AskDefine | Define derisive

Dictionary Definition

derisive adj : abusing vocally; expressing contempt or ridicule; "derisive laughter"; "a jeering crowd"; "her mocking smile"; "taunting shouts of `coward' and `sissy'" [syn: gibelike, jeering, mocking, taunting]

User Contributed Dictionary



From the participle stem of etyl la derideo.


  • a UK /dɪˈɹaɪ.sɪv/, /dI"raI.sIV/
  • a US /dɪˈɻaɪ.sɪv/|/dɪˈɻaɪ.zɪv/


  1. Expressing or characterized by derision; mocking; ridiculing.
    The critics review of the film was derisive.
  2. Deserving or provoking derision or ridicule.
    The plot of the film was so derisive that the audience began to jeer.

Derived terms

Related terms


expressing or characterized by derision; mocking
  • Hungarian: gúnyos, gúnyolódó
  • Icelandic: háðslegur, háðsleg, háðslegt
  • Polish: szyderczy , drwiący
deserving or provoking derision
  • Hungarian: gúnyos, gúnyolódó


Extensive Definition

Words and phrases are pejorative if they imply disapproval or contempt. The adjective pejorative is synonymous with derogatory, derisive, dyslogistic, and contemptuous. When used as an adjective, pejorative has two meanings: (1) tending to make or become worse, and (2) tending to disparage or belittle. When used as a noun, pejorative means "a belittling or disparaging word or expression".
Pejorative expressions that are not inherently dyslogisms may also be used in a non-pejorative way, however, and determining the intent of the speaker is problematic — as with any implied meaning. Conversely, a common rhetorical ploy is to apply "pejorative" to a factual descriptor — as "toxic" might be applied to poison — and then decry it as "pejorative" to suit the agenda of those defending the substance as harmless.
Not every instance of criticism is pejorative.
Sometimes a term may begin as a pejorative word and eventually be adopted in a non-pejorative sense. This happened with the terms Quaker, Yankee, Okie, Tory and Whig, Ham radio operator, Methodist, Shaker, Unitarian and Sooner which were originally slang insults but came to be used as non-pejorative standard words. In historical linguistics, this phenomenon is known as melioration, or amelioration. Sometimes a term is still considered as a pejorative word by some but not by others. In other cases, some groups have attempted to reclaim formerly offensive words applied against them, with limited success. Such terms as nigger (nigga), "kike", redneck, cracker, white trash, Redskin, dyke, queer, fairy, faggot, tranny, geek, nerd, Paki, chav, or cripple are considered pejorative if used by one who is not a member of the group in question. British English also incorporates many British regional slurs.
derisive in Czech: Pejorativní
derisive in Danish: Pejorativ
derisive in German: Pejoration
derisive in Spanish: Peyorativo
derisive in French: Péjoratif
derisive in Hebrew: כינוי גנאי
derisive in Hungarian: Pejoratív jelző
derisive in Dutch: Pejoratief
derisive in Simple English: Pejorative
derisive in Slovak: Pejoratívum
derisive in Serbian: Пејоратив
derisive in Chinese: 貶義

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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