What is connotation? I have read every definition and seen every examples. I still don’t get it.

Connotations are a feeling or idea that is suggested by a particular word. They give us the emotional connection with words.
Words can be split into ‘negative’, ‘positive’ and ‘neutral’ connotations.

Denotation is the literal meaning of a word. (You can think of denotation as the dictionary definition of a word.)

Denotation contrasts with connotation, which refers to the feelings or ideas suggested by a word.

So, the literal meaning of a word is the word’s denotation, and the non-literal meaning of a word (e.g., based on an implication or a shared emotional association) is the word’s connotation.

Look at these sentences:

• She’s an adult.
• She’s a real woman.
• She’s a real lady.
• She’s a real babe.

These all share a similar denotation (i.e., they denote an adult female), but their connotations (further understandings) are very different.
• She’s an adult.
(One possible connotation: a sensible woman)
• She’s a real woman.
(One possible connotation: a curvaceous woman)
• She’s a real lady.
(One possible connotation: a classy woman)
• She’s a real babe.
(One possible connotation: an attractive woman)
Positive and Negative Connotations
A word can have a positive or a negative connotation. For example:

The denotations of the words difficult and challenging are similar. However, their connotations are very different.
• Difficult (negative connotation)
(This suggests there are problems ahead.)
• Challenging (positive connotation)
(This suggests the problems ahead will be overcome.)
Similarly, the denotations of the words nitpicking and meticulous are similar. However, their connotations are very different.
• Nitpicking (negative connotation)
(This suggests someone who gets bogged down on details.)
• Meticulous (positive connotation)
(This suggests someone who doesn’t let any mistakes through.)

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