What is Connotation? - Definition & Meaning

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: What is the Difference Between Transferred Epithet & Personification?

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 Definition of Connotation
  • 1:00 Examples of Connotation
  • 3:01 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Patricia Vineski

Patricia has an MFA in Writing, an MS in Teaching and English Language Arts, and a BA in English.

In this lesson, you'll learn what connotation is and how it suggests more than a word's literal dictionary meaning. Then take a look at some common examples of connotation.

Definition of Connotation

We all use connotation. We use it when we say 'I want to go home,' meaning not just a physical place, but a place of security and comfort. We use it when we say 'Irene really knows how to pinch a penny' meaning that she is thrifty, not that she actually pinches pennies. When we say 'What a rotten day this has been' or 'My Uncle Jim is a snake' we don't mean that the day we just had is actually decaying, or that Uncle Jim is a limbless, scaly reptile. We are using the connotations of words to suggest meanings that go above and beyond their literal dictionary meanings.

Connotation is the meaning that a word suggests or implies above and beyond its literal meaning. Connotation includes the emotions or associations that surround a word. A word's connotations can be either positive or negative and will depend on the context in which it is used, and to some degree, on the reader or hearer.

Examples of Connotation

Connotation is created when you mean something else, something that might be hidden. The connotative meaning of a word is based on a shared emotional association with that word. 'Greasy,' for example, is a completely innocent word; some things, like car engines, need to be greasy. But 'greasy' contains negative associations for most people, whether they are talking about food or about people.

The word 'modern' strictly means 'belonging to recent times,' but, the word's connotations can be negative and include 'unfeeling,' 'impersonal,' and 'mechanical,' if it is used within the context of bringing back the good old days or aimed at an audience that may see modern life as an empty, violent, or immoral existence. In the context of moving forward into the future, and to those who may see modern life as one of possibility and growth, the word's connotations can include more positive ones such as 'new,' 'up-to-date,' and 'experimental.'

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account