Connotation Examples: What They Are and How To Use Them

Do you know what connotation is? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on connotation, including its definition, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What is connotation?

According to Your Dictionary, connotation is not a word’s literal meaning, but the emotions and feelings a word evokes, or the implied meaning of the word. Denotation refers to a word’s literal meaning. Things can have a negative connotation, neutral connotation, or positive connotation, like in the below list. The first word is positive, the second is neutral, and the third is negative. A word’s connotative meaning might have a different connotative meaning depending on circumstances. Use context to discern if the 

  •  interested – curious – nosy
  •  employ – use – exploit
  •  compassion – feeling – hysteric
  •  courageous – confident – conceited
  •  conversing – talking – jabbering
  •  sated – filled – crammed
  •  steadfast – tenacious – stubborn
  •  protest – demonstration – riot
  •  meticulous – selective – picky
  •  unique – different – peculiar
  •  thrifty – saving – stingy
  •  vintage – old – decrepit
  •  elated – happy – manic
  •  clearheadedness – logic – coldness
  •  beings – mammals – creatures
  •  aroma – scent – stench
  •  easygoing – relaxed – lackadaisical
  •  beam – smile – grimace

William Shakespeare uses connotation in many sonnets, such as Sonnet 18 with, “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day…” Using the connotation of the word to show these abstract ideas and the implied meaning of a word leaves the reader with a feeling in their soul rather than a dry definition. Some words create positive feelings, while others create negative feelings.

Many different languages also contain words that mean connotation. You may notice that some of these translations of connotation look and sound similar to one another. These are called cognates, which are words and phrases in different languages that likely have the same root or language of origin, causing them to sound the same. The below list of translations of connotation is provided by Word Sense

  •  Malay: konotasi‎
  •  Swedish: konnotation‎, bibetydelse‎ (common), innebörd‎ (common)
  •  Mandarin: 含義‎, 含义‎ (hànyì)
  •  Bulgarian: допълнително значение‎
  •  Danish: konnotation‎ (common), medbetydning‎ (common), bibetydning‎ (common)
  •  Asturian: connotación‎ (fem.)
  •  Greek: υποδήλωση‎ (fem.), συνεκδοχή‎ (fem.)
  •  Catalan: connotació‎ (fem.)
  •  Maltese: konnotazzjoni‎ (fem.)
  •  Romanian: conotație‎ (fem.)
  •  Italian: connotazione‎ (fem.)
  •  Norwegian: konnotasjon‎ (masc.)
  •  Esperanto: kromsignifo‎
  •  Finnish: konnotaatio‎
  •  Serbo-Croatian: konotacija‎ (fem.)
  •  Occitan: connotacion‎ (fem.)
  •  Turkish: tâlî mânâ‎, yan anlam‎
  •  Spanish: connotación‎ (fem.)
  •  Irish: fochiall‎ (fem.)
  •  Czech: konotace‎ (fem.)
  •  Russian: подте́кст‎ (masc.), коннота́ция‎ (fem.), созначе́ние‎ (neut.)
  •  Galician: connotación‎ (fem.)
  •  German: Konnotation‎, Nebenbedeutung‎, Beiklang‎, Beigeschmack‎
  •  Armenian: հարանշանակություն‎, լրացուցիչ իմաստ‎
  •  French: connotation‎ (fem.)
  •  Portuguese: conotação‎ (fem.)
  •  Dutch: connotatie‎ (fem.), bijbetekenis‎ (fem.), bijklank‎ (masc.), associatie‎ (fem.), gevoelswaarde‎ (fem.)
  •  Indonesian: konotasi‎

What are examples of connotation?

The common types of connotation can be used in many different contexts in the English language. Trying to use a word or literary technique in a sentence is one of the best ways to memorize what it is, but you can also try making flashcards or quizzes that test your knowledge. Try using this term of the day in a sentence today! Below are a couple of examples of connotation from Your Dictionary that can help get you started incorporating this tool into your everyday use. 

  •  I love spending time with my aunt. She has a very youthful outlook on life.
  •  You need to be pushy when you are looking for a job.
  •  How long have you been dieting? Maybe too long. You look so skinny.
  •  Bob is bullheaded sometimes, but he always gets the job done.
  •  My cousin is very talkative.
  •  On my flight to Los Angeles, I sat next to this geezer. He was very old.
  •  I hope to look like my sister when I grow up. She is absolutely gorgeous.
  •  I know that Eddie and I are the same age, but he is just so juvenile.
  •  I am confident that I will be selected for a role in the school play.
  •  Every morning my neighbor takes his mutt to the park. It always barks loudly when leaving the building.
  •  I can tell you put a lot of work into your book report. It is extraordinary.
  •  I enjoy finding ways to make the most of my budget by being frugal.
  •  I realize that you’re feeling inquisitive, but I’d rather not discuss the matter.
  •  It’s certainly unusual to use Comic Sans font on a resume.
  •  Bedford is a gritty neighborhood with much criminal activity, but the rent is affordable.
  •  The cookies remind me of the aroma of my grandmother.
  •  She beamed when she was informed that she received the promotion.
  •  He grimaced when he was saddled with the boring task.
  •  The office is crammed with knick knacks; there is hardly any room to walk.
  •  The museum is saturated with beautiful artwork. We love walking around and taking it all in.
  •  The business owner was very stingy with his employees, and counted every penny that they expensed.
  •  The family lived frugally for most of the year, but went all out for the holidays with the money they had saved.

What are other literary techniques and devices?

There are many different literary and grammatical techniques and devices that you might see when you are reading prose or poetry. It is important to recognize these devices because they are always used for some purpose. Knowing these devices can help readers understand the author’s deeper meaning and why they are using such a device. Take a look at the below list of literary devices from Reedsy and see how many you know! Then try researching ones that are unfamiliar to you. 

  •  Repetition
  •  Foreshadowing
  •  Chiasmus
  •  Synecdoche
  •  Frame story
  •  Exposition
  •  Imagery
  •  Litotes
  •  Isocolon
  •  Irony
  •  Zoomorphism
  •  Allusion
  •  Symbolism
  •  Tmesis
  •  Malapropism
  •  Onomatopoeia
  •  Anastrophe
  •  Euphemism
  •  Metonymy
  •  Dramatic irony
  •  Motif
  •  Polysyndeton
  •  Anaphora
  •  Allegory
  •  Aphorism
  •  Archetype
  •  Anthropomorphism
  •  Tragicomedy
  •  Personification
  •  Cumulative sentence
  •  Anachronism
  •  In Medias Res
  •  Juxtaposition
  •  Paradox
  •  Oxymoron
  •  Point of view
  •  Simile
  •  Hypophora
  •  Soliloquy
  •  Tone
  •  Flashback
  •  Satire
  •  Tautology
  •  Colloquialism
  •  Metaphor

Overall, the function of connotation is not to present the literal definition of a word, but a figurative one. Connotation evokes emotion and feeling.


  1. Literary Devices | Reedsy
  2. Connotative Words | Your Dictionary 
  3. connotation: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense