derogatory and disparaging; belittling.

Origin of slighting

First recorded in 1605–15; slight + -ing2
Related formsslight·ing·ly, adverb



adjective, slight·er, slight·est.

small in amount, degree, etc.: a slight increase; a slight odor.
of little importance, influence, etc.; trivial: a slight cut.
slender or slim; not heavily built.
frail; flimsy; delicate: a slight fabric.
of little substance or strength.

verb (used with object)

to treat as of little importance.
to treat (someone) with indifference; ignore, especially pointedly or contemptuously; snub: to be slighted by society.
to do negligently; scamp: to slight one's studies.


an act or instance of slighting or being slighted: The critics’ slights led her to change direction in her work.
a pointed and contemptuous discourtesy; affront: She considered not being invited an unforgivable slight.

Origin of slight

1250–1300; Middle English (adj.) smooth, sleek, slender; compare Old English -sliht- in eorth-slihtes even with ground; cognate with German schlicht, Old Norse slēttr, Gothic slaihts smooth
Related formsslight·er, nounslight·ly, adverbslight·ness, nouno·ver·slight, adjectiveun·slight·ed, adjective

Synonyms for slight

2. insignificant, trifling, paltry. 3. See slender. 4. weak, feeble, fragile. 5. unsubstantial, inconsiderable. 6. disdain, scorn. Slight, disregard, neglect, overlook mean to pay no attention or too little attention to someone or something. To slight is to give only superficial attention to something important: to slight one's work. To disregard is to pay no attention to a person or thing: to disregard the rules; in some circumstances, to disregard may be admirable: to disregard a handicap. To neglect is to shirk paying sufficient attention to a person or thing: to neglect one's correspondence. To overlook is to fail to see someone or something (possibly because of carelessness): to overlook a bill that is due. 9. neglect, disregard, inattention. 10. See insult.

Antonyms for slight Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for slighting

Historical Examples of slighting

  • Let the world be as critical or slighting as it may, these things are successes.

    Tony Butler

    Charles James Lever

  • He repelled the suggestion by a slighting gesture of the hand.

    The Rescue

    Joseph Conrad

  • He must have seen the woman—but he is angry with me, for—for—slighting him—as he thinks—but he was wrong.

    The Golden Dog

    William Kirby

  • And when we were some distance away he made a slighting remark about Millie.

    The Jucklins

    Opie Read

  • I did wrong in slighting your injunction, and suffering Lilian to do so.

    A Strange Story, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

British Dictionary definitions for slighting



characteristic of a slight; disparaging; disdainfulin a slighting manner
Derived Formsslightingly, adverb



small in quantity or extent
of small importance; trifling
slim and delicate
lacking in strength or substance
Southwest English dialect ill

verb (tr)

to show indifference or disregard for (someone); snub
to treat as unimportant or trifling
US to devote inadequate attention to (work, duties, etc)


an act or omission indicating supercilious neglect or indifference
Derived Formsslightness, noun

Word Origin for slight

C13: from Old Norse slēttr smooth; related to Old High German slehtr, Gothic slaihts, Middle Dutch slecht simple
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for slighting



early 14c., "flat, smooth; hairless," probably from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse slettr "smooth, sleek," from Proto-Germanic *slikhtaz (cf. Old Saxon slicht; Low German slicht "smooth, plain common;" Old English -sliht "level," attested in eorðslihtes "level with the ground;" Old Frisian sliucht "smooth, slight," Middle Dutch sleht "even, plain," Old High German sleht, Gothic slaihts "smooth"), probably from a collateral form of PIE *sleig- "to smooth, glide, be muddy," from root *(s)lei- "slimy" (see slime (n.)).

Sense evolution probably is from "smooth" (c.1300), to "slim, slender; of light texture," hence "not good or strong; insubstantial, trifling, inferior, insignificant" (early 14c.). Meaning "small in amount" is from 1520s. Sense of German cognate schlecht developed from "smooth, plain, simple" to "bad, mean, base," and as it did it was replaced in the original senses by schlicht, a back-formation from schlichten "to smooth, to plane," a derivative of schlecht in the old sense [Klein].



c.1300, "make plain or smooth," from slight (adj.) Meaning "treat with indifference" (1590s) is from the adjective in sense of "having little worth." Related: Slighted; slighting.



1550s, "small amount or weight," from slight (v.). Meaning "act of intentional neglect or ignoring out of displeasure or contempt" is from 1701, probably via 17c. phrase make a slight of (1610s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with slighting


see in the least (slightest).

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.