Definition of connotation in English:


Syllabification: con·no·ta·tion
Pronunciation: /ˌkänəˈtāSHən


  • 1An idea or feeling that a word invokes in addition to its literal or primary meaning: the word “discipline” has unhappy connotations of punishment and repression the work functions both by analogy and by connotation
    More example sentences
    • 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.
    • Wouldn't you have to abandon any swear words with sexual connotations to maintain a consistent position?
    • The word carries serious negative connotations that stretch back to the days of colonial Africa.
    overtone, undertone, undercurrent, implication, hidden meaning, nuance, hint, echo, vibrations, association, intimation, suggestion, suspicion, insinuation
  • 1.1 Philosophy The abstract meaning or intension of a term, which forms a principle determining which objects or concepts it applies to. Often contrasted with denotation.
    More example sentences
    • Seemingly gender-neutral terms such as aggressive and professional have different connotations when applied to men and women.
    • 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.
    • One connotation of the term is that the imbalance must be really serious or exceptional.


mid 16th century: from medieval Latin connotatio(n-), from connotare 'mark in addition' (see connote).

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