Definition of connote in English:



[with object]
  • 1(of a word) imply or suggest (an idea or feeling) in addition to the literal or primary meaning.

    ‘the term ‘modern science’ usually connotes a complete openness to empirical testing’
    • ‘The word connotes secrecy and duplicity, but the perpetrators have been completely up front and honest about their goals and about their motives.’
    • ‘This can be seen as a welcome development, since the term ‘administrative’ used to connote the notion of a close, perhaps too close, link with the relevant government department.’
    • ‘The term connotes any subgroup that has traditionally been underrepresented in substance abuse prevention and treatment.’
    • ‘Their very name connotes hope, and engagement with the culture around them.’
    • ‘Certainly the term connotes intervention by some intelligent agent.’
    • ‘The latter term connotes a reform which is designed to return an institution to its original purpose, from which it has fallen away.’
    • ‘This word connotes a single letter or a word and also compound meanings.’
    • ‘Does this term connote the subjective and self-serving claims of the mission planners, or the foreseeable objective consequences of a particular mission?’
    • ‘The term connotes a relationship with the Almighty that is as real as a piece of matter that can be actually held in hand.’
    • ‘Originally, this word connoted precisely the opposite of what it has come to mean.’
    • ‘It is in these two paragraphs that the reference to the phrase ‘international standards’ is used, although without elucidation of what the term connotes or how it is defined.’
    • ‘While connoting a contempt for personal attacks, the term also reflects a reality: the political platforms of candidates are no longer the main focus of the electorate and the media.’
    • ‘While this term connotes an image of a student that wavers from the norm, the research shows that most community college students are nontraditional in some sense, and, therefore, are the norm.’
    • ‘The first five terms above, included in the index, connote a feeling of being emotionally unsettled, off-balance or anxious, which are standard reactions to stressful events.’
    • ‘There is a sense in which the word person is merely the singular form of people and in which both terms connote no more than membership in a certain biological species.’
    • ‘This position does not make critical theorists moral skeptics, at least insofar as that term connotes a negative or irrational quality.’
    • ‘It consists mostly of ‘jaspilite,’ an unofficial term connoting rock with highly folded, alternating bands of black hematite and red jasper.’
    • ‘But there are differences between straights and gays, as connoted by the word most homosexuals use to identify themselves.’
    • ‘Almost always used by outsiders rather than inhabitants of the communities so labeled, the term connoted both poverty and deviance.’
    • ‘The denial of ‘political’ agendas is a standard trope, especially under authoritarian regimes where the word connotes divisive haggling against the interests of the united people.’
    imply, suggest, indicate, signify, have overtones of, have undertones of, hint at, give a feeling of, have an aura of, have an atmosphere of, give the impression of, smack of, be associated with, allude to
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    1. 1.1 (of a fact) imply as a consequence or condition.
      ‘spinsterhood connoted failure’
      • ‘The Minister compares a genuine life sentence, which connotes seriousness of offending and proper punishment, with the fact that someone is embarrassed about a past offence.’
      • ‘Their refusal to denounce these measures can only connote approval.’
      • ‘It is, however, open to question whether this fact connotes dissimilarity of attitudes on the part of the spouses.’
      • ‘It is both a human construction as well as a ‘fact’ that connotes something more solid.’
      • ‘We do not deny the miraculous conception; we accept the virgin birth with all that this fact connotes and implies.’
      • ‘By contrast, a cave of concrete would connote fear.’
      • ‘However, that fact doesn't connote sinister forces at work.’
      • ‘The establishment of the bureau does not connote a new-found official concern over the shocking conditions facing coal miners.’
      • ‘Does merely being gay connote political advocacy?’


Connote does not mean the same as denote. Whereas denote refers to the literal, primary meaning of something, connote refers to other characteristics suggested or implied by that thing. Thus, one might say that a word like motherdenotes ‘a woman who is a parent’ but connotes qualities such as protection and affection


Mid 17th century: from medieval Latin connotare ‘mark in addition’, from con- ‘together with’ + notare ‘to note’ (from nota ‘a mark’).