What is Connotation? A connotation is an often understood, generally accepted cultural or personal association that any particular word or term conveys, as well as its literal or denotation, which is essentially its meaning.

When used in a sentence, a word or term conveys not only its meaning but also the meaning of the entire statement, or, at least, the implied meaning.

This is called a “connotation shift” and it can occur when words are placed into the sentence to convey their meaning but without changing the meaning of the rest of the sentence.



What Is Connotation?

Connotation is the negative or positive meaning of a word, which may be based on personal experience.

For instance, the word “cute” can have different connotations for different people. However, generally it would be considered a positive term.

In contrast, the word “foul” could have both negative and positive connotations depending on how we view things such as clothing or food that are dirty.



What Is Connotation?

The word “connotation” is often used to describe the associations and emotions that come with a single word. For example, when someone says “dog,” you might think of a cute little puppy or your adorable pet.

When someone says “spider,” most people would immediately think of something creepy or scary.

Connotation is a word or phrase’s implied meaning. It can be positive, negative, or neutral depending on the words used to describe it.

What Is Connotation

For example, when you say “snow,” most people immediately think about cold weather and snowflakes falling from the sky in wintertime.

The word snow has positive associations for many people because it means Christmas time and skiing vacations with friends.

On the other hand, some people might associate snow with shoveling their car out after school while others may have negative memories associated with it such as getting stuck in traffic during a blizzard on their way home.

What’s The Difference Between Connotation And Denotation?

Have you ever found yourself wondering what the difference between denotation and connotation is? If so, we can help!

Denotation is the literal or dictionary definition of a word while connotation refers to an idea that is associated with a specific word. For example, when someone says “cat,” some people might think of a cute furry pet, whereas others may think of something gross like hairballs.

The words “connotation” and “denotation” are often used interchangeably, but they actually mean two different things.

Connotation is the emotional or figurative meaning of a word, while denotation is the literal or dictionary definition of a word.


When someone says “I’m feeling blue,” it’s not just because their favorite team lost; it also has to do with connoting sadness and melancholy.

Denotation is a word’s literal meaning and connotation is how it can be interpreted based on context.

These two concepts may seem straightforward, but knowing the difference between them can help you better understand how to communicate with people effectively.

Unlike denotation, connotation refers to the emotional or symbolic meaning that is associated with a word.

Examples Of Connotation In A Sentence

“He had an apple.”

A person might infer that this sentence refers to someone who was carrying an apple when they were called upon for their opinion. Another person might think it refers to someone who just ate an apple and did not have any more apples left in their bag.

A third person might think it describes someone with a red face and bulging eyes, due to having eaten too many apples at once.

The word “spaghetti” conjures up thoughts of noodles served in a tomato sauce with meatballs and grated cheese, doesn’t it? But what about the connotation that spaghetti is easy to make and tasty? Or that it’s an Italian dish.

Those are all connotations. Connotation is when words have more than one meaning or association.

The dictionary definition for “connotation” says either something associated with a person or thing (usually favorable) or a secondary meaning of a word.

The word connotation is the meaning that goes beyond what a word literally means. It is the implication of a word’s associations, which may vary from its denotations.

First Known Use Of Connotation

One of the first known use of the term, according to Merriam-Webster, was in 1856.

According to another source, one first known use of the word connotation was in 1769 as an adjective and meant to “connote” something.

Its also important to mention William Taylor, who wrote an important article entitled “On the Connotative Sense of Words” in 1802.

History And Etymology For Connotation

The word connotation comes from the Latin, connote, meaning to associate or connect. In its original sense, it referred to a process by which one thing is associated with another.

The history of connotation goes back as far as Greek philosophy. The Greeks believed that words had two parts: their literal meaning (denotation) and their figurative meaning (connotation).


For example, take the word “savage.” Denotation refers to its literal definition-a person who possesses great ferocity or violence; one who lives outside the bounds of civilized society.

Connotation, on the other hand, abides by cultural norms and societal values before arriving at a final understanding.


Choose A Word With A Positive Connotation

The word “exercise” may sound like a chore, but it is actually something that we should be doing every day. It’s not just for people who want to lose weight or get toned abs; exercise has many health benefits and should be enjoyed by everyone.

“The word ‘exercise’ has a positive connotation for many people.

Exercise is good for you, it feels great, and it makes you feel accomplished.

Our culture is so focused on the negative that it’s hard to find a word with a positive connotation.

The word “exercise” can be very stressful, but when you think of it as an opportunity to get in shape and feel better about yourself, exercising becomes something that you want to do more often!