A pejorative (also called a derogatory term, a slur, a term of disparagement) is a word or grammatical form expressing a negative connotation or a low opinion of someone or something, showing a lack of respect for someone or something. It is also used to express criticism, hostility, or disregard. Sometimes, a term is regarded as pejorative in some social or ethnic groups but not in others, or may be originally pejorative and eventually be adopted in a non-pejorative sense (or vice versa) in some or all contexts.
Name slurs can also involve an insulting or disparaging innuendo, rather than being a direct pejorative. In some cases, a person's name can be redefined with an unpleasant or insulting meaning, or be applied to a group of people considered by anyone to be inferior or lower in social class, as a group label with a disparaging meaning.
Linguists Christopher David and Elin McCready, writing in a 2018 paper for the University of the Ryukyus and Aoyama Gakuin University, argued that three properties make a term a slur: it must be derogatory towards a particular group, it must be used to subordinate them within some structure of power relations, and the derogated group must be defined by an intrinsic property.
When a term begins as pejorative and eventually is adopted in a non-pejorative sense, this is called "melioration" in historical linguistics. It may also be called amelioration, reclaiming, or semantic change. Some examples of melioration are "punk", "dude" and "nerd".
An antiquarian or antiquary (from the Latin: antiquarius, meaning pertaining to ancient times) is an aficionado or student of antiquities or things of the past. More specifically, the term is used for those who study history with particular attention to ancient artifacts, archaeological and historic sites, or historic archives and manuscripts. The essence of antiquarianism is a focus on the empirical evidence of the past, and is perhaps best encapsulated in the motto adopted by the 18th-century antiquary Sir Richard Colt Hoare, "We speak from facts, not theory."
Today the term is often used in a pejorative sense, to refer to an excessively narrow focus on factual historical trivia, to the exclusion of a sense of historical context or process.Chav
"Chav" ( CHAV) ("charver" in parts of Northern England) is a pejorative epithet used in the United Kingdom to describe a particular stereotype of anti-social youth dressed in sportswear. The word was popularised in the 2000s by the British mass media to refer to an anti-social youth subculture in the UK. The Oxford English Dictionary defines "chav" as an informal British derogatory, meaning "a young lower-class person who displays brash and loutish behaviour and wears real or imitation designer clothes". The derivative chavette has been used to refer to females, and the adjectives chavvy, chavvish and chavtastic have been used in relation to items designed for or suitable for use by chavs.Cracker (term)
Cracker, sometimes white cracker or cracka, is an ethnic slur for white people, used especially for poor rural whites in the Southern United States. It is also at times used indiscriminately and pejoratively against any person of white background. However, it is sometimes used in a neutral or positive context or self-descriptively with pride in reference to a native of Florida or Georgia (see Florida cracker and Georgia cracker).Dick (slang)
Dick is a common English language dysphemism used for a variety of slang purposes, some generally considered vulgar. It is also used to refer to the penis, and by extension as a verb to describe sexual activity. It is also used as a pejorative term for individuals who are considered to be rude, abrasive, inconsiderate, or otherwise contemptible. In this context, it can be used interchangeably with jerk, and can also be used as a verb to describe rude or deceitful actions. Variants include dickhead, which literally refers to the glans. The offensiveness of the word dick is complicated by the continued use of the word in inoffensive contexts, including as both a given name and a surname, in the popular British dessert spotted dick, in the classic novel Moby-Dick, and in the Dick and Jane series of children's books. Uses such as these have provided a basis for comedy writers to exploit this juxtaposition through double entendre.Faggot (slang)
Faggot, often shortened to fag, is a pejorative term used chiefly in North America primarily to refer to a gay male. Alongside its use to refer to gay men in particular, it may also be used as a pejorative term for a "repellent male" or to refer to women who are lesbian. Its use has spread from the United States to varying extents elsewhere in the English-speaking world through mass culture, including film, music, and the Internet.Gay
