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pejoration

[pej-uh-rey-shuh n, pee-juh-] /ˌpɛdʒ əˈreɪ ʃən, ˌpi dʒə-/
noun
1.
depreciation; a lessening in worth, quality, etc.
2.
Historical Linguistics. semantic change in a word to a lower, less approved, or less respectable meaning.
Compare melioration (def 1).
Origin
1650-1660
1650-60; < Medieval Latin pējōrātiōn- (stem of pējōrātiō) a making worse, equivalent to Late Latin pējōrāt(us) (past participle of pējōrāre to make worse, derivative of pējor worse) + -iōn- -ion
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for pejoration

pejoration

/ˌpiːdʒəˈreɪʃən/
noun
1.
(linguistics) semantic change whereby a word acquires unfavourable connotations: the English word ``silly'' changed its meaning from ``holy'' or ``happy'' by pejoration Compare amelioration (sense 3)
2.
the process of worsening; deterioration
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pejoration
n.

1650s, noun of action from pejorate (see pejorative).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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