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A connotation is a commonly understood
cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English; American and British English spelling differences#-our, -or, see spelling diff ...

cultural
or
emotional Emotions are psychological state A mental state is a state of mind that an agent is in. Most simplistically, a mental state is a mental condition. It is a relation that connects the agent with a proposition. Several of these states are a combi ...
association that any given word or phrase carries, in addition to its explicit or literal
meaning Meaning most commonly refers to: * Meaning (linguistics), meaning which is communicated through the use of language * Meaning (philosophy), definition, elements, and types of meaning discussed in philosophy * Meaning (non-linguistic), a general ter ...
, which is its
denotation The denotation of a word is its central sense A sense is a biological system used by an organism for sensation, the process of gathering information about the world and responding to Stimulus (physiology), stimuli. (For example, in the human bod ...
. A connotation is frequently described as either positive or negative, with regard to its pleasing or displeasing emotional connection. For example, a stubborn person may be described as being either ''strong-willed'' or ''pig-headed''; although these have the same literal meaning (''stubborn''), ''strong-willed'' connotes admiration for the level of someone's will (a positive connotation), while ''pig-headed'' connotes frustration in dealing with someone (a negative connotation).


Usage

"Connotation" branches into a mixture of different meanings. These could include the contrast of a word or phrase with its primary,
literal Literal may refer to: * Interpretation of legal concepts: ** Strict constructionism ** The plain meaning rule (a.k.a. "literal rule") * Literal (mathematical logic), certain logical roles taken by propositions * Literal (computer programming ...
meaning (known as a
denotation The denotation of a word is its central sense A sense is a biological system used by an organism for sensation, the process of gathering information about the world and responding to Stimulus (physiology), stimuli. (For example, in the human bod ...
), with what that word or phrase specifically denotes. The connotation essentially relates to how anything may be associated with a word or phrase; for example, an implied value, judgement or feelings.


Logic

In
logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning. Informal logic seeks to characterize Validity (logic), valid arguments informally, for instance by listing varieties of fallacies. Formal logic represents statements and ar ...

logic
and
semantics Semantics (from grc, σημαντικός ''sēmantikós'', "significant") is the study of reference Reference is a relationship between objects in which one object designates, or acts as a means by which to connect to or link to, another ...
, ''connotation'' is roughly synonymous with ''
intension In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic ...

intension
''. Connotation is often contrasted with ''
denotation The denotation of a word is its central sense A sense is a biological system used by an organism for sensation, the process of gathering information about the world and responding to Stimulus (physiology), stimuli. (For example, in the human bod ...
'', which is more or less synonymous with '' extension''. Alternatively, the connotation of the word may be thought of as the set of all its possible referents (as opposed to merely the actual ones). A word's ''denotation'' is the collection of things it refers to; its connotation is what it implies about the things it is used to refer to. The connotation of dog is (something like) four-legged canine carnivore. So saying, "You are a dog" would ''connote'' that you were ugly or aggressive rather than literally ''denoting'' you as a canine.


Related terms

It is often useful to avoid words with strong connotations (especially
pejorative A pejorative or slur is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning ...
or disparaging ones) when striving to achieve a
neutral point of view Neutral point of view may refer to: * Objectivity (science) Objectivity in science is an attempt to uncover truths about the natural world by eliminating personal biases, emotions, and false beliefs. It is often linked to observation as part o ...
. A desire for more positive connotations, or fewer negative ones, is one of the main reasons for using
euphemism A euphemism () is an innocuous word or expression used in place of one that is deemed Profanity, offensive or suggests something unpleasant. Some euphemisms are intended to amuse, while others use bland, inoffensive terms for concepts that the us ...
s. Semiotic closure, as defined by Terry Eagleton, concerns "a sealed world of ideological stability, which repels the disruptive, decentered forces of language in the name of an imaginary unity.
Sign A sign is an object Object may refer to: General meanings * Object (philosophy), a thing, being, or concept ** Entity, something that is tangible and within the grasp of the senses ** Object (abstract), an object which does not exist at ...
s are ranked by a certain covert violence into rigidly hierarchical order. . . . The process of forging ‘representations’ always involves this arbitrary closing of the signifying chain, constricting the free play of the signifier to a spuriously determinate meaning which can then be received by the subject as natural and inevitable".


Synonyms

* Implied. The denotation of a heart ''implies'' love. * Impressionistic * Evocative * Indirect * Inferred * etc.


Examples


See also

* Context as Other Minds *
Double entendre A double entendre (plural double entendres) is a figure of speech or a particular way of wording that is devised to have a double meaning, of which one is typically obvious, whereas the other often conveys a message that would be too socially aw ...
* Extension *
Extensional definition In logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning. Informal logic seeks to characterize Validity (logic), valid arguments informally, for instance by listing varieties of fallacies. Formal logic represents statem ...
*
Intension In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic ...

Intension
*
Intensional definition In logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning. Informal logic seeks to characterize Validity (logic), valid arguments informally, for instance by listing varieties of fallacies. Formal logic represents statem ...
*
Loaded language Loaded language (also known as loaded terms, emotive language, high-inference language and language-persuasive techniques) may be rhetoric Rhetoric () is the art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities involving cr ...
*
Metacommunicative competenceMeta-communication - (Etymology: Gk, meta + L, communicare, to inform), or metacommunication, is a secondary communication (including indirect cues) about About may refer to: * About (surname) * About.com, an online source for original informatio ...
*
Pun The pun, also known as paronomasia, is a form of word play Word play or wordplay (also: play-on-words) is a literary technique A narrative technique (known for literary fictional narratives as a literary technique, literary device, or fi ...
*
Semantic differential Semantic differential (SD) is a type of a rating scale designed to measure the connotative meaning of objects, events, and concepts. The connotations are used to derive the attitude towards the given object, event or concept. Charles E. Osgood' ...
*
Semantic property Semantic properties or meaning properties are those aspects of a linguistic unit, such as a morpheme A morpheme is the smallest meaningful unit in a language. A morpheme is not necessarily the same as a word. The main difference between a morphe ...
*
Subtext Subtext is any content of a creative work A creative work is a manifestation of creativity, creative effort including Work of art, fine artwork (sculpture, paintings, drawing, Sketch (drawing), sketching, performance art), dance, writing (literat ...


References

{{Reflist Concepts in logic Meaning (philosophy of language) Semantics Subjective experience