- (transitive) To knowingly say that something is smaller or less important than it actually is, especially as a way of showing contempt or deprecation. [from 1782]
- Don't belittle your colleagues.
- Synonyms: understate, make light of, denigrate, degrade, deprecate, disparage, downplay, play down, trivialize, bagatellize
- Antonym: exaggerate
- 1941 March, “Notes and News: Underestimating the Enemy's Strength”, in Railway Magazine, page 129:
- An essential part of any German campaign is obviously the efficiency of its lines of communication and therefore it is dangerous to belittle our enemy's strength in this direction.
- 2006, Mark Steyn, chapter 9, in America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It, →ISBN, page 201:
- Under the rules as understood by the New York Times, the West is free to mock and belittle its Judeo-Christian inheritance, and, likewise, the Muslim world is free to mock and belittle the West's Judeo-Christian inheritance.
to knowingly say that something is smaller or less important than it actually is