Definition of pejorative in English:



  • Expressing contempt or disapproval.

    ‘permissiveness is used almost universally as a pejorative term’
    • ‘I don't see any pejorative connotations in the term and so up until now haven't been too worried about using it.’
    • ‘The use of pejorative terms, however, served to paint such encounters in a different light which would then lend support to the conclusion at which their Lordships arrived.’
    • ‘The individual may be classified as incomplete, immature, or by other pejorative terms which detract from his dignity.’
    • ‘Let your substantive argument, not pejorative adjectives, do the job.’
    • ‘The concept of mass amateurisation is that kick in the guts - amateurisation is a pejorative term, belittling the efforts of thousands of webloggers.’
    • ‘I'm not using the term in the pejorative sense, but as the economists use it.’
    • ‘So I don't really have a lot of sympathy for those who want to use pejorative terms to characterise a negotiation process.’
    • ‘Apparently the pejorative term ‘breeding like rabbits’ is well deserved.’
    • ‘Believe it or not, this was a pejorative term, implying unrealistic ambitions.’
    • ‘In his circle, ‘white male’ is a pejorative term.’
    • ‘On the whole, the relationship was described in pejorative terms.’
    • ‘Americans have long used these pejorative terms to designate scientific and medical theories and practices for which they have no respect.’
    • ‘I suppose you'd say I'm a radical a ‘do-gooder,’ to put it in pejorative terms.’
    • ‘While an undoubtedly pejorative term, it is of use in understanding the pervasive freshness that scythes through the nose on first sniff and continues into the palate.’
    • ‘Any discussion about the high number of family breakdowns is seen as a threat to the family unit itself - unless it is couched in pejorative terms.’
    • ‘A few minutes of looking reveals similar pejorative statements throughout the book.’
    • ‘Sometimes, opposition to a government-funded project leads to cleverly pejorative phrases.’
    • ‘Politically active conservative Christians rarely use the term dominionism as a self-description; many feel it is a loaded or pejorative term.’
    • ‘Democrats these days prefer to call themselves ‘progressives’ believing that term has fewer pejorative connotations.’
    • ‘Dissent is dehumanized, as it is branded with this pejorative title and other insulting labels like xenophobe, nativist, peacenik or anti-American dupe.’
    disparaging, derogatory, denigratory, deprecatory, defamatory, slanderous, libellous, abusive, insulting, slighting, vituperative, disapproving, contemptuous
    invective, contumelious
    View synonyms


  • A word expressing contempt or disapproval.

    ‘race-linked pejoratives’
    • ‘For us, it is hard to use the word ‘sentimental’ as anything but a pejorative.’
    • ‘The selection of these pejoratives tells us a good deal, as does the near-universal acceptance by the mass media of the associated vernacular.’
    • ‘But the reality is, however proud folks may have been of where they lived, they understood that South Central was a pejorative to the rest of the world.’
    • ‘Lenin, to his undying credit, promptly added ‘Soviety’ to his already extensive thesaurus of pejoratives.’
    • ‘Perhaps you may want to rethink your casual comment on ‘slinging pejoratives around’ and just how it is relevant to my post.’
    • ‘Hence the word ‘undergraduate’ became a pejorative for us world-weary postgrads.’
    • ‘The author of this is a simple Goy [a pejorative for ‘gentile’, in Yiddish].’
    • ‘The text abounds with pejoratives applied to animal rights advocacy.’
    • ‘It pains me greatly to hear it used as a pejorative.’
    • ‘The strategy that Patrick used in his attack was to use ‘bloggers’ as a pejorative, making all internet-based writers somehow equivalent.’
    • ‘It's a pejorative that means Americans don't understand luxury.’
    • ‘Such pejoratives also tell us very little about who they are, what they think, and what they want.’
    • ‘The term has now become a pejorative, carrying the meaning of ‘malicious criminal.’’
    • ‘What tends to happen's, of course, if you're from the Midwest and you become a writer, you become a Midwest writer, and that feels to me that there's a mild pejorative in it, or a limitation.’
    • ‘I have used pejoratives such as ‘scientific whores’ to describe those responsible for the study because I am angry and I want people to know it.’
    • ‘The word ‘medieval’ occurred quite frequently in reviews as a pejorative.’
    • ‘They can go home and cry to mommy about pejoratives.’
    • ‘That last comment by Bud is not the true Bud because the true Bud deals with arguments in a professional manner and does not employ pejoratives to make his points.’
    • ‘It's clearly a pejorative, so it doesn't just mean ‘someone who reports something to the police,’ because that's surely not always bad behavior.’
    • ‘Using ‘gay’ as a general pejorative, which is apparently all the rage among kids these days, is hardly right.’


Late 19th century: from French péjoratif, -ive, from late Latin pejorare make worse, from Latin pejor worse.