Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Connotation and Denotation

Connotation vs Denotation

The terms “connotation” and “denotation” are sometimes wrongly interchanged because of their close resemblance in terms of sound pronunciation. Nevertheless, the two should be treated differently as they are used distinctively in philosophy, linguistics, and grammar.

Denotation is actually the word’s literal meaning. As such, it is regarded as a “dictionary definition.” Thus, when you look for the word “snake” in the dictionary, you’ll stumble upon its most denotative definition like any reptilian, long, tapering, and often venomous cylindrical animals found in temperate or in tropical areas that is characterized as being legless and scaly.

Connotation is very different because it pertains to the more loose associations to a particular word. It can also include the emotional input that is connected to a certain term or word. The connotative definition or description coexists with its denotative meaning. And so, when you are asked about the connotative meaning of the word “snake,” one of your best answers could be “danger.” Associating “evil” with snakes is also pretty acceptable. Another example is defining a “rose” denotatively as a type of red flower having petals while connotatively as a romantic symbol, or associating it with Valentine’s Day.

One more important characteristic of denotation is its limiting yet more descriptive nature. If you are asked to define what a chair is, you’ll most likely say that it is just your typical piece of furniture that usually has a back part for support when you try to fall back while sitting. It also has a base to sit on and four legs that support the furniture itself. This definition is often true to most cases when you are talking about a standard type of chair.

However, if you are asked about the connotation of the word “chair,” you can talk about it in a variety of ways. One is by giving a positive connotation to it when you walked for several hours and finally found a chair to sit upon. Another way of connotation is a negative impression when you give a negative remark “Stupid chair!” because you tripped over it while you were walking inside the classroom at night when the lights were out.


1.Denotation is the actual literal definition or meaning of a word or term. It is the dictionary definition.
2.Connotation is an association of a term. It can also be an emotional input attached to a word thus making it more figurative and suggestive.
3.Denotation gives a more limited yet descriptive definition of a term.
4.Connotation can have a variety of descriptions affected by mood, emotion, experience, and season, among other factors.

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  1. Very useful thank you!

  2. Thank you it was very insightful

  3. Thanks, this went a long way in solving some problems for me. Thanks again.

  4. I fail use of English bcoz of this topic but I thank you so that at much I can defend my c o. Thank you once again.

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