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denote vs. connote

denote vs. connote: What's the difference?

Denote means to indicate or to be a sign of. Connote means to signify or suggest. Thus, something that denotes is clearer and more straightforward, while something that connotes is subtler and more ambiguous. Think of a denotation as the direct meaning of a word or expression, while a connotation refers to its secondary or associated meanings.

[ dih-noht ]
verb (used with object),
  1. to be a mark or sign of; indicate: A fever often denotes an infection.
  2. to be a name or designation for; mean.
  3. to represent by a symbol, or to be a symbol for.
[ kuh-noht ]

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