Verb trans. Originally US. Late 18th century.
[from BE- + LITTLE adjective.]
- Make small; diminish in size. L18
- Deprecate, decry. L18
- Cause to appear small; dwarf. M19
A favourite tactic of bangsters and bullies, to belittle (literally to make little) is really rather nasty when you're on the end of it. Fortunately, belittling behaviour can tell you quite a lot about the person doing it. It can be, for example, a sign that someone feels threatened (perhaps belittled themselves) and is therefore trying to bring you down to or beneath their level. If it's encountered in debate, it can be a sign that the person doing the belittling is just not that bright and is simply resorting to ad hominem in an attempt to compensate for a weak position.
On the brighter side, I did find this rather loopy cartoon by Karbo entitled Dealing with Bullies. It features small (belittled?) characters falling into a giant (embiggened?) mouth; I rather like it and I thought I would include it, although I've no idea what's really going on. Please feel free to offer any interpretations.
I also remembered an advert for Deep Rock River Water which is most pertinent to the topic of belittling. I thought I would share it as it makes me chuckle, and we can forget about belittling bangsters and all their ilk.