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Related: context - connotation - definition - interpretation - literal - name


  1. The act of denoting; indication.
  2. Something, such as a sign or symbol, that denotes.
  3. Something signified or referred to; a particular meaning of a symbol.
  4. The most specific or direct meaning of a word, in contrast to its figurative or associated meanings.
--American Heritage Dictionary


Denotation, Connotation and Myth
Beyond its 'literal' meaning (its denotation), a particular word may have connotations: for instance, sexual connotations. 'Is there any such thing as a single entendre?' quipped the comic actor Kenneth Williams (we all know that 'a thing is a phallic symbol if it's longer than it's wide', as the singer Melanie put it). In semiotics, denotation and connotation are terms describing the relationship between the signifier and its signified, and an analytic distinction is made between two types of signifieds: a denotative signified and a connotative signified. Meaning includes both denotation and connotation. --Daniel Chandler, Semiotics for Beginners http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4B/sem06.html [Jul 2004]

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