Questions tagged [pejorative-language]

This tag is for questions about pejorative language. Pejorative language is any language that portrays someone or something in a negative light, no matter whether it is intended to be disparaging and derogatory, contemptuous or disapproving, belittling or offensive, or even abusive. It’s anything that makes someone or something look bad.

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10
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3answers
1k views

Is the phrase “stone-throwing devil” actually a slur?

Inspired by this question. What is the etymology of the phrase "stone-throwing devil"? Is there any evidence that it has been used as either a racial or religious slur historically or in ...
9
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3answers
162 views

When and why did “the Dutch act” emerge as a slang term for suicide?

J.E. Lighter, Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang (1994) provides this entry for "Dutch act": Dutch act n. Und[erworld] suicide.—constr[ued] with the. [Earliest cited ...
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1answer
80 views

What is a British English equivalent to 'Fussbudget'?

Lucy from Charles Schultz's Peanuts strip is often described as a 'fussbudget', for example here: 'Lucy: Fussbudget to Feminist'. What is a British English equivalent to 'fussbudget'?
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1answer
68 views

Is Jester word derogatory? [closed]

Jester means professional fool. Fool is a bad word. Is Jester word derogatory?
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1answer
63 views

What is an appropriate word that describes someone who gets others to do things when they could easily do them themselves? [duplicate]

I'm trying to pin down a word or phrase that concisely describes a person who intentionally gets other people to do things for them that they could easily do themselves, as a form of either conscious ...
9
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2answers
782 views

What's the origin of this expression recorded in Louisiana, 1867?

From Freedmen's Bureau records as excerpted in Sterling's brilliant We Are Your Sisters: Emmeline Ellaby jumped out of the cotton and called them damned bitches and said that everyone of them damned ...
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1answer
65 views

Expression describing code written by inexperienced, lazy and untalented developers

One of my characters is a young graduate student who leaves her adviser. He takes her research code and he gets his other students to use it, not forgetting to say all sorts of mean things about her ...
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1answer
88 views

What is the meaning of gim boy?

I received an e-mail from Spotify Customer Support a few months ago. They ended the email with the following: "Looking forward to hearing from you. Let us know if you have other questions or ...
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12answers
5k views

A possibly modern derogatory term for housewife

I need a derogatory term for housewife. I couldn't find any in online dictionaries and I'm not sure I have ever heard of any in any language I'm familiar with. But I'm thinking there must be something ...
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1answer
192 views

On a certain pejorative in contemporary British English

According to the OED https://www.oed.com/viewdictionaryentry/Entry/67623) "faggot" and "fag", used to refer to gay men in a derogatory way are "originally and chiefly North ...
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3answers
88 views

Olden pejorative/word for a “fancy-pants”

What word would someone around the era of the Wild West (1850) use to describe a "posh fancy-pants"? I see that "fancy-pants" first known usage was in the twentieth century, so it'...
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1answer
159 views

What are the differences among Vitrioil, Vituperative and Invective?

I am having a really hard time seeing the nuanced differences between these three synonyms, especially vituperation and vitriol. I saw from my research that invective is used in more formal context ...
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2answers
113 views

Are there words used within an ethnic community to refer to its members which are pejorative outside it?

While I was reading a couple articles with a similar type of idea, I wondered if there were some substitutes for "nigga" that other ethnicities than black people use? That is the word is supposed to ...
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11answers
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Difference in meaning between “elderly” and “old”?

Advice being given because of the COVID-19 pandemic, includes the word “elderly”. I know someone aged 77 who does not feel elderly but does admit to being old. Is there more of a negative ...
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1answer
118 views

Is prolific an approving word or neutral word?

I thought it was an approving word which is used to describe the diligence of a producer or artist and therefore the abundance of their productivity.Then I just knew that it can also be used to ...
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2answers
136 views

What is the negative connotation of 'great'?

We call a well known actor, a 'famous' actor. Yet a well known criminal is called a 'notorious' criminal. In similar vein, a popular leader would be called a 'great' leader. But what would you call ...
2
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1answer
94 views

Is there a term for a group 'owning' a previous insult?

