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Reading and Writing Rocks Yellow / Lesson 16: Word Overtones: Connotation and Denotation

Connotation & Denotation

  • The Denotation of a word is its exact meaning as stated in the Dictionary.


  • Example of Denotation:
    The denotation of skinny is "very thin"


  • Denotations use literal or exact language----it means exactly what it says or it is.

  • Denotation-----Is a definition or a word that can be defined from a dictionary.


  • The connotation of a word is a second, suggested meaning of a word.

  • This added meaning often suggests something positive or negative.


  • Connotations use figurative language or implied meaning. --- The word might mean something different than its definition.

Connotation Examples

  • Skinny
    Skinny suggests "too thin"
    Skinny has a negative connotation because being too thin sounds like a bad thing to be.

  • Slender
    Slender suggests "attractively thin"
    Slender has a positive connotation because it sounds like a good thing to be.


  • Remember, a connotation is a word that can have an added meaning that suggests something positive or negative

Neutral Words

  • Be Careful---as some words are neutral.
    They do not suggest either good or bad meanings
    Example of neutral words: hat, seventeen, and yearly