Connotation and denotation

Connotation is the emotional and imaginative association surrounding a word.

Denotation is the strict dictionary meaning of a word.

Here’s an example:

“You may live in a house, but we live in a home.”

If you were to look up the words house and home in a dictionary, you would find that both words have approximately the same meaning- “a dwelling place.” However, the speaker in the sentence above suggests that home has an additional meaning. Aside from the strict dictionary definition, or denotation, many people associate such things as comfort, love, security, or privacy with a home but do not necessarily make the same associations with a house. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of a home? of a house? Why do you think that real-estate advertisements use the word home more frequently than house? The various feelings, images, and memories that surround a word make up its connotation. Although both house and home have the same denotation, or dictionary meaning, home also has many connotations.

Connotation and denotation exercise.

See how denotation and connotation function in The Fish.

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