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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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Verbs or other words used just for animals

I've noticed there's a verb fressen in German whose meanings include "to eat" but it has an animal sense, i.e. ich esse, but Mein Hund fresse. Which leads me to ask these questions: Are ...
Derek's user avatar
  • 41
5 votes
2 answers
274 views

What is the city equivalent of 'hillbilly hell"?

As you may have already known, and for those of you who don't know, hillbilly hell is a term used to mock the countryside in the USA, with all of its perceived flaws (insular, racist, decaying ...). ...
Carl Warren's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
575 views

What is the origin of the Australian slang “pommers” to refer to English people? [duplicate]

What is the origin of the Australian slang “pommers” to refer to English people? (I’m uncertain as to the spelling) Why is this the term that is used?
TylerDurden's user avatar
-3 votes
2 answers
90 views

Is there a way to find out if a word is commendatory, derogatory/pejorative, or either? [closed]

Is there a way to find out if a word is commendatory, derogatory / pejorative, or either? Does any dictionary say that out explicitly, instead of requiring users to infer from the given senses? For ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 10k
0 votes
3 answers
908 views

Is it normal for women, or American women to use the word c*nt? Especially on public streams? [closed]

There is a particular Twitch streamer from a video game I played, MermaidonTap. If you subscribed and follow her, not all but most of her public streams, she uses "fuck" and a lot of the ...
Sunie's user avatar
  • 11
2 votes
1 answer
863 views

What do you call someone who is being mean, but sounds and looks like they are being nice? [closed]

What do you call it when someone is being back-handed in a way that looks and sounds nice outrightly but is intended to be mean? Passive-aggressive is too obvious. The equivalent to Bless her heart. ...
Melinda's user avatar
  • 21
1 vote
4 answers
192 views

What's a formal-noun that means an unprincipled, unpleasant person?

I am trying to find a word that can be used in formal situations for referring to an unprincipled, unpleasant person. I'm looking for a more formal or civil way to say this, rather than the uncivil “...
Bob Dobbs's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
2k views

What do you call a person who is resistant to new technology [duplicate]

Does a word exist that describes someone who is either a) resistant to, b) afraid of, or c) refuses to learn new technology?
user463542's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
226 views

Is there a single word meaning "a repulsive or loathsome person"?

Does the English language have any words in present use that would be synonymous with the figurative sense of the now obsolete mesel, 'a repulsive or loathsome person'? I am well aware of the tons of ...
lly's user avatar
  • 10.3k
2 votes
1 answer
726 views

Is 'peasant' generally considered derogatory?

Is peasant when used in general to describe a modern socioeconomic class considered to be derogatory? Apparently there is no issue when talking about European history... I read in the Brtitannica ...
Cascabel_StandWithUkraine_'s user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
27 views

What word would best describe this scenario (giving a true but evasive answer)? [duplicate]

What could be the word to best describe this following scenario: Parent 1: Why did you give the child a high-sugar drink when I specifically asked you not too? Parent 2: It's fine everybody, the ...
user1946932's user avatar
23 votes
6 answers
5k views

“pig book” – when, where & why has a booklet of college students with photos been called a “pig book”?

I’m wondering how widespread geographically and in time was the usage of calling a paper “face book” (list of 1st year college students with photos, hometown & dorm room) a “pig book”, and what ...
David H Couch's user avatar
-3 votes
1 answer
195 views

When an African-American hero says 'enough already, you are asking too much of me'

Is there a phrase that expresses the rebellion of the "native" troops protesting yet another battle against daunting odds when they have already proven themselves to be beyond compare... ...
Cascabel_StandWithUkraine_'s user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
80 views

Grants distribution but with pejorative connotation [closed]

Is there a bitter phrase that signals pejorative connotations when talking about grants distribution? Unfortunately, grants system is not perfect and can be abused by irresponsible people who suck-up ...
IlliakaillI's user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
375 views

Less politically problematic alternative to 'princess' or 'snowflake'

I'm looking for a word to use in a self-deprecating context meaning 'overly sensitive or precious'. I ordinarily might say: I'm going to sound like a princess here or I'm going to be a snowflake ...
dwjohnston's user avatar
  • 11.2k
12 votes
3 answers
6k 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 ...
Geoffrey's user avatar
  • 1,498
9 votes
3 answers
2k 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 ...
Sven Yargs's user avatar
  • 165k
2 votes
1 answer
173 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'?
EleventhDoctor's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
335 views

Is Jester word derogatory? [closed]

Jester means professional fool. Fool is a bad word. Is Jester word derogatory?
Marion Jeff's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
2k 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 ...
Matt2infinity's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
1k 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 ...
Rusty Brooklyn's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
116 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 ...
user3653831's user avatar
  • 1,133
-2 votes
1 answer
326 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 ...
pilti's user avatar
  • 119
5 votes
12 answers
8k 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 ...
user3653831's user avatar
  • 1,133
1 vote
1 answer
472 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 ...
Edward.Lin's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
189 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'...
A. Kvåle's user avatar
  • 2,147
-1 votes
2 answers
923 views

What are the differences between Vitriol, Vituperation, 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 ...
TLo's user avatar
  • 215
15 votes
11 answers
3k views

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 ...
Avrohom Yitzchok's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
838 views

Is prolific an approving word or neutral word? [closed]

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 ...
ZaneHsu's user avatar
  • 390
0 votes
2 answers
501 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 ...
Vigneswara Prabhu's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
206 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 ...
Matt Bartlett's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
546 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 ...
Sasan's user avatar
  • 3,462
2 votes
1 answer
244 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. ...
B. Clay Shannon-B. Crow Raven's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
114 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 ...
grandtout's user avatar
  • 1,736
2 votes
0 answers
1k 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 ...
got trolled too much this week's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
84 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 ...
Susan's user avatar
  • 9
14 votes
4 answers
7k 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 ...
Mari-Lou A's user avatar
  • 91.8k
1 vote
2 answers
97 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. § ...
DevSolar's user avatar
  • 799
1 vote
1 answer
1k 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 ...
rugk's user avatar
  • 137
1 vote
2 answers
139 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 ...
Jack Of Blades's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
662 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 ...
Jitesh Gawali's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
891 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. ...
Cascabel_StandWithUkraine_'s user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
313 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. ...
luchonacho's user avatar
  • 2,211
0 votes
1 answer
2k 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 ...
Prahlad Yeri's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
Adam's user avatar
  • 41
2 votes
5 answers
1k 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-...
CaptainCodeman's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
3k 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 ...
Pteromys's user avatar
  • 375
7 votes
17 answers
13k 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 ...
dosenfant's user avatar
  • 203
1 vote
1 answer
54 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 ...
tryingtofindtherightphrase's user avatar
12 votes
4 answers
2k 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 ...
rumtscho's user avatar
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