Language and Linguistics

Connotation examples definition and usage in sentences


in this article, the definition of connotation with examples and usage in sentences will be elaborated. The first thing we are going to carry out is the determination of the etymological origin of the term connotation that concerns us. Specifically, in doing so we can establish that it comes from Latin as it is made up of the following parts of that language: the prefix “con-“, which can be translated as “completely”; the word “note”, which is equivalent to “brand”; and the suffix “-cion”, which acts as a synonym for “action and effect.”

The connotation is the action and effect of connoting (which entails, in addition to its specific meaning, another of an appellate or expressive type). The connotation of a word or phrase , therefore, suggests an added and different meaning to its own.

For example: “I think this publicity has a sexist connotation” “The president’s speech seemed to be directed at the audience, although many analysts warned of another connotation” “If you go to the boss that way, many will think that your words have a particular connotation ”“ Do not look for a connotation where there is none ”.

It is essential to grasp the real concept of the definition of connotation with examples and usage in sentences. The connotation implies that language has senses that go beyond the literal. It can be said that a man is a lion because he has a lot of strength or courage, without this indicating that said person shows the same biological or physical characteristics as the animal in question.

When one speaks of connotation, at the same time and almost irremediably, it uses its antonym: denotation. This term can be defined as the basic and main meaning of any word, that is, the one given in any dictionary.

This is used in the language when you want to say something, highlighting the defects or qualities within the context of what is spoken and its meaning is personal, so it is not found in the dictionary, since it is only used in literary language and popular.

In other words, the connotation is a different interpretation of what is said to what this literally means, so the words acquire a different meaning within the statements and their meaning is perfectly clear to both the sender and the receiver.


The grammar characterizes language as a symbolic system represented by signs and used for the purpose of performing social intercommunication, expressing, in general, ideas and feelings. The word enables speakers to represent thought, creation, and in this linguistic interaction, users build new meanings for different terms. Therefore, in practice, in the actual use of language, words come to life and receive meanings in addition to those described in dictionaries. Linguistics refers to this process as connotation. According to Rodolfo Ilari, in his book “The Introduction to Semantics” Connotation is the sense effect by which the choice of a certain word or expression gives information about the speaker, about the way he represents the listener, the subject, and the purposes of the speech in which they are both engaged. (page 41) In this definition, the author takes into account linguistic variants as factors that directly influence the way of speaking, revealing geographic origin, age group, social group, the choices made by each speaker in the speech act or in enunciation, and the various meanings attributed to your choices. Let’s see the example below: Definition of Connotation with examples

According to descriptive grammars, connotation means the property of giving a new meaning to a term already known; or even different meanings to a single term, making different attributes implicit. It is the figurative sense applied to language. The connotative meanings represented by a word or expression go beyond the meanings defined by the dictionary and may be related to the context in which the term is inserted. Here are some examples of the effect of connotative sense in relation to the denotative sense:

1- The word “cheap” can take on different meanings within each context:

When the price of a product is not high: Chocolate was cheap compared to other markets. (denotative sense)

When an event was very good or fun: Everyone had a lot of fun, the party was cheap. (connotative sense)

2-The sign occurs directly linked to the signifier.

The sunlight illuminated the whole house.

The sign can occur with a meaning different from its signifier, referring to a part of its meaning: It has a sun on its chest.

The sign can make a reference to what the signifier represents: My son is the sun of my day.

3- The same situation occurs with other terms, such as:

When lighting the ambient lamps, it became clearer. (denotative sense)

Everything was clearer with that explanation. (connotative sense)

Examples of connotation

What is meant in the connotation is put in parentheses for greater understanding.

  • It’s a crazy cold (It’s very cold).
  • My mouth watered (I felt like it).
  • I’m hungry for a wolf (I’m very hungry).
  • Pedro is a tiger in sports (Pedro is very agile in sports).
  • Juan sleeps like a bear (Juan sleeps a lot).
  • I’m so hungry that I could eat a cow (I’m so hungry that I could eat a lot).
  • Lupe’s son looks like a giraffe (Lupe’s son is very tall).
  • Rogelio gives his wife a life of dogs (Rogelio gives his wife a bad life).
  • My mother in law snores like a lion (My mother in law snores very loudly).
  • I feel like a fish in the water in my new job (I feel very comfortable in my new job).
  • Felipe remained like the dog of the two cakes (Felipe was left without one thing, nor the other).
  • My nephews look like vultures (My nephews are waiting for me to die to keep my things).

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