Connotation refers to the emotional, cultural, and social associations that are attached to a word, beyond its literal definition. Unlike denotation, which is the objective, dictionary definition of a word, connotation includes the subjective and often implicit meanings that words can carry based on the context in which they are used. Connotations can be positive, negative, or neutral, and can be influenced by factors such as culture, history, and personal experience.
Examples of connotation:
“The smell of fresh-cut grass reminded him of his carefree childhood summers.” – The phrase “carefree childhood summers” carries positive connotations of joy and freedom, which are associated with the smell of fresh-cut grass.
“The politician’s remarks had a sinister undertone.” – The word “sinister” has a negative connotation, suggesting that the politician’s remarks were ominous or threatening.
“She was the black sheep of the family.” – The phrase “black sheep” has a negative connotation, implying that the person is an outsider or troublemaker.
“The shop was cozy and quaint, with a warm, welcoming atmosphere.” – The words “cozy,” “quaint,” “warm,” and “welcoming” all carry positive connotations, creating a positive impression of the shop.
“He was as sly as a fox.” – The simile “sly as a fox” has a negative connotation, suggesting that the person is cunning and untrustworthy.