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

Essential Meaning of connotation

: an idea or quality that a word makes you think about in addition to its meaning a word with negative/positive connotations For many people, the word "fat" has negative connotations. The word "childlike" has connotations of innocence.

Full 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

Other Words from connotation

connotational \ ˌkä-​nə-​ˈtā-​shnəl How to pronounce connotation (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 Many were quick to point out that the Carrie necklace gave the script necklace a new connotation—the style became associated with an HBO show and its TV appearance muddied the cultural connections to Black, Latin, and Arabic communities. Kristen Bateman, Vogue, 21 Dec. 2021 Something like doomscrolling, but without the negative connotation. Sebastian Blanco, Car and Driver, 11 Dec. 2021 In 2020, the top term used by business leaders had a negative or neutral connotation in 29 out of 52 weeks. Fortune, 8 Dec. 2021 Does pleading the Fifth have a negative connotation? Paul Leblanc, CNN, 6 Dec. 2021 Harlan understands the negative connotation that can come with the V-word. Georgann Yara, The Arizona Republic, 3 Dec. 2021 This connotation ended in the 1800s when Queen Victoria dressed her son in a sailor suit for a royal event and the marine motif took off. Shivani Vyas, Better Homes & Gardens, 10 Nov. 2021 Aside from the sentimental connotation, Hanks had scaled back on regional interviews in the years prior. Scott King, Forbes, 12 Oct. 2021 However, other testimonies offered different viewpoints, like resident Michael Vogel, who believes Canton should not retain the Warrior name and should remove itself of all Native American connotation. Isabella Chan,, 13 Aug. 2021

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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Last Updated

9 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Connotation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2022.

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