Difference Between Connotation and Denotation

Although connotation and denotation are two important methods to describe a word used in several types of creative writing, what differentiates connotation from denotation is that denotation is the direct meaning of the word.

Connotation vs Denotation

The main difference between connotation and denotation is that connotation is the hidden meaning or the emotional perspectives of a word whereas a denotation is directly the dictionary meaning of the word. Both are two very important methods in language, but both have their own specific places to fulfill.

Connotation vs Denotation

Connotation is the secondary meaning of a word based on its emotional perspective, especially from the reader’s view. It adds extra meaning to the word depending on the background it is spoken about.

It is used to signify or mean something specific. Denotations are the literal meaning of the respective word.

Comparison Table between Connotation and Denotation

Parameter of Comparison Connotation Denotation
DefinitionConnotation is the secondary meaning of a word which is mainly based on the cultural and emotional aspect.Denotation refers to the primary meaning of the word which is the literal meaning of the word according to the dictionary.
TypeIt is the indirect and hidden meaning of the word. It contains emotional overtones.It is the direct meaning of a word. It is factual.
ClassificationConnotation can be classified into two types, positive and negative. There is also another type of connotation known as the neutral connotation.Denotation cannot be classified.
Effect of culture and religionMight change depending on the social, cultural, and religious impact of a particular region.Remains unchanged in respect to the culture and religion of a region.
Meaning Connotations are subjective meaning.Denotations are the primary meanings

What is Connotation?

A connotation of a word which signifies the cultural or the emotional association of the word which is a little different from the direct meaning of the word. Connotations are the suggestive meanings of a word.

The word connotation has come from the Latin word “connotation” meaning “signify in addition to the main meaning”. It can either be positive or be negative.

Connotation is mainly used to relate how a thing or a set of things can be related to a word or a phrase based on its emotional or social judgment. In other words, the connotation can be described as the feeling or idea of a word.

What is Denotation?

In simple words, denotation may be defined as the literal meaning of a word. The word denotation has come from the Latin word “denotation” meaning “indication” It is similar to the way dictionaries are used to define the word.

The denotation of a word is generally perceived through visible concepts. In short, the denotation of a word is devoid of feelings or emotions. It can either be an act of using a symbol as well as a word.

Denotation is very important to get a clear view of a particular word but is not a good option when it comes to expressing the creative side.  denotation implies the primary meaning of the word.

The writer needs to be observant about his or her word choices which have to be very precise, as any minor substitution will affect the tone and mood of the writing.

Main Differences between Connotation and Denotation

  1. Connotation can be classified into mainly two types which are positive connotation and negative connotation. Another type of connotation is also present which is known as neutral connotation.
  2. One of the main factors on which the connotation of a word depends is the culture and religion of a particular place.
Difference Between Connotation and Denotation


Connotation and denotation are two such words that are much different from each other by their meanings or in other words they are in contrast to each other.

But these two are not completely different things, rather two different aspects of one single thing. A connotation is used to represent various types of social overtones, emotional and cultural implications that are hidden inside a word.

A denotation straight away signifies the dictionary definition of a word. It is the explicit or referential meaning or association of a word.


  1. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-009-9777-6_11
  2. https://en.cnki.com.cn/Article_en/CJFDTotal-HYKJ201608003.htm
AskAnyDifference HomeClick here
Search for "Ask Any Difference" on Google. Rate this post!
[Total: 0]
One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to you. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media or with your friends/family. SHARING IS ♥️

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments