Pejorative Article

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A pejorative (also called a derogatory term, [1] a slur, a term of abuse, or a term of disparagement) is a word or grammatical form expressing a negative connotation or a low opinion of someone or something, showing a lack of respect for someone or something. [2] It is also used to express criticism, hostility, or disregard. A term can be regarded as pejorative in some social or cultural groups but not in others. Sometimes, a term may begin as a pejorative and eventually be adopted in a non-pejorative sense (or vice versa) in some or all contexts.

Name slurs can also involve an insulting or disparaging innuendo, [3] rather than being a direct pejorative. In some cases, a person's name can be redefined with an unpleasant or insulting meaning, or be applied to a group of people considered by anyone to be inferior or lower in social class, as a group label with a disparaging meaning.

Etymology

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word pejorative is derived from a Late Latin past participle stem of peiorare, meaning "to make worse", from peior "worse". [4]

Melioration

When a term begins as pejorative and eventually is adopted in a non-pejorative sense, this is called "melioration" in historical linguistics. It may also be called amelioration, reclaiming, or semantic change. [5] Some examples of melioration are " punk", " dude" and " nerd".

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "Definition of derogatory". Merriam Webster. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  2. ^ "Pejorative | Define Pejorative at Dictionary.com". Dictionary.reference.com. Retrieved 2012-04-25.
  3. ^ "Slur - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary". Merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2012-04-25.
  4. ^ "Pejorative (adj.)". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  5. ^ Croom, Adam M. (May 2011). "Slurs". Language Sciences. 33 (3): 343–358. doi: 10.1016/j.langsci.2010.11.005.

Further reading

External links