Connotation Meaning

Bookmark added to your notes.
View Notes


The connotation is an expression or secondary meaning of a word, which is expressed by a word in addition to its primary meaning. It paints a picture or invokes a feeling. It is created when you mean something else, something that might be initially hidden. Words can be divided into negative, positive, and neutral connotations. A rich vocabulary allows you to choose the right words to express yourself. Choosing the right words is essential while you communicate. Although two words may have the same meaning, their connotations may vary. The words you choose significantly change the meaning of a sentence.

Connotation Definition

We can define connotation by an associated meaning of a word suggested apart from its explicit or primary meaning. The connotative meaning of a word is based on the shared emotional association with a word. Now, there can be either positive, negative, or neutral connotations. A connotation is an additional meaning to a word and the examples are endless. We have mentioned a few connotation examples below.

Connotation Examples

We learned above what is connotation now let us take a look at some connotation examples. Like we can say a possible connotation of “home” is “a place of warmth, comfort, and affection”. Again we have a colour blue, but it is also a word used to describe a feeling of sadness, as in ‘She is feeling blue.’. 

Below are a few connotation examples.

  • Strong, tough, sturdy, hard.

  • Proud, confident, arrogant, egotistical.

  • Childish, childlike, young, youthful.

  • Rich, loaded, privileged, wealthy, affluent.

  • Broke, destitute, impoverished.

  • Frugal, economical, stingy, cheap.

  • Tempting, attractive, interesting.

  • Liar, storyteller, fibber.

Negative Connotation

The negative connotation also called unfavourable connotation, is the word describing the negative qualities or the disabilities or are disrespectful of a person. It is a bad feeling or negative vibes that people get when hearing a specific word or phrase. It is a word whose connotation implies negative emotions and associations. In a sentence “the aroma of my grandmother’s cooking”, if we change “aroma” so that it now reads “the stench of my grandmother’s cooking,” the meaning changes completely. Both “aroma” and “stench” instead of having the same meaning smell, “stench” has a negative connotation, thus, the meal sounds much less appealing.


By logic, the connotation is roughly synonymous with intention. Connotation often differs from denotation, which is more or less synonymous with extension. Otherwise, the connotation of the word may be thought of as the set of all its possible meanings. The denotation of a word is the collection of things it refers to. Its connotation is what it implies about the things it is used to refer to. The denotation of a dog is (like) a four-legged canine carnivore. Hence saying, “You are a dog” would connote that you were bad rather than denoting you as a canine.

Importance Of Connotation

It is important to note that not all are solely ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ connotations, depending on how a word is used, it can connote different things. Thus, it is one of the most critical things to consider when it comes to word choice, both in literature and everyday conversation. The emotions or meanings associated with words can be everything. While writing or speaking, connotation places a style to clearly express one’s intentions. They can obtain certain emotions or reactions or help to provide distinct impressions of things. Mutually, choosing words with the wrong connotation can produce an undesired reaction or emotion and misrepresent one’s intentions.

Solved Examples

Q1: Give an example to explain the difference between positive and negative connotations.

Answer: Positive connotation: My new neighbour is a mature woman.

Negative connotation: My new neighbour is an elderly woman.

‘Mature’ conveys the connotation of dignified, whereas, ‘elderly’ sounds “old.”

Fun Facts

A stubborn person can be described as being either strong-willed or pig-headed. Though having the same meaning, there lies a difference in placing the words, strong-willed connotes applause for the level of someone’s will, whereas pig-headed connotes adamant behaviour and frustration in dealing with someone. It is often helpful to avoid words with strong connotations when striving to achieve a neutral point of view.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Question 1: What is the difference between Connotation and Denotation?

Answer: Connotation and Denotation are two primary methods of describing the meanings of words. It defines a vast array of positive and negative connections that most of the words naturally carry with them. In contrast, denotation is the precise, literal definition of a word that might be found in a dictionary. The connotation is an emotional and imaginative association surrounding a word, whereas denotation is the strict dictionary meaning of a word. Connotation represents the various social implications, cultural overtones, or emotional meanings associated with a word. Denotation represents the referential meaning of a word, the ‘dictionary definition.’

Question 2: What do you mean by the term double Entendre?

Answer: A double entendre is a word or phrase that has two meanings. Usually, one obvious meaning and one subtle meaning. It is a way of stating something so that it can be understood in two different ways, which makes it a top-rated tool in comedy. A typical comedy routine on television might include parents who create a double entendre so that their kids do not understand what they are talking about like for example, “Mom needs the medicine” actually means “Mom needs the wine.” The difference between a double entendre and a connotation is that a double entendre is usually an assigned meaning, while a connotation is an implied meaning.