belittlement

belittle

[bih-lit-l]
verb (used with object), belittled, belittling.
to regard or portray as less impressive or important than appearances indicate; depreciate; disparage.

Origin:
1775–85, Americanism; be- + little

belittlement, noun
belittler, noun


minimize, decry, deprecate, deride, scorn, dismiss.
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World English Dictionary
belittle (bɪˈlɪtəl)
 
vb
1.  to consider or speak of (something) as less valuable or important than it really is; disparage
2.  to cause to make small; dwarf
 
be'littlement
 
n
 
be'littler
 
n
 
be'littlingly
 
adv

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

belittle
1781, "to make small," from be- + little; first recorded in writings of Thomas Jefferson (and probably coined by him), who was roundly execrated for it in England:
"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.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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