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Copy of Denotation vs. Connotation
Transcript of Copy of Denotation vs. Connotation
Figuring out what it all really means...
DENOTATION is the
definition of a word.
It is a word's meaning in its
most literal sense.
For example, the denotation
of the word "hot" might mean
that something has a high
temperature or that it is
burning. The literal,
dictionary definition of a
word is its
However, the CONNOTATION of a word is not meant to be taken literally. It's intended meaning evokes emotion and is often times figurative language.
It is the feeling or emotion connected with the word.
Let's use the same word, "hot," but this time look at how it could be used in a different connotation...
* She looks hot today...
* When they took his car away, he was hot...
In other words...
She looks pretty today.
She doesn't look like she's on fire,
so we can't take the word "hot"
to have its denotative (literal) meaning...
When they took his car away, he was angry. Once again, he doesn't seem to be on fire and he doesn't look like he's coming down with a temperature, so the connotation of "hot" in this case means that the man was upset or angry.
Connotation is how a word is meant to be understood--it might call upon your emotions & what YOU think of when you see/hear/read the word.
The Dictionary Definition:
Its Literal Meaning
A building in which
(cc) photo by theaucitron on Flickr
Also, words can have the same DENOTATIONS, but have positive, negative, or neutral CONNOTATIONS.
I think we could all agree that this is a picture of an old woman.
However, there is a much nicer way of saying "old." Think of words that are more positive and polite...
On the other hand, there are negative connotations of the word "old." Think of words that have negative connotations...
All of these descriptions have the SAME DENOTATION! They all have the same literal meaning:
"far advanced in the years of one's life."
However, we know that people do not respond to such words in the same manner. Don't believe me? You probably wouldn't want someone to call your grandma "that old lady," but if they called her "that elderly lady" you might not be as upset...
That's why it is so important to be aware of our word choice when we write and to pay attention to other author's word choice when we read. Pay attention to what is REALLY being said and think about what you REALLY mean before you write!
Let's take a look at another example. We'll use the word "home."