I'm looking for a good word to describe other words and contrast them with purely honorific sounding words. I'd like a word that could be used by itself (i.e. I can say "that's an honorific word" without having to say "that's a word only used for its honorific qualities").

By "honorific" I mean words like "real", "equal", "higher", that is, words people use without any specific meaning to amplify the significance what they're saying/arguing. Like "This is real love", or "it's about something higher than that."

I've thought of various forms of "diminutive", "demeaning", and "disparaging" but, I don't know, they just don't seem like a clear opposite to the adjective form of "honorific."

Any ideas?

UPDATE For clarification, I got the idea from this part of an interview with Noam Chomsky where he says that people often use "real" to simply add emphasis or suggest importance. So I'm looking for an antonym to that version of "honorific" and, frankly, "honorific" may be the wrong reference word. This is why I was originally thinking "diminutive" but I just didn't think its meaning was clear (or that it flowed well in a sentence) like Chomsky's sentence "'Real' is an honorific term".

  • It would be cool if this word could end if "ific" – rowyourboat May 17 '18 at 19:16
  • Perhaps disrespectful? – We oath to creation May 17 '18 at 19:30
  • That's not a bad suggestion, I'm trying to avoid words that sound too accusatory. If I say to someone "that's a disrespectful term" then it focuses on their behavior rather than on their term. Speakers rarely realize that the term they're using is purely honorific or negative-ific and so may not realize that saying "whatever they said" is not a strong argument. – rowyourboat May 17 '18 at 19:34
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    @rowyourboat You could take away the accusation by adding another word. Perhaps actually disrespectful or unknowingly disrespectful. Perhaps look into descriptions of (accidental) politically incorrect phrasing. – We oath to creation May 17 '18 at 19:45
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    slight could be a good contrast word but not all slights are verbal and certanly not always titles. Also, your example uses seem different from each other. You could say "This is a honorific word but that word comes off as a slight" .. but it doesn't work at all as a measure of intensity or adjective "this is slighted love" means nothing understandable. "He's smirk slighted the love he had for her"? perhaps – Tom22 May 17 '18 at 19:56

In the context of an English speaker learning the Korean language. When speaking or writing in Korean, honorific is the standard style of speaking expected when one person is speaking to another person who is of a higher class, age or status. So, for me to speak to someone of a higher class, age or status in any form other than honorific would be deemed disrespectful, impolite or rude. In contrast, it is expected that I would not use honorific style when speaking to someone of a lower class, age or status or someone with whom I have an intimate relationship. Therefore, I believe appropriate antonyms for honorific would be: colloquial, casual or informal.


disrespectful antonym of honorific

exhibiting lack of respect; rude and discourteous Usage: remarks disrespectful of the law; disrespectful in the presence of his parents; disrespectful toward his teacher

  • I think this is the most technically correct answer and so I appreciate your feedback. I chose "suggestive" as it better fits how I wanted to use this word. – rowyourboat May 18 '18 at 4:20

Suggestive, according to Collins Dictionary (two meanings that may be appropriate):

conveying a hint (of something)

tending to suggest something improper or indecent

Attribution: "Suggestive Definition and Meaning | Collins English Dictionary." Complacent Definition and Meaning | Collins English Dictionary. Accessed May 17, 2018. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/suggestive.


"Connotative" I think fits my usage. Words can be positive-connotative (which is what I meant by "honorific") or negative-connotative.

Calling a word connotative, and maybe specifying positive or negative, should get my message across.

  • On this website you need to provide research. This is always true, but especially so on your own answer to your own question. – Unrelated Jul 22 '18 at 5:18

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