Definition of connotation in English:



  • 1An idea or feeling which a word invokes for a person in addition to its literal or primary meaning.

    ‘the word ‘discipline’ has unhappy connotations of punishment and repression’
    mass noun ‘the work functions both by analogy and by connotation’
    • ‘Our society often attaches a negative connotation to the word ‘game.’’
    • ‘While these examples have obvious connotations, some words are ambiguous.’
    • ‘Leaving aside the religious connotations of the word, an idol in the realm of pop culture is someone that people look up to and engage with.’
    • ‘I use the word in its connotation of an unimpaired or uncorrupted state of affairs.’
    • ‘But, given the creative skills and imagination of our tinsel town copywriters, the word takes a different connotation altogether.’
    • ‘‘Sanctity’ is a word with a religious connotation; it means ‘holy or religiously sacred.’’
    • ‘The word is often used pejoratively and has similar negative connotations to the word ‘witch’ in medieval Europe.’
    • ‘The word carries serious negative connotations that stretch back to the days of colonial Africa.’
    • ‘Certainly, there are marked, and perhaps primary, political connotations to such myths.’
    • ‘They claim that they are cleansing the word of its negative connotations so that racists can no longer use it to hurt blacks.’
    • ‘The word home, for instance, by denotation means only a place where one lives, but by connotation it suggests security, love, comfort, and family.’
    • ‘Some of their words seemed to carry connotations that I was never able to recognize.’
    • ‘Ostensibly neutral, each of these words has a positive connotation in the American political lexicon.’
    • ‘In spite of the negative connotations contained in the word there are good meanings that should be pondered.’
    • ‘Thus the word carries a connotation of some physical use of the property by the tenant for the purposes of his business.’
    • ‘But the connotations of the word in English are not completely absent from these images.’
    • ‘‘Dilettante’ is not a word with a positive connotation in most circles, whereas ‘purist’ is, I think.’
    • ‘Like his other performance work, the idea is elegantly simple and full of connotation.’
    • ‘The author criticizes conservatives for attaching a negative connotation of the word ‘liberal’ which he says actually symbolizes progress.’
    • ‘The word carries connotations that we believe are out of keeping with our current knowledge about many kinds of kidney problems.’
    • ‘Wouldn't you have to abandon any swear words with sexual connotations to maintain a consistent position?’
    overtone, undertone, undercurrent, implication, hidden meaning, secondary meaning, nuance, flavour, feeling, aura, atmosphere, colouring, smack, hint, vein, echo, vibrations, association, intimation, suggestion, suspicion, insinuation
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    1. 1.1Philosophy The abstract meaning or intension of a term, which forms a principle determining which objects or concepts it applies to.
      Often contrasted with denotation
      • ‘Gone, too, were the essentially macho male connotations which had informed abstract expressionism, to be replaced by a new lyricism.’
      • ‘The term is useful because it is free from some of the acquired connotations of some other terms used for the same or a similar phenomenon.’
      • ‘Seemingly gender-neutral terms such as aggressive and professional have different connotations when applied to men and women.’
      • ‘Today the term rhetoric is generally used to refer only to the form of argumentation, often with the pejorative connotation that rhetoric is a means of obscuring the truth.’
      • ‘One connotation of the term is that the imbalance must be really serious or exceptional.’
      meaning, understanding, construal, reading, explanation, inference, conclusion, supposition
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Mid 16th century: from medieval Latin connotatio(n-), from connotare ‘mark in addition’ (see connote).