AskDefine | Define derogative

Dictionary Definition

derogative adj : expressive of low opinion; "derogatory comments"; "disparaging remarks about the new house" [syn: derogatory, disparaging]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. disparaging, tending or intending to be belittling.

See also

Extensive Definition

Words and phrases are pejorative if they imply disapproval or contempt. The adjective pejorative is synonymous with derogatory, derisive, dyslogistic, and contemptuous. When used as an adjective, pejorative has two meanings: (1) tending to make or become worse, and (2) tending to disparage or belittle. When used as a noun, pejorative means "a belittling or disparaging word or expression".
Pejorative expressions that are not inherently dyslogisms may also be used in a non-pejorative way, however, and determining the intent of the speaker is problematic — as with any implied meaning. Conversely, a common rhetorical ploy is to apply "pejorative" to a factual descriptor — as "toxic" might be applied to poison — and then decry it as "pejorative" to suit the agenda of those defending the substance as harmless.
Not every instance of criticism is pejorative.
Sometimes a term may begin as a pejorative word and eventually be adopted in a non-pejorative sense. This happened with the terms Quaker, Yankee, Okie, Tory and Whig, Ham radio operator, Methodist, Shaker, Unitarian and Sooner which were originally slang insults but came to be used as non-pejorative standard words. In historical linguistics, this phenomenon is known as melioration, or amelioration. Sometimes a term is still considered as a pejorative word by some but not by others. In other cases, some groups have attempted to reclaim formerly offensive words applied against them, with limited success. Such terms as nigger (nigga), "kike", redneck, cracker, white trash, Redskin, dyke, queer, fairy, faggot, tranny, geek, nerd, Paki, chav, or cripple are considered pejorative if used by one who is not a member of the group in question. British English also incorporates many British regional slurs.
derogative in Czech: Pejorativní
derogative in Danish: Pejorativ
derogative in German: Pejoration
derogative in Spanish: Peyorativo
derogative in French: Péjoratif
derogative in Hebrew: כינוי גנאי
derogative in Hungarian: Pejoratív jelző
derogative in Dutch: Pejoratief
derogative in Simple English: Pejorative
derogative in Slovak: Pejoratívum
derogative in Serbian: Пејоратив
derogative in Chinese: 貶義

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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