to help make little or less in a moral sense to discuss about it in a depreciatory or contemptuous method
- cause to look less really serious; play-down
- present an adverse opinion of
- decrease the authority, dignity, or trustworthiness of
- To make small or less in a moral sense; to discuss about it in a depreciatory or contemptuous method.
1781, "to create tiny," from be- + small (v.); first recorded in writings of Thomas Jefferson (and most likely coined by him), who was simply roundly execrated because of it in The united kingdomt: Belittle! Exactly what an expression! It might be a stylish one in Virginia, and even completely intelligible; however for our part, all we are able to do is guess at its definition. For shame, Mr. Jefferson! ["European Magazine and London Evaluation," 1787, reporting on "Notes in the State of Virginia"; to guess ended up being considered another barbarous Yankeeism.]Jefferson tried it to define Buffon's view that US life was stunted by nature, which he was refuting. The figurative sense of "depreciate, scorn as worthless" (as reviewers did for this term) is from 1797. Associated: Belittled; belittling.
(v. t.) Which will make little or less in a moral good sense; to discuss about it in a depreciatory or contemptuous means.
Gail imagined that there was an organized conspiracy to belittle his learning and professional success, and there was a standing quarrel between him and his literary opponents, the most distinguished of whom was P. L.