Pejorative term

A pejorative[1] (also term of abuse or derogatory term) is a word or grammatical form of expression that expresses contempt, criticism, disregard or disrespect. A term can be regarded as pejorative in some social or cultural groups but not in others, e.g., hacker is a term used for computer criminals as well as quick and clever computer experts. Sometimes, a term may begin as a pejorative and eventually be adopted in a non-pejorative sense in some or all contexts, e.g., "punk" or "dude". In historical linguistics, this phenomenon is known as melioration, or amelioration, reclaiming, or semantic change.[2]

Name slurs can also involve an insulting or disparaging innuendo,[3] rather than being a direct derogatory remark. In some cases, a person's name can be redefined with an unpleasant or insulting meaning, or applied to a group of people considered by the majority to be inferior or lower in social class, as a group label with a disparaging meaning. Also, an ethnic slur or racial slur can be used as a pejorative to imply people of those groups are inferior or deficient.

See also

Notes

Further reading

  • Volume 33, Number 3, May 2011, pp. 343-358. Published by Elsevier.
  • Henderson, Anita. "What's in a Slur?" American Speech, Volume 78, Number 1, Spring 2003, pp. 52–74 in Project MUSE


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