Connotation
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A connotation is a commonly understood cultural or
emotional Emotions are mental states brought on by neurophysiology, neurophysiological changes, variously associated with thoughts, feelings, behavioral responses, and a degree of pleasure or suffering, displeasure. There is currently no scientific ...
association that any given word or phrase carries, in addition to its explicit or literal meaning, which is its
denotation In linguistics and philosophy, the denotation of an expression is its literal meaning. For instance, the English language, English word "warm" denotes the Property_(philosophy), property of being warm. Denotation is contrasted with other aspects of ...
. 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 meaning (known as a
denotation In linguistics and philosophy, the denotation of an expression is its literal meaning. For instance, the English language, English word "warm" denotes the Property_(philosophy), property of being warm. Denotation is contrasted with other aspects of ...
), 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 the study of correct reasoning. It includes both Mathematical logic, formal and informal logic. Formal logic is the science of Validity (logic), deductively valid inferences or of logical truths. It is a formal science investigating h ...
and
semantics Semantics (from grc, wikt:σημαντικός, σημαντικός ''sēmantikós'', "significant") is the study of reference, Meaning (philosophy), meaning, or truth. The term can be used to refer to subfields of several distinct discipline ...
, ''connotation'' is roughly synonymous with '' intension''. Connotation is often contrasted with ''
denotation In linguistics and philosophy, the denotation of an expression is its literal meaning. For instance, the English language, English word "warm" denotes the Property_(philosophy), property of being warm. Denotation is contrasted with other aspects of ...
'', 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 ( a second level of meanings is termed connotative ). 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 or grammatical form expressing a negative or a disrespectful connotation, a low opinion, or a lack of respect toward someone or something. It is also used to express criticism, hostility, or disregard. Sometimes, a ...
or disparaging ones) when striving to achieve a
neutral point of view Neutral point of view may refer to: * Objectivity (science), the concept of a position formed without incorporating one's own prejudice * Neutrality (philosophy), to maintain neutrality at all times {{Disambig ...
. 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 Physical object, object, quality (philosophy), quality, event, or Non-physical entity, entity whose presence or occurrence indicates the probable presence or occurrence of something else. A natural sign bears a causal relation to ...
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 ''Context as Other Minds'' (—subtitled ''The Pragmatics of Sociality, Cognition and Communication''—) is a book, by Talmy Givón, published by John Benjamins in 2005. Contents of Book The book presents a model of human linguistic communicatio ...
*
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 a ...
* Extension *
Extensional definition In logic Logic is the study of correct reasoning. It includes both Mathematical logic, formal and informal logic. Formal logic is the science of Validity (logic), deductively valid inferences or of logical truths. It is a formal science inve ...
*
Intension In any of several fields of study that treat the use of signs — for example, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because it entails a comprehensive, systematic, objectiv ...
*
Intensional definition In logic Logic is the study of correct reasoning. It includes both Mathematical logic, formal and informal logic. Formal logic is the science of Validity (logic), deductively valid inferences or of logical truths. It is a formal science inve ...
*
Loaded language Loaded language (also known as loaded terms, emotive language, high-inference language and language-persuasive techniques) is rhetoric used to influence an audience by using words and phrases with strong connotations. This type of language is ver ...
* Metacommunicative competence * Pun *
Semantic differential The semantic differential (SD) is a measurement scale designed to measure a person's subjective perception of, and affective reactions to, the properties of concepts, objects, and events by making use of a set of bipolar scales. The SD is used to a ...
* Semantic property * Subtext


References

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