Definition of pejorative in English:



  • Expressing contempt or disapproval.

    ‘permissiveness is used almost universally as a pejorative term’
    • ‘In his circle, ‘white male’ is a pejorative term.’
    • ‘Believe it or not, this was a pejorative term, implying unrealistic ambitions.’
    • ‘Let your substantive argument, not pejorative adjectives, do the job.’
    • ‘I suppose you'd say I'm a radical a ‘do-gooder,’ to put it in pejorative terms.’
    • ‘So I don't really have a lot of sympathy for those who want to use pejorative terms to characterise a negotiation process.’
    • ‘Dissent is dehumanized, as it is branded with this pejorative title and other insulting labels like xenophobe, nativist, peacenik or anti-American dupe.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Americans have long used these pejorative terms to designate scientific and medical theories and practices for which they have no respect.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A few minutes of looking reveals similar pejorative statements throughout the book.’
    • ‘On the whole, the relationship was described in pejorative terms.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Sometimes, opposition to a government-funded project leads to cleverly pejorative phrases.’
    • ‘Apparently the pejorative term ‘breeding like rabbits’ is well deserved.’
    • ‘I don't see any pejorative connotations in the term and so up until now haven't been too worried about using it.’
    • ‘The individual may be classified as incomplete, immature, or by other pejorative terms which detract from his dignity.’
    • ‘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.’
    disparaging, derogatory, denigratory, deprecatory, defamatory, slanderous, libellous, abusive, insulting, slighting, vituperative, disapproving, contemptuous
    View synonyms


  • A word expressing contempt or disapproval.

    • ‘It pains me greatly to hear it used as a pejorative.’
    • ‘The text abounds with pejoratives applied to animal rights advocacy.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Using ‘gay’ as a general pejorative, which is apparently all the rage among kids these days, is hardly right.’
    • ‘The author of this is a simple Goy [a pejorative for ‘gentile’, in Yiddish].’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘For us, it is hard to use the word ‘sentimental’ as anything but a pejorative.’
    • ‘The term has now become a pejorative, carrying the meaning of ‘malicious criminal.’’
    • ‘The selection of these pejoratives tells us a good deal, as does the near-universal acceptance by the mass media of the associated vernacular.’
    • ‘They can go home and cry to mommy about pejoratives.’
    • ‘Such pejoratives also tell us very little about who they are, what they think, and what they want.’
    • ‘Hence the word ‘undergraduate’ became a pejorative for us world-weary postgrads.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Perhaps you may want to rethink your casual comment on ‘slinging pejoratives around’ and just how it is relevant to my post.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It's a pejorative that means Americans don't understand luxury.’
    • ‘Lenin, to his undying credit, promptly added ‘Soviety’ to his already extensive thesaurus of pejoratives.’
    • ‘The word ‘medieval’ occurred quite frequently in reviews 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.’


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