Definition of denotation in English:

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Pronunciation: /diːnəʊˈteɪʃn/


1The literal or primary meaning of a word, in contrast to the feelings or ideas that the word suggests.
Example sentences
  • It is therefore perhaps best to say that a synonym is a word that shares the same denotation with another word.
  • In the Millian view, proper names have denotation, but not connotation.
  • In any case, it is a source of pride to our students and community, and just goes to show how the denotation of a word is only half the story…
1.1 [mass noun] The action of indicating or referring to something by means of a word, symbol, etc.
Example sentences
  • The denotation of the symbol I had little to no interest in; it was the initial R, and the heart drawn around it.
  • The mode of reference fundamental to symbol systems is denotation: characters denote, stand for items in the field of reference.
  • Poetic language is not merely the reversion of the direction Agamben identifies in the western experience of language, substituting a language of indication or denotation for a language of meaning.
1.2 Philosophy The object or concept to which a term refers, or the set of objects of which a predicate is true. Often contrasted with connotation.
Example sentences
  • According to Frege, while definitions should give the meanings and fix the denotations of terms, axioms should express truths.
  • All of these denotations involve philosophical complexities of absoluteness and are not relative or practical connotations.
  • Along the way, some figurative senses begin to associate themselves with ‘embed,’ but the denotations are always the same: The embedded substance is fixed, fast, surrounded, and cannot escape without extraction.



Example sentences
  • Hence, Goodman appears to analyze pictorial representation as an ambiguous concept, ambiguous, that is, between a denotational sense and a non-denotational sense (‘is a so-and-so-picture).’
  • ‘The inherent procedural consequences of any computer program give it a toehold in semantics, where the semantics in question is not denotational, but causal.’
  • He sees them as a second-order semiotic system built upon the principle of connotative meaning ‘engrafted onto a denotational level of meaning.’

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: de|nota¦tion

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