[ kon-uh-tey-shuhn ]
See synonyms for: connotationconnotationsconnotative on

    • 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.”

    • 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.

  1. 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.

Origin of connotation

First recorded 1375–1425, for an earlier sense, 1525–35 for current senses; late Middle English connotacion, from Medieval Latin connotātiōn-, stem of connotātiō “a noting, marking with,” equivalent to connotāt(us) “marked with” (past participle of connotāre “to note in addition to, mark along with”; see connote ) + -iō -ion

Other words for connotation

Other words from connotation

  • con·no·ta·tive [kon-uh-tey-tiv, kuh-noh-tuh-], /ˈkɒn əˌteɪ tɪv, kəˈnoʊ tə-/, con·no·tive, adjective
  • con·no·ta·tive·ly, con·no·tive·ly, adverb
  • non·con·no·ta·tive, adjective
  • non·con·no·ta·tive·ly, adverb
  • un·con·no·ta·tive, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use connotation in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for connotation


/ (ˌkɒnəˈteɪʃən) /

  1. an association or idea suggested by a word or phrase; implication

  2. the act or fact of connoting

  1. logic another name for intension (def. 1)

Derived forms of connotation

  • connotative (ˈkɒnəˌteɪtɪv, kəˈnəʊtə-) or connotive, adjective
  • connotatively 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

Cultural definitions for connotation


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.