“The two groups peppered each other with pejorative terms.”

Based on what’s shown above, what is the best definition of pejorative?

Check your answer!

Choice A - Hostile in nature
Choice B - Endearing in nature
Choice C - Insulting or uncomplimentary
Choice D - Complimentary or flattering


Pejorative (adjective) – insulting, uncomplimentary (in language or speech); or expressing disapproval

Pejorative (noun) – an insulting or uncomplimentary statement

GRE pro tips:

The word pejorative is both an adjective and a noun having to do with negative or derogatory forms of expression. As an adjective, it means disapproving or insulting. Similarly, as a noun, a pejorative is the insulting (pejorative) word or phrase itself, which is used to show disapproval of something.

Examples of pejoratives (or, pejorative terms) include “tree-hugger,” a derogatory term for an environmental activist, and “beta male,” referring to a man who doesn’t adhere to dominant male stereotypes. Insulting terms such as these abound and, while they’re never nice, pejoratives do not rise to the level of slander—they are merely derogatory terms people use when trying to distance themselves from something or someone else.

Example sentences:

“Some people suggest that the classification ‘millennial’ has become a pejorative term, simply because this generation – like all generations – is associated with a few negative traits.”

“The lawyer took offense to the term ‘ambulance chaser;’ as a personal injury attorney he was especially piqued by the pejorative.”