What's the word...
February 1, 2013 12:41 AM   Subscribe

What's the word for words that have more-or-less stopped being pollitcally correct?

Examples: Words like Eskimo/Oriental and baby/chick.

Bonus: What's a better word for "politically correct?" None of these words quite cut it.
posted by aniola to Writing & Language (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Derogatory? Taboo?
posted by littlesq at 12:46 AM on February 1, 2013

dictionary.reference.com uses the term "taboo" for that, though their threshold of sensitivity is a lot higher than yours. They also use "offensive".
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:10 AM on February 1, 2013

posted by mosk at 1:34 AM on February 1, 2013

The term political correctness is itself problematic, and hence "politically correct" and "politically incorrect" carry associations of censorship and the politburo, particularly to the many and several people who like using terms others disagree with, who see themselves as straight talkers or cultural rebels, or who just dislike being told what they can and can't say.

Depending on strength and context and who is doing the speaker, we use anachronistic, inappropriate, taboo, offensive and a whole lot of other words for politically incorrect. More commonly though, people just go straight for what kind of politically incorrect the term is. I.e. racist, sexist.

I don't think there is a better term for politically correct other than "appropriate" - which conveys both the sense that the word is used properly, and that it is used in line with social conventions of the time.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:37 AM on February 1, 2013 [12 favorites]

I think "socially conscious" might be used sometimes as an alternative to politically correct, though I don't know if it's better by the metric you're looking for.
posted by foxfirefey at 1:41 AM on February 1, 2013

posted by phaedon at 1:50 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

"Words that are now usually considered offensive."
posted by incandescentman at 1:55 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

It depends on the word - some words sound merely outdated now, whereas others have become considered offensive or slurs. I don;t think one term would cover it.
posted by mippy at 1:56 AM on February 1, 2013

In programming, the word deprecated is used to signify that a term is obsolete and that its use is discouraged. I could easily see this usage becoming part of mainstream English.
posted by pipeski at 2:19 AM on February 1, 2013 [14 favorites]

For the "non-pc" I like outmoded best, but antiquated, problematic, "not the accpeted term", dated, and similar all work.

For "pc" (a term which I avoid like the plague, since you never know what someone intends when they say, or what they understand when they hear it) I prefer "accepted" "better" or a phrase like "better described by" "more commonly known as" ... if someone says an outmoded/antiquated/problematic word in an innocent fashion, I will normally just carry the conversation on with them, and if I want to use the more accepted term in a sentence, then I repeat their outmoded word and say "or rather [better term]" and keep going on like nothing happened.
posted by molecicco at 2:32 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

I second pipeski's recommendation re "deprecated".

Can we call for a vote?
posted by she's not there at 2:42 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Euphemisms turned dysphemisms.
posted by seikleja at 5:36 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

One more vote for problematic.
posted by dysh at 8:01 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

I wouldn't use "antiquated" or "dated" because those don't necessarily address the social implications of using a word. I am not sure I have a better suggestion though! Gonna have to think about it.
posted by radioamy at 8:51 AM on February 1, 2013

archaic: of, relating to, or characteristic of an earlier or more primitive time.
posted by Rash at 8:58 AM on February 1, 2013

My vote is for "problematic" as well. It points out that there are problems with using the word/phrase, and is broad enough to include racist, sexist, outdated, or inaccurate terms.

For the terms that have replaced the problematic ones, I might say that a word or term is "more inclusive," or "more accurate," or "more commonly accepted today."
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:05 AM on February 1, 2013

"Outmoded" or "politically incorrect."
posted by John Cohen at 8:48 AM on February 3, 2013

And "taboo" isn't the right word. Something is taboo if it's not supposed to be talked about. It's better used to refer to off-limits topics, not offensive words.
posted by John Cohen at 8:50 AM on February 3, 2013

Many dictionaries use the term "obsolete" to describe words that are no longer in use and have been superseded by other words.
posted by OmieWise at 10:06 AM on February 4, 2013

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