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What is Denotation
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What is Denotation? Definition & 30 Examples of Denotation

Many people use the word “meaning” in ordinary vernacular when they actually mean “denotation.” This is not surprising; they are related, but not synonymous. There is an easy way to see the difference: if you look up “denote” in a dictionary, you will find its meaning is close to that of “signify,” whereas if you look up “mean” in this same dictionary, it may have slightly different connotations than usual. See what I did there?

By using these two words in their correct senses, I am able to illustrate all the main denotational and connotational differences between them without having to mention any specialized or uncommon vocabulary. Connotation can vary even more widely within contexts. For instance, a certain word may mean one thing in a business or legal setting, and another thing in a casual conversation between young adults at a party.

What is Denotation?

The Oxford Dictionary defines denotation as “the fact of being indicated.” In simpler terms, it is the explicit meaning of a sign or symbol. For example, if I am meeting someone for the first time and they shake my hand firmly to show me that they are friendly, this is their denotation. As Wikipedia puts it, denotational meanings are “those assigned by linguistic convention…to words”. Not all signs have unambiguous denotations; for example, some people might interpret the gesture mentioned above differently from others depending on their cultural backgrounds.

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In linguistics, it is often said that denotation is “objective,” in the sense that it doesn’t reflect the feelings or opinions of the speaker. In contrast, the connotation is seen as being “subjective” because it can vary from person to person. It should be noted, however, that this dichotomy is not always clear-cut, and there can be elements of both objective and subjective meaning in any given sign or symbol.

What is the Best Definition of Denotation?

Denotation can refer to either the denotational meaning of a word or symbol or the explicit meanings of signs and symbols as a whole. In this way, it is close in meaning to “connotation,”.

What is Denotation in a Sentence?

The denotation of a word is its explicit meaning, as opposed to the connotation, which is the emotional or subjective meaning. For example, in the sentence “I have a big nose,” the word “big” has a denotation of size, while the word “nose” has a denotation of an organ on the face.

Differences Between Denotation and Connotation?

What is Denotation

Denotation is the dictionary definition of a word, its explicit meaning. Connotation is an emotional or subjective association that changes across contexts. For example, the word “mean” might connote hostility in one context and care in another.

Connotation can also refer to the total range of emotional associations that a particular sign or symbol carries. Denotation, on the other hand, is more limited in scope and refers only to the literal meaning of a word or symbol.

An important difference between denotation and connotation is that the former is considered to be objective, while the latter is subjective. This means that denotation is not influenced by the personal feelings or opinions of the speaker, whereas connotation can vary widely from person to person.

Finally, it should be noted that denotation and connotation are not mutually exclusive; they often overlap to some degree.

When do You Use Denotation?

The denotation of a word is its explicit meaning, as opposed to the connotation, which is the emotional or subjective meaning. For example, in the sentence “I have a big nose,” the word “big” has a denotation of size, while the word “nose” has a denotation of an organ on the face.

30 Examples of Denotation?

1. The word “dog” has a denotation of an animal that is related to the fox, wolf, and coyote.

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2. The phrase “the chickens are in the henhouse” has a denotation of the fact that there are chickens in the building where hens are kept.

3. The word “mean” might connote hostility in one context and care in another.

4. The sentence “I have a big nose” has a denotation of size, while the word ‘nose’ has a denotation of an organ on the face.

5. The number “6” has a denotation of the quantity that is the result of three multiplied by two.

6. The words “I,” “me,” and “my” have a denotation of the speaker.

7. The word “bank” has a denotation of an establishment where people can deposit money or get loans.

8. The symbol “#” has a denotation of being used to represent the number 1,000 in mathematical equations.

9. The word “set” has a denotation of a collection of things that are related to each other.

10. The phrase “a buck fifty” has a denotation of one dollar and fifty cents.

11. The word “lunatic” has a denotation of a person who is insane.

12. The word “aardvark” has a denotation of an animal that lives in Africa and eats ants.

13. The word “irony” has a denotation of an event that is the opposite of what was expected.

14. The phrase “with all due respect” has a denotation of politeness.

15. The symbol “=” has a denotation of representing equality in mathematical equations.

16. The word “hi” has a denotation of being used as a greeting.

17. The sentence “I’m sorry” has a denotation of apologizing for something that one has done wrong.

18. The word “lack” has a denotation of the fact that something is missing or absent.

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19. The word “gavel” has a denotation of a tool used by a judge to maintain order in the courtroom.

20. The phrase “turn left at the fork in the road” has a denotation of going toward the left, as opposed to right, after reaching a junction.

21. The word “no” has a denotation of being used to reject something.

22. The phrase “with all due respect” has a denotation of politeness.

23. The number “7” has a denotation of the quantity that is the result of three multiplied by two.

24. The word “set” has a denotation of a collection of things that are related to each other.

25. The word “ant” has a denotation of an insect that lives in colonies and eats plants.

26. The word “bank” has a denotation of an establishment where people can deposit money or get loans.

27. The phrase “a buck fifty” has a denotation of one dollar and fifty cents.

28. The word “Lunatic” has a denotation of a person who is insane.

29. The phrase “with all due respect” has a denotation of politeness.

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30. The sentence “I have a big nose” in the example above denotes the size, while the word “nose” denotes an organ on the face.

Final Thoughts

Denotation and connotation are two important concepts to understand when it comes to language. Denotation is the explicit meaning of a word or symbol, while connotation is the emotional or subjective meaning. It’s important to be aware of both of these aspects when using language, as they can often have different effects.

Denotation is more limited in scope, while connotation can be quite broad. Additionally, denotation is considered to be objective, while connotation is subjective. This means that people can often interpret connotations differently based on their individual perspectives.

Finally, it should be noted that denotation and connotation are not mutually exclusive; they often overlap to some degree. By understanding these concepts, you’ll be better equipped to utilize language in a more nuanced and effective manner.

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