pejorative vs. derogatory

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Senior Member
Could someone please enlighten me what the difference of the two words between pejorative and derogatory? I am still not clear about the definitions as below from Cambridge Learners' Dictionary.

For example, Make sure students realise that 'fat' is an unflattering or pejorative word.

If I replace pejorative with derogatory in the above sentence, is it wrong or there is something missing?

adj formal disapproving or suggesting that something is not good or is of no importance

derogatory adj
showing strong disapproval and not showing respect

Many thanks!
  • e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I would imagine that most English speakers (excluding members of this forum!) would not understand pejorative, although I would expect many more to understand derogatory.
    I agree, interchangeable in particular contexts; somedictionaries use the one to define the other, suggesting that an expression maybe both, but the Cambridge distinction is interesting:
    Pejorative: formal, not good, of no importance (LL.pejorare=make worse)
    Derogatory: strong not showing respect (L. derogare=diminish,disparage detract, et al.)

    Take your pick: disparaging, denigratory, deprecatory,defamatory, slanderous, libelous, abusive, insulting, slighting. Yes, Englishis actually a dialect of Latin.
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