I'm looking for a word (phrase if necessary) that means "a term of endearment", but more specifically, a term of endearment that was/is somewhat derogatory and even better, a term that is now accepted by the community (or person) for which it was originally derogatory.

Like the term "ham" for a radio amateur.

Over the years radio amateurs have adopted the my word here "ham" for themselves with seemingly no remorse.

  • I presume you would like to avoid the "N-word", as used within the section of society it was (and is) used derogatorily to describe? May 8, 2018 at 12:37
  • I guess that's another example, but no, my use has nothing to do with the "N-word".
    – mike65535
    May 8, 2018 at 12:52
  • 3
    @Phil M Jones: OP seems to be looking not for a particular derogatory word or examples, but for the generic term for such words now accepted by the community (or person) for which is was originally derogatory, am I correct @ OP? As in (random example), "over the years radio amateurs have adopted the joke term "ham" for themselves with seemingly no remorse." May 8, 2018 at 13:17
  • @EnglishStudent You're absolutely right, I misread the question slightly, and thought OP was looking for examples. May 8, 2018 at 13:58

1 Answer 1


I would say reclaimed, but Wikipedia says it should be re-appropriated


Linguistic reclamation is the reappropriation of a pejorative epithet by its target, to turn an insult into a positive term and deny others the ability to define it.

A reclaimed or reappropriated word is a word that was at one time pejorative but has been brought back into acceptable usage, usually starting within the communities that experienced oppression under that word but sometimes also among the general populace as well.[1] (The term "reclaimed word" more often implies usage by a member of the group that is referred.)

  • So far I like this - maybe "re-appropriated pejorative" is the right term, if not a single word.
    – mike65535
    May 8, 2018 at 14:32

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