the explicit or direct meaning or set of meanings of a word or expression, as distinguished from the ideas or meanings associated with it or suggested by it; the association or set of associations that a word usually elicits for most speakers of a language, as distinguished from those elicited for any individual speaker because of personal experience. Compare connotation.
a word that names or signifies something specific: “Wind” is the denotation for air in natural motion. “Poodle” is the denotation for a certain breed of dog.
the act or fact of denoting; indication.
something that denotes; mark; symbol.
the class of particulars to which a term is applicable.
that which is represented by a sign.

1525–35; < Latin dēnotātiōn- (stem of dēnotātiō) a marking out, equivalent to dēnotāt(us) (past participle of dēnotāre; see denote) + -iōn- -ion Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To denotation
World English Dictionary
denotation (ˌdiːnəʊˈteɪʃən)
1.  the act or process of denoting; indication
2.  a particular meaning, esp one given explicitly rather than by suggestion
3.  a.  referent Compare connotation something designated or referred to
 b.  another name for extension

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

1530s, from L. denotationem, noun of action from denotare (see denote). As a term in logic, from 1843.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
denotation [(dee-noh-tay-shuhn)]

The basic dictionary meaning of a word, without its connotations. For example, the denotation of the word modern is “belonging to recent times,” although the word may have different connotations.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
One chef simply lists each step in the flattest of language (“force the
  flesh loose”), a style Sennett calls “dead denotation.
When we say "free market" we don't mean the denotation of
  "doesn't cost anything" for that "free" part.
He wishes ``to challenge the politics of denotation and connotation'' in
  traditional ``heterocentric'' critical practice.
Your other suggestions again don't fit either the denotation or connotation of
  the statement.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature