Pejoratives[1] (or terms of abuse, derogatory terms), including name slurs,[2] are words or grammatical forms that connote negativity and express contempt or distaste. A term can be regarded as pejorative in some social 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, or semantic change.[3]

Name slurs can also involve an insulting or disparaging innuendo,[2] 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.

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