Is there a term or word for the process of a group of people taking (or attempting to) an insulting word/phrase and making it their own? I'm thinking about something more than normalization or ...
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2answers
259 views

Do “developing countries” and “underdeveloped countries” have derogatory connotations?

Is there any derogatory or negative connotation with the words "developing countries" and "underdeveloped countries"? Should I avoid using them? I read somewhere, don't remember where, that they ...
2
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1answer
145 views

Why is “lousy” pronounced like “louzy”? [duplicate]

As "lousy" is a pejorative for someone or something being infested with lice, why is it pronounced with a "z" instead of an "s" sound? OTOH, when a person is called a "louse," the "s" sound is used. ...
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1answer
87 views

“fat” as an insult

Much ado is being made about the spirited exchange between Joe Biden and some corpulent guy in Iowa that took him to task about his son's dealings with some Ukrainian company. Biden's supposed to ...
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0answers
229 views

What did “John Boy” mean (as an insult) in New Zealand around 1977?

According to the records of the New Zealand Parliament, "John Boy" was considered unparliamentary language in 1977. What did the phrase mean though, back then, over there? Urban dictionary seems say ...
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0answers
216 views

Is the following AmE usage of “chick” offensive?

GDoS shows the following AmE slang usage of chick (short for chicken) in different contexts: Chick: of interest to girls or women, e.g. chick movie, chick lit. 1993 [US] M. Myers et ...
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0answers
70 views

Looking for a word for a coward who claims credit for the heroic acts of others

Someone who doesn't do anything required or expected but takes credit for having performed heroic deeds. I have considered 'cowardly', but it doesn't convey the complete meaning. An example ...
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4answers
6k views

Is “Fredo” an insult to Italian-Americans?

Recently in the news there's been some kerfuffle about a verbal exchange between CNN anchorman, Chris Cuomo, and a person who called him “Fredo”. In the cell-phone video, the man claims I thought ...
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2answers
75 views

defamation, slander, libel, …?

German law has three distinct terms in the context of insulting a person: § 185, Beleidigung -- Insulting a person. This covers e.g. flipping somebody off in traffic, calling somebody names etc. § ...
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1answer
482 views

Is “girl” a valid synonym for “young woman”?

This question emerged out of a discussion on Mastodon about Ivanka Trump being called a girl, where it was claimed that “girl' is synonymous with 'young woman' in English”. Is this true? Is it sexism ...
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2answers
94 views

Word for reminder of inconvenient truths

What do you call a person who constantly tells others things they don't want to hear even though it's true? (Maybe even revels in their dismay) Something along the lines of Person A telling Person B ...
2
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3answers
236 views

Why is “modish” a derogatory word?

"Modish" appears as a derogatory word on Dictionary.com/Oxford website Lexico: https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/modish Do you know why this is the case? Is the word often used in derogatory ...
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1answer
409 views

Is Autistic the new “spaz” or “retard”?

Has autistic become an accepted cool pejorative through constant misuse? While I usually would not bother with Urban, the theme was taken up… Autism is typically said with a negative connotation. ...
2
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2answers
292 views

Are US detention centers on the US-Mexico border “concentration camps”?

There is a hot "debate" on Twitter regarding whether the detention centers used by the US border patrol to detain/hold immigrants can be called "concentration camps" or not. ...
0
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1answer
480 views

Why do people seem to get so triggered at the word “plebeians”? [closed]

While having online conversations people seem to get triggered when the word plebeian is used to describe the commoners or common people. They seem to think its bad or something. What's wrong in ...
4
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1answer
596 views

Is effervescent a pejorative when describing a person [closed]

My colleagues and I have been talking about whether or not "effervescent" is a pejorative when used to describe someone. To provide context, one of the people who works in my office is a high-energy ...
2
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5answers
796 views

Non-offensive version of the word “mongol”? [closed]

I want to describe a person or group of thugs who cause damage without concern for science or culture. I had written down "mongol behavior", in reference to the Mongol invasion. Is there an all-...
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1answer
1k views

Is the use of the word “cracker” as a racial slur so common that it cannot safely be used to refer to certain hackers? [duplicate]

I always liked to use the word "crackers" to refer to people who overcome computer software or security restrictions, as opposed to "hackers," which (supposedly) originally meant people skilled at ...
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17answers
9k views

Insult for someone who “doesn't know anything” [closed]

How do you call/insult someone who doesn't know anything (meaning not the simplest/basic or obvious things)? Context: I need it in a dialog of the following form: A: How does <very simple/obvious ...
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1answer
45 views

How would one (formally) describe being socially able to say something because of membership in a certain group?

