Pejorative

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A pejorative[1] (also term of abuse, term of disparagement, or derogatory term) is a word or grammatical form of expression that expresses contempt, criticism, hostility, disregard and/or disrespect. A term can be regarded as pejorative in some social or cultural groups but not in others.[citation needed] Sometimes, a term may begin as pejorative and eventually be adopted in a non-pejorative sense (or vice versa) in some or all contexts.

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.[2] Some examples of melioration are "punk" or "dude".

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.

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Notes[edit]

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

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