pejoration

pejoration

[pej-uh-rey-shuhn, pee-juh-]
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:
1650–60; < 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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World English Dictionary
pejoration (ˌpiːdʒəˈreɪʃən)
 
n
1.  linguistics Compare amelioration semantic change whereby a word acquires unfavourable connotations: the English word ``silly'' changed its meaning from ``holy'' or ``happy'' by pejoration
2.  the process of worsening; deterioration

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