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 But this summer, forget the peroxide-blonde connotation, and consider lifting your dark strands just a tinge to a softer, golden brown. Megan Decker,, "Salma Hayek’s New Sun-Kissed Highlights Are Summer Hair Goals," 18 June 2020 Schaaf condemned the incidents on Twitter, saying the city will not tolerate having symbols of racial injustice and reports that they were meant for exercise don't excuse their connotation. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "Man claims 'nooses' found in park are exercise equipment after city launches hate crime investigation," 18 June 2020 There is, however, a connotation around the world that Black women are prostitutes. Jacqueline Gifford, Travel + Leisure, "Pilot and Explorer Kellee Edwards on Solo Travel, Meeting New People, and Seeing the World As a Black Woman," 5 June 2020 The family is leaning into the flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants connotation. Esther Mobley,, "Bricoleur, the Sonoma County winery that opened in the middle of a pandemic," 3 June 2020 Although many understand the religious connotations behind Easter, there is much mystery behind the Easter Bunny himself. Annie O’sullivan, Woman's Day, "How to Track The Easter Bunny, Which Will Keep Your Kids Entertained For Hours," 4 Apr. 2020 And At Arm's Length, a dry-hopped India Pale Lager, already was out from Great Raft Brewing in Louisiana, but takes on new connotation with social-distancing regulations. Marc Bona, cleveland, "Jeni’s creates ‘Sunshine’ ice cream while breweries’ beers adopt stay-at-home order names," 10 May 2020 Remove the negative connotation from the common punishment, says Dr. Randazzo. Dallas News, "How to stay mentally grounded during a pandemic," 17 Apr. 2020 Despite its revolutionary connotations, the manifesto was originally a conservative form. Jennifer Szalai, New York Times, "Feminism Means a Lot of Things, and This Book Contains Them All," 15 Apr. 2020

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

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The first known use of connotation was in 1532

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Statistics for connotation

Last Updated

7 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Connotation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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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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