- 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.
- 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.
Origin of connotation
Synonyms for connotation
- an association or idea suggested by a word or phrase; implication
- the act or fact of connoting
- logic another name for intension (def. 1)
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."
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.”