9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[kon-uh-tey-shuh n] /ˌkɒn əˈteɪ ʃən/
  1. the associated or secondary meaning of a word or expression in addition to its explicit or primary meaning: A possible connotation of “home” is “a place of warmth, comfort, and affection.”.
  2. the act of connoting; the suggesting of an additional meaning for a word or expression, apart from its explicit meaning.
something suggested or implied by a word or thing, rather than being explicitly named or described:
“Religion” has always had a negative connotation for me.
Logic. the set of attributes constituting the meaning of a term and thus determining the range of objects to which that term may be applied; comprehension; intension.
Compare denotation.
Origin of connotation
late Middle English
1375-1425 for earlier sense; 1525-35 for current senses; late Middle English connotacion < Medieval Latin connotātiōn- (stem of connotātiō), equivalent to connotāt(us) (past participle of connotāre to connote; see -ate1) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
[kon-uh-tey-tiv, kuh-noh-tuh-] /ˈkɒn əˌteɪ tɪv, kəˈnoʊ tə-/ (Show IPA),
connotive, adjective
connotatively, connotively, adverb
nonconnotative, adjective
nonconnotatively, adverb
unconnotative, adjective
2. undertone, implication, import. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for connotations
  • It tested parents' tolerance of ambiguity, since it lacked strong gender connotations.
  • Because words have meaning, and that particular word carries some pretty dangerous connotations in an educational context.
  • In banking, however, the word has less pleasant connotations.
  • It simply gives false connotations as to what these events are.
  • It's as if he wants to distance himself from the connotations of that word.
  • As that remark suggests, antebellum beards bristled with political connotations.
  • Its algorithms examine the messages' content to identify their topics, whether their references have good or bad connotations.
  • It comes across as unbelievably misogynistic because as opposed to science, it presents societal connotations.
  • He would have rejected the label of magician because it might have had dark connotations to him.
  • IN contrast to politics, in the world of entrepreneurs, going public has fabulously positive connotations.
British Dictionary definitions for connotations


an association or idea suggested by a word or phrase; implication
the act or fact of connoting
(logic) another name for intension (sense 1)
Derived Forms
connotative (ˈkɒnəˌteɪtɪv; kəˈnəʊtə-), connotive, adjective
connotatively, connotively, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for connotations



1530s, from Medieval Latin connotationem (nominative connotatio), from connotat-, past participle stem of connotare "signify in addition to the main meaning," a term in logic, literally "to mark along with," from Latin com- "together" (see com-) + notare "to mark" (see note).

A word denotes its primary meaning, its barest adequate definition -- father denotes "one that has begotten." A word connotes the attributes commonly associated with it -- father connotes "male sex, prior existence, greater experience, affection, guidance."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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connotations in Culture

connotation definition

The meaning that a word suggests or implies. A connotation includes the emotions or associations that surround a word. For example, the word modern strictly means “belonging to recent times,” but the word's connotations can include such notions as “new, up to date, experimental.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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