Pejorative

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A pejorative or slur is a word or grammatical form expressing a negative connotation, a low opinion, or a lack of respect toward someone or something.[1] 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 but later adopt a non-pejorative sense (or vice versa) in some or all contexts.

Definition and etymology[edit]

The word pejorative is derived from a Late Latin past participle stem of peiorare, meaning "to make worse", from peior "worse".[2]

Melioration[edit]

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,[3] or semantic change. An example is queer, which was reclaimed by activists and academics starting in the early 1990s.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Pejorative | Define Pejorative at Dictionary.com". Dictionary.reference.com. Retrieved 2012-04-25.
  2. ^ "Pejorative (adj.)". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  3. ^ 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).
  4. ^ "Power grab: reclaiming words can be such a bitch". the Guardian. 2015-10-30. Retrieved 2020-06-15.

Further reading[edit]

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