How would one formally describe being socially able to say something otherwise considered derogatory on the basis of one's membership of the group towards which the purported derogation would be ...
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4answers
875 views

Is there a term for words which are insults but not vulgar?

Sometimes, when I explain a new word to a friend who doesn't speak English well, I know that the word has to be used carefully, because it is not appropriate in all contexts, or can be offensive if ...
0
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1answer
142 views

What is a pejorative phrase or word you would call an employee who has all the free time in the world?

What is a pejorative phrase or word you would call an employee who has all the free time in the world to just to be nosy in how others wear their tie or how some one should not put their hands in ...
3
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4answers
2k views

Origin of the negative connotation of “boy”

Recently I stumbled on a discussion where the word "chico" in Spanish is translated to "boy". To my knowledge, using "chico" to refer to someone younger is considered normal. But in English, calling ...
0
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1answer
33 views

Pejorative Word or phrase for when tourist undergoing Government procedures for visa formalities is experience based

Pejorative Word or phrase for when a Government does not have its procedure in place for citizen or migrants or tourist for simple formalities like passport renewal or visa renewal or visa application ...
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3answers
143 views

Reprimanding (pejorative) Idiom, phrase or expression for when one wants to pay less (minuscule) and get maximum out of a deal (basically greediness)

What is pejorative phrase, idiom for one wants to pay less (minuscule) and get maximum out of a deal (basically greediness). Example The management wants to get talented employee but hire employees ...
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2answers
95 views

A word for petty enforcement of rules [closed]

The word you'd use to describe a 1940's middle school where kids would be spanked for not having the proper haircut or tucking in their shirts. Not "strict", because strict implies necessary ...
3
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2answers
327 views

Looking for equivalent of Indian (Marathi) saying “Makdach ghar” which translates “Monkey's house”(never ready when you expect it should be)

I am looking for equivalent of Indian saying "Makdach ghar" which is "Monkey's house" the meaning is a monkey always starts to built his house only after it starts to rain. It has the analogy of "Ants ...
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5answers
136 views

What would you call a person pejoratively who enjoys perks of a job post but responsibility of a lower rung assistant

What would you call a person pejoratively who is on a professional privileged position such as Engineer, geologist, senior engineer etc (earning what the post demands) but chooses to do a job of a ...
3
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3answers
213 views

Pejorative word for events like ribbon-cutting ceremony, Association party & fests which are counterproductive activities for an organization

Pejorative word for attending "ribbon cutting ceremonies, ribbon cutting ceremonies, Association parties and fests" by a country's missions post abroad who are meant to be engaged in welfare of ...
3
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2answers
206 views

Someone whose sole aim is to make another person’s life difficult [duplicate]

What are some good words that have the meaning of doing something only to make another’s life difficult? My ex is suing me for my car. He bought it for me and now wants it back. I am in a different ...
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0answers
236 views

Slang Appellation for Plastic Surgeon?

Some years ago there were a few quite amusing, albeit slightly derogatory terms for plastic surgeons. A cursory Google has revealed but one: Sellout, which is a reasonable start. Others may exist, ...
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2answers
1k views

Word for one who does not see flaw/fault in oneself?

I have been digging for a word that English seems to have a hard time representing. If I were to describe the spirit of what I'm trying to convey, it would be one who does not look inward for fault ...
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2answers
367 views

Is there an English equivalent to this French idiom : “Brasser du vent”? [closed]

This idiom means "Talking a lot without significant results". I was wondering if there was a specific idiom to say this. So far, I have found nothing but "hot air merchant".
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3answers
2k views

Word for someone who has plastic surgery, breast augmentation, etc.? [closed]

She's a ______ beauty. My beauty is natural, hers is _________.

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