Gay is a term that primarily refers to a homosexual person or the trait of being homosexual. The term was originally used to mean "carefree", "cheerful", or "bright and showy".The term's use as a reference to homosexuality may date as early as the late 19th century, but its use gradually increased in the mid-20th century. In modern English, gay has come to be used as an adjective, and as a noun, referring to the community, practices and cultures associated with homosexuality. In the 1960s, gay became the word favored by homosexual men to describe their sexual orientation. By the end of the 20th century, the word gay was recommended by major LGBT groups and style guides to describe people attracted to members of the same sex.At about the same time, a new, pejorative use became prevalent in some parts of the world. Among younger speakers, the word has a meaning ranging from derision (e.g., equivalent to rubbish or stupid) to a light-hearted mockery or ridicule (e.g., equivalent to weak, unmanly, or lame). In this use, the word rarely means "homosexual", as it is often used, for example, to refer to an inanimate object or abstract concept of which one disapproves. The extent to which these usages still retain connotations of homosexuality has been debated and harshly criticized.Geek
The word geek is a slang term originally used to describe eccentric or non-mainstream people; in current use, the word typically connotes an expert or enthusiast or a person obsessed with a hobby or intellectual pursuit, with a general pejorative meaning of a "peculiar person, especially one who is perceived to be overly intellectual, unfashionable, boring, or socially awkward".Some use the term self-referentially without malice or as a source of pride, often referring simply to "someone who is interested in a subject (usually intellectual or complex) for its own sake". Nonetheless, it remains a pejorative, widely used in an abusive manner especially against children and teens who may be more focused on studies, while less popular, fashionable, or socially inclined.List of ethnic slurs
The following is a list of ethnic slurs (ethnophaulisms) that are, or have been, used as insinuations or allegations about members of a given ethnicity, or to refer to them in a derogatory (that is, critical or disrespectful), pejorative (disapproving or contemptuous), or otherwise insulting manner.
Some of the terms listed below (such as "Gringo", "Yank", etc.) are used by many people all over the world as part of their ordinary speech or thinking without any intention of causing offence.
For the purposes of this list, an ethnic slur is a term designed to insult others on the basis of race, ethnicity, or nationality. Each term is listed followed by its country or region of usage, a definition, and a reference to that term.
Ethnic slurs may also be produced as a racial epithet by combining a general-purpose insult with the name of ethnicity, such as "dirty Jew", "Russian pig", etc. Other common insulting modifiers include "dog", "filthy", etc. Such terms are not included in this list.List of ethnic slurs by ethnicity
This list of ethnic slurs is sorted into categories that can defined by race, nationality or ethnicity.List of terms used for Germans
There are many alternative terms for the people of Germany. In English the demonym, or noun, is German. During the early Renaissance, "German" implied that the person spoke German as a native language. Until German unification, people living in what is now Germany were named for the region they lived in: examples are Bavarians and Brandenburgers.
Some terms are humorous or pejorative slang, and used mainly by people from other countries, although they can be used in a self-deprecating way by German people themselves. Other terms are serious or tongue-in-cheek attempts to coin words as alternatives to the ambiguous standard terms.
Many pejorative terms for Germans in various countries originated during the two World Wars.Nouveau riche
Nouveau riche (French: [nuvo ʁiʃ]; French for "new rich") is a term, usually derogatory, to describe those whose wealth has been acquired within their own generation, rather than by familial inheritance. The equivalent English term is the "new rich" or "new money" (in contrast with "old money"/vieux riche). Sociologically, nouveau riche refers to the person who previously had belonged to a lower social class and economic stratum (rank) within that class; and that the new money, which constitutes his or her wealth, allowed upward social mobility and provided the means for conspicuous consumption, the buying of goods and services that signal membership in an upper class. As a pejorative term, nouveau riche affects distinctions of type, the given stratum within a social class; hence, among the rich people of a social class, nouveau riche describes the vulgarity and ostentation of the newly rich man or woman who lacks the worldly experience and the system of values of "old money", of inherited wealth, such as the patriciate, the nobility and the gentry.Otaku
Otaku (おたく/オタク) is a Japanese derogatory term for people with obsessive interests, particularly in anime and manga. Its contemporary use originated with Akio Nakamori's 1983 essay in Manga Burikko. Otaku may be used as a pejorative; its negativity stems from a stereotypical view of otaku and the media's reporting on Tsutomu Miyazaki, "The Otaku Murderer", in 1989. According to studies published in 2013, the term has become less negative, and an increasing number of people now self-identify as otaku, both in Japan and elsewhere.
