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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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

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 formscon·no·ta·tive [kon-uh-tey-tiv, kuh-noh-tuh-] /ˈkɒn əˌteɪ tɪv, kəˈnoʊ tə-/, con·no·tive, adjectivecon·no·ta·tive·ly, con·no·tive·ly, adverbnon·con·no·ta·tive, adjectivenon·con·no·ta·tive·ly, adverbun·con·no·ta·tive, adjective

Synonyms for connotation Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for connotatively


  1. an association or idea suggested by a word or phrase; implication
  2. the act or fact of connoting
  3. logic another name for intension (def. 1)
Derived Formsconnotative (ˈkɒnəˌteɪtɪv, kəˈnəʊtə-) or connotive, adjectiveconnotatively or 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

Word Origin and History for connotatively



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

connotatively in Culture


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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.