is a word
form expressing a negative or a disrespectful connotation
, a low opinion, or a lack of respect toward someone or something.
It is also used to express criticism
, or disregard. Sometimes, a term is regarded as pejorative in some social
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.
The word pejorative
is derived from a Late Latin
past participle stem of peiorare
, meaning "to make worse", from peior
Pejoration and melioration
In historical linguistics
, the process of an inoffensive word becoming pejorative is a form of semantic drift
known as pejoration
. An example of pejoration is the shift in meaning of the word silly
from meaning that a person was happy and fortunate to meaning that they are foolish and unsophisticated.
The process of pejoration can repeat itself around a single concept, leaping from word to word in a phenomenon known as the euphemism treadmill
, for example as in the successive pejoration of the terms bog-house
, water closet
When a term begins as pejorative and eventually is adopted in a non-pejorative sense, this is called melioration
. One example is the shift in meaning of the word nice
from meaning a person was foolish to meaning that a person is pleasant.
When performed deliberately, it is described as reclamation
An example of a reclaimed word is queer
, which was re-appropriated as a positive term by activists and academics starting in the early 1990s.
- ^ "Pejorative | Define Pejorative at Dictionary.com". Dictionary.reference.com. Retrieved 2012-04-25.
- ^ "Pejorative (adj.)". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
- ^ Horobin, Simon (March 31, 2021). "Five words that don't mean what you think they do". The Conversation. Retrieved 2021-04-05.
- ^ Stollznow, Karen (2020-08-11). "Ableist Language and the Euphemism Treadmill". Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 2021-04-06.
- ^ Bell, Vicars Walker (1953). On Learning the English Tongue. Faber & Faber. p. 19. The Honest Jakes or Privy has graduated via Offices to the final horror of Toilet.
- ^ Nordquist, Richard (3 October 2019). "What Is the Process of Amelioration in Language?". ThoughtCo. Retrieved 2021-04-06.
- ^ 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).
- ^ Nunn, Gary (2015-10-30). "Power grab: reclaiming words can be such a bitch". the Guardian. Retrieved 2020-06-15.
Last edited on 27 May 2021, at 10:48
Content is available under CC BY-SA 3.0
unless otherwise noted.