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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web There’s a connotation that FHA appraisers are picky about the quality of a house or that the sellers have to fix everything, but that’s not always the case,’’ Koss said. Real Estate, "Sellers dismiss loan programs that aid veterans and first-time home buyers," 11 Sep. 2019 Almost all of the images refer to religion, either overtly (some representations painted during the 19th and 20th centuries depict saints) or implicitly (certain battle scenes carry both historic and ritualistic connotations). Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Wildfires Are Destroying Bolivia’s Rock Art," 5 Sep. 2019 Forty minutes southeast of here sits Salvation Mountain, a vibrant folk-art installation with religious overtones and pop-culture connotations. Shawnté Salabert, Outside Online, "The Ultimate Joshua Tree National Park Travel Guide," 28 Oct. 2019 The original tweet received some heavy criticism in the comments section regarding a lack of cultural sensitivity and racist connotations on Silva's behalf, and the former Monaco star deleted his tweet and responded to the backlash., "Bernardo Silva Faces Racism Storm Over Tweet Aimed at Man City Teammate Benjamin Mendy," 22 Sep. 2019 At the 2018 game, during the UNA band’s halftime introduction, the reference to Dixie was dropped in apparent homage connotations to the word’s link to slavery and racist ideals. Josh Bean |, al, "Alabama A&M coach accuses UNA of poor hospitality, vows not to play Lions again," 17 Sep. 2019 The subtext of the outrage was this: A pre-existing political connotation automatically subsumes a frivolous but harmless one. Amanda Hess, New York Times, "United We Stan," 11 Sep. 2019 Rappers like Curry and the British throat-shredder Scarlxrd saw through nu-metal’s dated connotations to rediscover the power that lies at the center of heavy metal and rap’s rhythm. Los Angeles Times, "With new fans aboard, Korn shows how to metal in middle age," 10 Sep. 2019 So, with a disclaimer warning you that there are indeed a few naughty words dotted about in the coming list, here are five players whose names bare an unfortunate connotation somewhere else., "Lost in Translation: 5 Player Names That Mean Something Totally Different in a Foreign Language," 8 Sep. 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.

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First Known Use of connotation

1532, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for connotation

see connote

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Time Traveler for connotation

Time Traveler

The first known use of connotation was in 1532

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Statistics for connotation

Last Updated

3 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Connotation.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 12 December 2019.

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More Definitions for connotation


How to pronounce connotation (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of connotation

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

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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).


a period of high artistic development

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