Definition of denote in English:



  • 1Be a sign of; indicate.

    ‘this mark denotes purity and quality’
    • ‘The council has carried out risk assessments on all restricted areas and has reopened nearly three-quarters of the pathways - identified by a pink sign denoting a right of way.’
    • ‘Removing one's footwear before entering a home or a temple before worship denotes a sign of respect, humility and submissiveness.’
    • ‘A high score on these indicators denotes more emotional support.’
    • ‘A globular point means safety, a conch shape represents fame, a bright yellow flame indicated no obstacles, a lotus and jewel like flame denotes wealth.’
    • ‘We have two ‘No Entry’ signs denoting that the road in question is now closed to vehicular traffic and a few paces away we have a gleaming new 50 km sign.’
    • ‘The shaven head denotes purity and egolessness and is said to mitigate past life karma.’
    • ‘Conversely the lighting of a candle may be symbolically significant if it denotes bringing of light, that is, relief from suffering or enlightenment.’
    • ‘The museum also houses the musical pillars, which, as the name denotes, produce a different sound when struck.’
    • ‘The dotted line with a question mark denotes the suggestion of Ahlrichs that Acanthocephala and Seisonida are sister groups.’
    • ‘These vases were called eheia, denoting their reverberative qualities.’
    • ‘Many of the hotels have German names denoting that the owners are Swiss of German origin.’
    • ‘Kildare County Council has agreed to erect signs denoting the twinning of Kildare with French town Corps Nuds.’
    • ‘Restructuring denotes the reorientation of firms into more efficient units, gaining competitiveness and fuelling growth.’
    • ‘It is signed P O'Neill denoting official sanction.’
    • ‘Their name was chosen to denote the feeling of being outcasts in society in terms of being musicians not geared towards a mainstream audience.’
    • ‘This is a beautiful metaphor that denotes visions of purity and unblemished perfection.’
    • ‘After materials had been returned, each participant was thanked and his or her credit slip was signed denoting participation.’
    • ‘I think a lot of people who are drawn to witchcraft sometimes will get a tattoo, or mark themselves in some way to denote a rite of passage or an experience.’
    • ‘Four pieces of missing homework did not, in Josh's opinion, denote a letter home, and all the hassle that entailed.’
    • ‘That's how bad it is - I've had to resort to multiple exclamation marks to denote sarcasm.’
    designate, indicate, be a sign of, be a mark of, signify, signal, symbolize, represent, stand for, mean
    suggest, point to, be evidence of, smack of, conjure up, bring to mind, indicate, show, reveal, demonstrate, intimate, imply, connote, convey, give away, betray
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Stand as a name or symbol for.
      ‘the level of output per firm, denoted by X’
      • ‘The menus have helpful symbols denoting hotness, low fat and vegetarian options.’
      • ‘The semantic job of sentences is to say something, which is not to be confused with naming or denoting some thing.’
      • ‘These included the circle, half-circle and various symbols denoting rain, animal footprints, clouds and travelling signs.’
      • ‘They used a decimal system and had symbols denoting, for example, 1, 10, and 100 cubits, and they had developed methods for multiplying and dividing.’
      • ‘X and Y aren't a formula; they're a pair of mathematical symbols used to denote an unknown quantity.’
      • ‘The main drawback of the Linnean system is that groups must be named with suffixes that denote their rank in this hierarchy.’
      • ‘For the second quarter in a row, the company has had an ‘e’ placed after its trading symbol, denoting a late filing of accounts.’
      • ‘Each month had a name, denoting some natural feature or event.’
      • ‘Sigma is the Greek symbol used to denote deviations from the mean.’
      • ‘Question marks denote instances where digit identity could not be assigned with certainty.’
      • ‘Now of course this comment is based on knowledge of our own decimal system which is a positional system with nine special symbols and a zero symbol to denote an empty place.’
      • ‘To avoid any misunderstandings, I will use the term symbol to denote elements of the set.’
      • ‘Next, each species or cultivar has a list of nurseries that sell it, with symbols denoting new entries, synonyms, awards of merit, variegation and so on.’
      • ‘Species are denoted by Greek letters and genes are denoted by numbers.’
      • ‘The names of the strains denote the place where the virus originated or was first isolated.’
      • ‘Plenty Coups, who did not write English, kept accounts on pieces of cardboard with drawings denoting customers' names and marks indicating the money they owed.’
      • ‘Dark blue indicates deep ocean basins, while light blue denotes shallow seas of the continental shelf.’
      • ‘Different stability regions are denoted by different symbols.’
      • ‘Bewildered, she attempted to fight her way across the hall to another large staircase, pulling out her schedule from a back jeans pocket and looking desperately around for signs denoting the halls.’
      • ‘In Courchevel, pay attention to the numbers after the name (which denote the height in metres).’
      represent, be a symbol of, stand for, be a sign of, exemplify
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For an explanation of the difference between denote and connote, see connote


Late 16th century (in the sense ‘be a sign of, mark out’): from French dénoter or Latin denotare, from de- ‘away, thoroughly’ + notare ‘observe, note’ (from nota ‘a mark’).