While terms with a negative connotation are available for the discussion of many subjects (such as referring to an automobile as a jalopy) this article is limited to disparaging terms for people. Likewise, this article is limited to discussion of the English language.
Many disparaging terms are synecdoches, such as mick, paddy, and taig, all of which are derived from Irish first names and are applied disparagingly to Irish people. Synecdoches can range from barely pejorative (e.g., referring to businesspeople as suits) to inflammatory (e.g. referring to German-speaking people as Nazis).
When applied to people, abbreviations are often regarded as disparaging. Referring to a Pakistani as a paki, a Japanese person as a jap, an Aborigine as an abo, or an Inuit as a skimo (short for Eskimo) are some examples.
Other terms of disparagement are based upon sarcasm (such as sahib in reference to Indians), metaphor (as in the basis of the term white trash), metalepsis (as in the term wetback), zoomorphism (a partial basis for the slur porch monkey) or other figures of speech.
Terms of disparagement also may combine figures of speech. For example, the term yid is an abbreviation of Yiddish and is as a synecdoche applied to Jews who neither speak Yiddish nor have a strong connection to Ashkenazi culture.
Some disparaging terms have been appropriated by some members of the demographic group they describe. The usage of these terms, including discussion about who can use them and when, is a subject of hot debate in many arenas