connotation

noun
con·​no·​ta·​tion | \ ˌkä-nə-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce connotation (audio) \

Definition of connotation

1a : something suggested by a word or thing : implication the connotations of comfort that surrounded that old chair
b : the suggesting of a meaning by a word apart from the thing it explicitly names or describes
2 : the signification of something … that abuse of logic which consists in moving counters about as if they were known entities with a fixed connotation.— William Ralph Inge
3 : an essential property or group of properties of a thing named by a term in logic — compare denotation

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from connotation

connotational \ ˌkä-​nə-​ˈtā-​shnəl How to pronounce connotational (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

What’s the difference between connotation and denotation ?

Connotation and denotation are easily confused, and the fact that neither word is particularly common in everyday use makes it difficult for many people to get a firm grip on the difference between them. While each of these two words has several possible meanings, they are notably distinct from each other in all senses. Denotation is concerned with explicit meaning, and connotation tends to be concerned with implicit meaning. The word home, for instance, has a denotation of “the place (such as a house or apartment) where a person lives,” but it may additionally have many connotations (such as “warmth,” “security,” or “childhood”) for some people.

Examples of connotation in a Sentence

Miuccia Prada, a connoisseur of vintage jewelry, has a collection of tiaras and subverts their formal connotations by wearing them for the day. — Hamish Bowles, Vogue, March 1997 Suddenly, Hsun-ching brightened. "So this is propaganda?" Alison did not know that, in Chinese, the word for propaganda literally means to spread information, and does not carry any negative connotations. — Mark Salzman, The Laughing Sutra, 1991 The word "evolution," with its connotation of unrolling, of progressive development, was not favored by Darwin; he preferred the bleak phrase "descent with modification" for his theory. — John Updike, New Yorker, 30 Dec. 1985 a word with negative connotations For many people, the word “fat” has negative connotations. The word “childlike” has connotations of innocence.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The culture surrounding video games is often shrouded in stereotypes and negative connotations. Laurel Deppen, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville gamer startup is changing the negative stereotypes around video games," 9 Aug. 2019 For now, e-girl might just be a synonym for being young, female, and very online, and therefore tied to whatever connotations those things hold. Rebecca Jennings, Vox, "E-girls and e-boys, explained," 1 Aug. 2019 Also, the hippo’s symbolic connotations are particular—marrying laziness, fatness, hunger, and cuteness with an undercurrent of danger. Sophie Haigney, The New Yorker, "Should There Be an Emoji for Everything?," 22 July 2019 Unlike the explicitly Christian experiences of the Apollo astronauts, the overview effect is more of a spiritual phenomenon that is disconnected from any specific religious connotations. Daniel Oberhaus, WIRED, "Spaceflight and Spirituality, a Complicated Relationship," 16 July 2019 That’s why, according to Jungian theory, references to rivers, hats, ravens, or wheat, for instance, have held strikingly similar connotations in artwork, literature, and dreams, across cultures and through time. Lila Maclellan, Quartz at Work, "Get to know the symbolism in your daily commute," 11 July 2019 Why then has the word refugee acquired such negative connotations in our times? Angelina Jolie, Time, "Angelina Jolie: What We Owe Refugees," 19 June 2019 That’s because Shelton–who co-wrote the script with Mike O’Brien–cares more about interpersonal dynamics than any silly old sword, especially one with racist connotations. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Witty Banter Carries Sword of Trust to the Hilt," 11 July 2019 Their tattoos feature neo-Nazi connotations such as SS runic insignia. Michael Colborne, The New Republic, "Friday Night Fights With Ukraine’s Far Right," 9 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'connotation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of connotation

1532, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for connotation

see connote

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about connotation

Statistics for connotation

Last Updated

13 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for connotation

The first known use of connotation was in 1532

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for connotation

connotation

noun

English Language Learners Definition of connotation

: an idea or quality that a word makes you think about in addition to its meaning

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on connotation

What made you want to look up connotation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a haphazard or makeshift solution

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!