1

pejorative

noun pe·jo·ra·tive \ pi-ˈjȯr-ə-tiv , -ˈjär- also ˈpe-jə-rə-tiv or ˈpē- or -ˌrā- or ˈpej-rə- or ˈpēj- \
Updated on: 16 Nov 2017

Definition of pejorative

:a word or phrase that has negative connotations (see connotation 1) or that is intended to disparage or belittle :a pejorative word or phrase

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Recent Examples of pejorative from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pejorative.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of pejorative

noun derivative of 2pejorative


2

pejorative

adjective pe·jo·ra·tive \ pi-ˈjȯr-ə-tiv , -ˈjär- also ˈpe-jə-rə-tiv or ˈpē- or -ˌrā- or ˈpej-rə- or ˈpēj- \

Definition of pejorative

:having negative connotations (see connotation 1); especially :tending to disparage or belittle :depreciatory

pejoratively

adverb

Examples of pejorative in a Sentence

  1. Children born with an extra chromosome 21 are healthy, conspicuously happy and destined to live for many years. But they are not considered, in that pejorative word, 'normal'. —Matt RidleyGenome1999
  2. The word barbarian was used by the Greeks, to designate an alien, and therefore, by definition, someone inferior in culture to a Hellene. The Romans applied this in the pejorative sense to the people who came to live along the Rhine-Danube frontier. —Norman F. CantorThe Civilization of the Middle Ages1993
  3. On occasion they expressed a preference for the terms Latino or Hispanic if that would assist them in escaping from the term Puerto Rican, which became, at times, almost pejorative. —John Hope Franklin The Land of Room Enough," 1981, in Race and History1989
  4. a word with pejorative connotations

  5. the reviewer used the pejorative word “versifier” to refer to the writer, whose poems had struck a responsive chord with the general public

Recent Examples of pejorative from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pejorative.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. Moms have given that good advice for years, but unfortunately many people haven't heeded it. The word pejorative makes it clear that both English and Latin speakers have long known that disparaging words can make a bad situation worse. Pejorative derives from the Late Latin adjective pejoratus, which in turn comes from the Latin verb pejorare, meaning "to make or become worse." Although pejorative words have probably always been part of English, the adjective "pejorative" has only been found in English texts since the late 1880s. Before then, English speakers could rely on older synonyms of "pejorative" such as "derogatory" and "uncomplimentary" to describe disparaging words.

Origin and Etymology of pejorative

borrowed from New Latin pējōrātīvus, from Late Latin pējōrātus, past participle of pējōrāre "to make worse, aggravate" (derivative of Latin pējor "inferior, worse," going back to *ped-yos-, comparative of *ped-, extracted from *ped-tu- "a fall, falling") + Latin -īvus -ive — more at pessimism


PEJORATIVE Defined for English Language Learners

pejorative

adjective

Definition of pejorative for English Language Learners

  • : insulting to someone or something : expressing criticism



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