figurative sense of “depreciate, scorn as worthless” (as the reviewers did to this word) is from 1797. Related: Belittled; belittling.

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  • Belong

    to be in the relation of a member, adherent, inhabitant, etc. (usually followed by to): He belongs to the Knights of Columbus. to have the proper qualifications, especially social qualifications, to be a member of a group: You don’t belong in this club. to be proper or due; be properly or appropriately placed, situated, etc.: […]

  • Belonging

    something that belongs. belongings, possessions; goods; personal effects. to be in the relation of a member, adherent, inhabitant, etc. (usually followed by to): He belongs to the Knights of Columbus. to have the proper qualifications, especially social qualifications, to be a member of a group: You don’t belong in this club. to be proper or […]



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    the quality or state of being an essential or important part of something: The company has developed social programs to give employees a sense of belongingness.

  • Belote

    a card game for two players, using 32 cards and following the same basic rules as klabberjass, popular in France.



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