Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To represent or speak of as contemptibly small or unimportant; disparage: a person who belittled our efforts to do the job right.
  • transitive v. To cause to seem less than another or little: The size of the office tower belittles the surrounding buildings. See Synonyms at decry.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To knowingly say that something is smaller or less important than it actually is.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To make little or less in a moral sense; to speak of in a depreciatory or contemptuous way.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make small or smaller; reduce in proportion or extent.
  • To cause to appear small; depreciate; lower in character or importance; speak lightly or disparagingly of.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. lessen the authority, dignity, or reputation of
  • v. cause to seem less serious; play down
  • v. express a negative opinion of

Etymologies

From be- +‎ little. Coined by Thomas Jefferson in 1782 in "Notes on the State of Virginia": "So far the Count de Buffon has carried this new theory of the tendency of nature to belittle her productions on this side the Atlantic." (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In this, great numbers of caves are hollowed out, and carvings are seen which suggest architectural forms, though on a scale so grand that architectural terms belittle them.

    Canyons of the Colorado

  • Roestorf further maintained that the commission proceedings should not be used to "belittle" any person testifying before it.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • During the campaign, Nieves frequently took to the local radio airwaves to "belittle" Bell,

    STLtoday.com Top News Headlines

  • McHenry, who has no military experience, uses the occasion to "belittle" security personnel for properly carrying out their duties in a war zone and to bolster his image by exaggerating the extent of danger he was facing.

    WN.com - Articles related to West Bengal notifies amnesty for Maoists

  • But Chris Gardner, a Washington County commissioner who attended Monday's event, said in a phone interview it would be wrong to "belittle" any permanent jobs that are created in that part of Maine.

    BangorDailyNews.com > News

  • So, if I hurt your feelings - I do apologize, but it was not my intention to 'belittle'

    Tennis-X.com :: Xtreme Tennis News

  • ANC Youth League president Julius Malema is the victim of "a sustained campaign in the media" and inaccurate media reports that "belittle" him, the ruling party said on Tuesday.

    Muti

  • So by Fiorina's claim - when McCain tries to "belittle" Obama's experience … is he being

    CNN Political Ticker

  • i often hear specialists and professors in ur field 'belittle' others openly. i hope when u're there, when u've become a specialist, u wont do the same thing insyaAllah.

    YouAreEquallyDumb

  • Allow me to just kind of belittle you for a minute then write you off because now I feel better than you. "game.

    |Wednesday, Jun. 11, 2008 + 1:33 a.m.|

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