Otaku subculture is a central theme of various anime and manga works, documentaries and academic research. The subculture began in the 1980s as changing social mentalities and the nurturing of otaku traits by Japanese schools combined with the resignation of such individuals to become social outcasts. The subculture's birth coincided with the anime boom, after the release of works such as Mobile Suit Gundam before it branched into Comic Market. The definition of otaku subsequently became more complex, and numerous classifications of otaku emerged. In 2005, the Nomura Research Institute divided otaku into twelve groups and estimated the size and market impact of each of these groups. Other institutions have split it further or focus on a single otaku interest. These publications classify distinct groups including anime, manga, camera, automobile, idol and electronics otaku. The economic impact of otaku has been estimated to be as high as ¥2 trillion ($18 billion).Pedant
A pedant is a person who is excessively concerned with formalism, accuracy, and precision, or one who makes an ostentatious and arrogant show of learning.Queer
Queer is an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities who are not heterosexual or are not cisgender.
Originally meaning "strange" or "peculiar", queer came to be used pejoratively against those with same-sex desires or relationships in the late 19th century. Beginning in the late 1980s, queer activists, such as the members of Queer Nation, began to reclaim the word as a deliberately provocative and politically radical alternative to the more assimilationist branches of the LGBT community.In the 2000s and on, queer became increasingly used to describe a broad spectrum of non-normative (i.e. anti-heteronormative and anti-homonormative) sexual and gender identities and politics. Academic disciplines such as queer theory and queer studies share a general opposition to binarism, normativity, and a perceived lack of intersectionality, some of them only tangentially connected to the LGBT movement. Queer arts, queer cultural groups, and queer political groups are examples of modern expressions of queer identities.
Critics of the use of the term include members of the LGBT community who associate the term more with its colloquial, derogatory usage, those who wish to dissociate themselves from queer radicalism, and those who see it as amorphous and trendy. The expansion of queer to include queer heterosexuality has been criticized by those who argue that the term can only be reclaimed by those it has been used to oppress.Snob
Snob is a pejorative term for a person who believes there is a correlation between social status and human worth. Snob also refers to a person who feels superiority over those from lower social classes, education levels, or other social areas. The word snobbery came into use for the first time in England during the 1820s.
A snob is also a tool (an anvil) used by cobblers in the manufacture of footwear.Snowflake (slang)
Snowflake is a 2010s derogatory slang term for a person, implying that they have an inflated sense of uniqueness, an unwarranted sense of entitlement, or are overly-emotional, easily offended, and unable to deal with opposing opinions. Common usages include the terms special snowflake, Generation Snowflake, and snowflake as a politicized insult.Social justice warrior
Social justice warrior (SJW) is a pejorative term for an individual who promotes socially progressive views, including feminism, civil rights, and multiculturalism, as well as identity politics. The accusation that somebody is an SJW carries implications that they are pursuing personal validation rather than any deep-seated conviction, and engaging in disingenuous arguments.The phrase originated in the late 20th century as a neutral or positive term for people engaged in social justice activism. In 2011, when the term first appeared on Twitter, it changed from a primarily positive term to an overwhelmingly negative one. During the Gamergate controversy, the negative connotation gained increased use, and was particularly aimed at those espousing views adhering to social liberalism, cultural inclusivity, or feminism, as well as views deemed to be politically correct.The term has entered popular culture, including a parody role-playing video game, Social Justice Warriors, released in 2014.Wanker
Wanker, literally "one who wanks (masturbates)", is a general insult. It is a pejorative term of English origin common in Britain and other parts of the English-speaking world (mainly Commonwealth nations), including Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. It initially referred to an "onanist" and is synonymous with the word tosser.Yuppie
"Yuppie" (short for "young urban professional" or "young, upwardly-mobile professional") is a term coined in the early 1980s for a young professional person working in a city.