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A pejorative (also term of abuse or derogatory term) is a word or grammatical form that connotes negativity and expresses contempt or distaste. A term can be regarded as pejorative in some social or cultural groups but not in others, e.g., "hacker" is a term used for computer criminals as well as quick and clever computer experts. Sometimes a term may begin as a pejorative and eventually be adopted in a non-pejorative sense in some or all contexts, e.g., "punk". In historical linguistics, this phenomenon is known as melioration, or amelioration, reclaiming, or semantic change.
Name slurs can also involve an insulting or disparaging innuendo, rather than being a direct derogatory remark. In some cases, a person's name can be redefined with an unpleasant or insulting meaning, or applied to a group of people considered to be inferior or lower in social class, as a group label with a disparaging meaning. Also, an ethnic slur or racial slur can be used as a pejorative to imply people of those groups are inferior or deficient.
- Croom, Adam M. "Slurs." Language Sciences, Volume 33, Number 3, May 2011, pp. 343-358. Published by Elsevier.
- Henderson, Anita. "What's in a Slur?" American Speech, Volume 78, Number 1, Spring 2003, pp. 52–74 in Project MUSE| ]]
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