A pejorative (also term of abuse 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, 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.
Name slurs can also involve an insulting or disparaging innuendo, 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.