"Belittle! What an expression! It may be an elegant one in Virginia, and even perfectly intelligible; but for our part, all we can do is to guess at its meaning. For shame, Mr. Jefferson!" ["European Magazine and London Review," 1787, reporting on "Notes on the State of Virginia"; to guess was considered another barbarous Yankeeism.]The figurative sense of "depreciate, scorn as worthless" (as the reviewers did to this word) is from 1797.