1. A term in PHILOLOGY and SEMANTICS that refers to a complex word whose meaning is ‘lower’ than that of its base: princeling, a minor or very young prince.
2. A term in LINGUISTICS and lexicography that refers to an expression, tone, or style that serves to devalue, disparage, or dismiss the subject being talked or written about: illiterate is pejorative when used to describe people who can read and write, but not to a level acceptable to the speaker (What an illiterate scrawl!); Dago, a pejorative nickname that distances and devalues people from or in Iberia and Latin America. Compare DEROGATORY.
pe·jo·ra·tive / pəˈjôrətiv; ˈpejəˌrātiv/ • adj. expressing contempt or disapproval: permissiveness is used almost universally as a pejorative term.• n. a word expressing contempt or disapproval.DERIVATIVES: pe·jo·ra·tive·ly adv.ORIGIN: late 19th cent.: from French péjoratif, -ive, from late Latin pejorare ‘make worse,’ from Latin pejor ‘worse.’