Amelioration

Entertainment / Literature / Amelioration: A semantic change in which a word gains increasingly favorable connotation. For instance, the Middle English word knight used to mean 'servant' (as German Knecht still does). The word grew through amelioration to mean 'a servant of the king' and later 'a minor nobleman.' Similar amelioration affected the Anglo-Saxon word eorl, which becomes Modern English earl. The opposite term, pejoration, is a semantic change in which a word gains increasingly negative connotations.

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