belittle vs derogate what difference

what is difference between belittle and derogate



From be- +‎ little. Coined by Thomas Jefferson in 1782


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /bɨˈlɪt.əl/
  • Rhymes: -ɪtəl


belittle (third-person singular simple present belittles, present participle belittling, simple past and past participle belittled)

  1. (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]
    Synonyms: understate, make light of, denigrate, degrade, deprecate, disparage, downplay, play down, trivialize, bagatellize
    Antonym: exaggerate

Derived terms

  • belittled
  • belittlement
  • belittling


See also

  • vilipend
  • cut down




Borrowed from (the participle stem of) Latin dērogāre (to annul, repeal part of a law, take away, detract from), from de- (from) + rogāre (to propose a law, ask). Compare abrogate, arrogate, interrogate.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈdɛɹəɡeɪt/


derogate (third-person singular simple present derogates, present participle derogating, simple past and past participle derogated)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To partially repeal (a law etc.). [16th-17th c.]
    • 1713, Matthew Hale, A History and Analysis of the Common Law of England
      By several contrary customs, [] many of the civil and canon laws are controlled and derogated.
  2. (transitive) To detract from (something); to disparage, belittle. [from 16th c.]
    • 1642, John Milton, An Apology for Smectymnuus:
      I never thought the human frailty of erring in cases of religion, infamy to a state, no more than to a council: it had therefore been neither civil nor christianly, to derogate the honour of the state for that cause […].
    • 1999, Ziva Kunda, Social Cognition, p. 222:
      When the need for self-affirmation is satisfied through other means, one is less compelled to derogate members of negatively stereotyped groups.
    • 2001, Russell Cropanzano, Justice in the Workplace, vol. II, p. 104:
      Bandura (1990) gave a related example of gas chamber operators in Nazi prison camps, who found it necessary to derogate and dehumanize their victims rather than become overwhelmed by distress.
  3. (transitive, intransitive) To take away (something from something else) in a way which leaves it lessened. [from 16th c.]
    • 1532, Thomas More, The Supper of the Lord
      Anything [] that should derogate, minish, or hurt his glory and his name.
    • 1790, Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France
      It derogates little from his fortitude, while it adds infinitely to the honor of his humanity.
  4. (intransitive) To remove a part, to detract from (a quality of excellence, authority etc.). [from 16th c.]
    • 1857, Anthony Trollope, Barchester Towers, Volume the Second, page 147 →ISBN
      In doing so she had derogated from her dignity and committed herself.
    • 1946, Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy, I.19:
      God does not have the attributes of a Christian Providence, for it would derogate from His perfection to think about anything except what is perfect, i.e. Himself.
    • 1967, “The undoing of Dodd”, Time, 5 Dec 1967:
      The six-member Committee on Standards and Conduct unanimously recommended that the Senate censure the Connecticut Democrat for behavior that is “contrary to good morals, derogates from the public trust expected of a Senator, and tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute.”
  5. (intransitive) To act in a manner below oneself; to debase oneself. [from 17th c.]
    • c. 1611, William Shakespeare, Cymbeline, II.1:
      CLOTEN. Is it fit I went to look upon him? Is there no derogation in’t?
      SECOND LORD. You cannot derogate, my lord.

Usage notes

The verb is relatively uncommon, but the related adjective derogatory is common.


  • decry
  • (to disparage, belittle): vilify
  • (to detract from (a quality of excellence, authority etc.)): abase


  • (to disparage, belittle): praise
  • (to detract from (a quality of excellence, authority etc.)): exalt

Related terms

  • abrogate
  • arrogate
  • interrogate
  • prorogue
  • surrogate



derogate (comparative more derogate, superlative most derogate)

  1. (archaic) debased
    • 1605, William Shakespeare, King Lear I.iv
      Dry up in her the organs of increase, / And from her derogate body never spring / A babe to honour her.

Related terms

  • derogatory
  • derogation
  • derogative


  • dogeater, erogated




  1. inflection of derogare:
    1. second-person plural present indicative
    2. second-person plural imperative




  1. second-person plural present active imperative of dērogō

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