From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
A word or phrase is pejorative if it implies contempt or disapproval. The adjective pejorative is synonymous with derogatory, derisive, and dyslogistic (antonyms: meliorative, eulogistic, noun eulogism). Dyslogisms such as "pea-brain" and "bottom-feeder" are words and phrases pejorative in nature. Although pejorative means much the same thing as disparaging, the latter term may be applied to a look or gesture as well; in the evocative language of gesture, it may not be easy to distinguish a disparaging gesture from a dismissive or merely skeptical one, however.
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.
- Euphemism treadmill
- Historical linguistics
- Hypocoristic, a pet name (antonym)
- List of ethnic slurs
- Pejorative suffix
- Lists of disparaging terms for people
- Ethnic slur
- Hate speech