belittle

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • v belittle lessen the authority, dignity, or reputation of "don't belittle your colleagues"
    • v belittle express a negative opinion of "She disparaged her student's efforts"
    • v belittle cause to seem less serious; play down "Don't belittle his influence"
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The genre of art known as Cubism derived its name from a belittling remark made by Matisse in reference to a Graque painting. Matisse said that the landscape looked as though it were wholly made up of little cubes.
    • v. t Belittle To make little or less in a moral sense; to speak of in a depreciatory or contemptuous way.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • belittle To make small or smaller; reduce in proportion or extent.
    • belittle To cause to appear small; depreciate; lower in character or importance; speak lightly or disparagingly of.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • v.t Belittle be-lit′l to make small: to cause to appear small, to depreciate or disparage
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Quotations

  • Mark Twain
    Mark%20Twain
    “Keep away from small people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
  • John F. Kennedy
    John%20F.%20Kennedy
    “For without belittling the courage with which men have died, we should not forget those acts of courage with which men have lived.”
  • Christian Nevell Bovee
    Christian%20Nevell%20Bovee
    “Imitation belittles.”
  • Edna Ferber
    Edna Ferber
    “I am not belittling the brave pioneer men but the sunbonnet as well as the sombrero has helped to settle this glorious land of ours.”
  • Owen Felltham
    Owen Felltham
    “There is no belittling worse than to over praise a man.”
  • Milan Kundera
    Milan%20Kundera
    “No great movement designed to change the world can bear to be laughed at or belittled. Mockery is a rust that corrodes all it touches.”

Etymology

Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Pfx. be-, and Little.

Usage

In literature:

Then the yell that rose belittled all which had gone before.
"Dorothy on a Ranch" by Evelyn Raymond
He was extremely pale; even his lips, still stiff and twisted to what he thought was a belittling smile, were white.
"No Clue" by James Hay
He never wasted time in seeking the injury of any who ridiculed and belittled him.
"True to His Home" by Hezekiah Butterworth
It's a low-down trick the governor played to put me in this helplessly belittled position with you.
"The Making of Bobby Burnit" by George Randolph Chester
On the other hand, so-called Psychic Science misapprehends, belittles, and sophisticates the Human Will, the prime Motor Power of Man.
"The New Avatar and The Destiny of the Soul" by Jirah D. Buck
The grotesque name of Thomasina Tucker belittles your exquisite art.
"Ladies-In-Waiting" by Kate Douglas Wiggin
He belittled his own abilities, and imagined that things which were difficult for him came easily to other people.
"Frank H. Nelson of Cincinnati" by Warren C. Herrick
Febrer felt belittled by the solitude.
"The Dead Command" by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez
But, afterwards, one finds excuse and seeks to belittle the personality and attainment of the person one feared.
"The Wonder" by J. D. Beresford
No, my intention is not to belittle your renown.
"The Glow-Worm and Other Beetles" by Jean Henri Fabre
But the expression just used must not be taken as belittling.
"A History of the French Novel, Vol. 2" by George Saintsbury
Elizabeth nodded; but she could not allow the ministry to be belittled.
"'Lizbeth of the Dale" by Marian Keith
The riches of the world could not purchase a devotion as precious, or any fine philosophy belittle it.
"Aladdin of London" by Sir Max Pemberton
It was their back-parlour misinterpretation and belittlement of Nature that made these modern Philistines worship her.
"Too Old for Dolls" by Anthony Mario Ludovici
And why did she belittle it?
"Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 147, October 28, 1914" by Various
Swan, then, had availed himself of Lone's belittlement of him and was living down to it.
"Sawtooth Ranch" by B. M. Bower
He was a man whose profession, where the mind was warped, belittled life.
"A Man to His Mate" by J. Allan Dunn
But these things he belittled.
"Rimrock Trail" by J. Allan Dunn
The victories of Japan in the course of the war were sneered at and at first belittled.
"The Empire of the East" by H. B. Montgomery
He was modest and always belittled his own deeds.
"Friars and Filipinos" by Jose Rizal
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In poetry:

This power’s your leading star,
It has your God and nature’s law,
And before it, it’s pale and far –
The Art, belittling things’ great role.
"To the Poet" by Innokentii Fedorovich Annensky
To enrich thee with every gift
That His fatherly thought can plan:
Front belittling sins to lift
Thee up to the angel swift,
And the stature of a man!
"Saved" by Lucy Larcom
—Imperfect mirror, faulty glass,
Who let the pure white rays to pass
But twist the coloured beams awry,
Belittle all the good we see,
And ill, since of our own degree,
Absorb, to magnify?
"Celestial Heights" by Alfred Austin

In news:

What idiocy of people dependent on teleprompters to belittle Luke Bryan for having some words of "The Star-Spangled Banner" written on his hand.
Often ignored or belittled because they questioned the orthodoxy, they say, they have been shut out of many economics departments and the most prestigious economics journals.
Though a stickler for statutory law, Mr Williamson seems not to notice that the War on Terror — which he belittles as "metaphorical" — is a real war in the statutory sense.
How tempting it is to claim, as one gets swept into the fervor of the small community of non-Hasidic Yiddish speakers in America, that the once-belittled and murdered language is making a comeback.
From Anderson to Smith and even bigger wigs who play roles in belittling the hourly associate.
Once belittled as an insubstantial electronic scrapbook with narrow appeal, the 2-year-old website Pinterest is maturing into a marketing monster.
Conditions at Lexington, Blue Grass Airport, KY. A 10-year-old child found dead in her family's apartment in central Kentucky was routinely belittled and lived in fear of upsetting her father, relatives and neighbors said.
Same guy who has belittled clinging to God.
It constantly amazes me why the Democrats belittle the Republicans for being the "party of the rich".
Another grievance has been filed against the embattled principal of Oxford Area High School, this one by the parents of a disabled student who say David Madden blocked their son from getting assignments and belittled the mother in e-mails.
When Actors Belittle Their Own Movies.
Oct 10, 2012 (Morning Edition) — In 1949, a teacher at Eton, a British boarding school, belittled John Gurdon's dreams of becoming a scientist as "quite ridiculous".
Carroll's witty remark belittles sisters regardless of orientation.
For more than two years, Chael Sonnen has belittled Anderson Silva in every possible way.
Yet the amount of talent these lowlands have produced stands is stark contrast to any belittling stereo types.
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In science:

My point is not to belittle Web 2.0 style communications; my point is not that formal communications are better somehow; my point is that formal communication is not going away.
Fully Digital: Policy and Process Implications for the AAS
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