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[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
1. undertone, implication, import. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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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 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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