A pejorative (also called a derogatory term, 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. 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, 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.
Definition and etymologyEdit
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. Some examples of melioration are "punk", "dude" and "nerd".
- "Definition of derogatory". Merriam Webster. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- "Pejorative | Define Pejorative at Dictionary.com". Dictionary.reference.com. Retrieved 2012-04-25.
- "Slur - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary". Merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2012-04-25.
- "Pejorative (adj.)". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
- 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).
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- Croom, Adam M. "Remarks on 'The Semantics of Racial Slurs'". Lingusitic and Philosophical Investigations, 13 (1):11-32 (2014)
- Croom, Adam M. "The Semantics of Slurs: A Refutation of Pure Expressivism". Language Sciences Volume 41, Part B, January 2014, Pages 227–242.