belittle[bē lit′'l, bi-]
- The definition of belittle means to speak about someone or something in a way to make it seem less important.
An example of belitte is a teacher who chooses to make fun of her brightest student's accomplishments.
transitive verbbe·lit·tled, be·lit·tling, be·lit·tles
- To represent or speak of as unimportant or contemptible: a person who belittled our efforts to do the job right. See Synonyms at disparage.
- To cause to seem little or smaller than something else: “Away on the very edge of the cliffs, close under the sky, were pines, belittled by distance” (Stewart Edward White).
(third-person singular simple present belittles, present participle belittling, simple past and past participle belittled)
- To knowingly say that something is smaller or less important than it actually is.
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."