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What are denotation and connotation?

Denotation is the specific idea or concept that a word or lexeme refers to; connotation describes additional properties: poetic, slang, casual, colloquial, formal, humorous, legal, literary, rhetorical, cultural, etc. - assumptions, overtones, and subjective interpretation. Another way of putting it is, a word's denotation is its primary or literal significance, whereas connotation is the range of secondary significance which a word commonly suggests. Denotation is the strict dictionary meaning of a word. Connotation is the emotional and imaginative association surrounding a word. Denotation and connotation are both important in order to determine word meaning in a given context. Dictionaries are more concerned with denotations than connotations. Connotations are really only handled for offensive or vulgar terms or meanings, which are noted with labels.

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