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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A pejorative (also called a derogatory term,[1] a slur, 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. Sometimes, a term is regarded as pejorative in some social or ethnic groups but not in others, or may be originally 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.[citation needed][example  needed]

Definition and etymology

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,[5] or semantic change. An example is queer, which was reclaimed by activists and academics starting in the early 1990s.[6]

See also

References

  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. ^ Brontsema, Robin (2004-06-01). "A Queer Revolution: Reconceptualizing the Debate Over Linguistic Reclamation". Colorado Research in Linguistics. 17 (1). doi:10.25810/dky3-zq57. ISSN 1937-7029. Linguistic reclamation, also known as linguistic resignification or reappropriation, refers to the appropriation of a pejorative epithet by its target(s).
  6. ^ "Power grab: reclaiming words can be such a bitch". the Guardian. 2015-10-30. Retrieved 2020-06-15.

Further reading

External links


This page was last edited on 15 June 2020, at 13:45
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