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Connotation Examples

Connotation is an implied meaning that is associated with a word in addition to its literal meaning. This association can be cultural or emotional.

Positive Connotations

  • Childlike
  • Dove (peace)
  • Hollywood (fame)
  • Home
  • Lean
  • Modest
  • Slender
  • Thrifty
  • Wall Street (wealth)
  • Youthful

Negative Connotations

  • Babe (woman)
  • Chick (woman)
  • Broad (woman)
  • Chatty
  • Chicken (coward)
  • Lackadaisical
  • Miserly
  • Mutt
  • Procrastination
  • Pushy
  • Reservation (Native Americans)
  • Retarded
  • Skinny
  • Uppity

Connotation Pairs

Here are examples of pairs of connotations that describe the same thing or situation. The first has a negative connotation and the second is positive.

  • Astute — Sagacious
  • Bossy — Dominant
  • Bum — Homeless
  • Cheap — Inexpensive
  • Cheap — Thrifty
  • Childish — Childlike
  • Cocky — Confident
  • Conceited — Self-confident
  • Cowardly — Prudent
  • Crippled — Disabled
  • Difficult — Challenging
  • Disaster — Problem
  • Fat — Overweight
  • Fired — Terminated
  • Foolish — Unwise
  • Headstrong — Determined
  • Job — Career
  • Lazy — Relaxed
  • Nag — Remind
  • Nitpicking — Meticulous
  • Nosy — Inquisitive
  • Out of date — Time-tested
  • Pig-headed — Stubborn
  • Politician — Statesman
  • Scrawny — Thin
  • Stingy — Economical
  • Stubborn — Persevering

Connotation in Literature

  • There are many connotations in George Orwell’s The Animal Farm, including: the pigs connote powerful, corrupt people; Boxer connotes the laborer class; and the animals represent the revolution.
  • Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day – Sonnet 18 – by William Shakespeare – A summer’s day connotes beauty.
  • She is all states, and all princes, I. – The Sun Rising by John Donne – the two are wealthier than other in the world because of their love.
  • Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears. – Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare – Ears connote listening.
  • As he swung toward them holding up the hand Half in appeal, but half as if to keep The life from spilling – Out, Out by Robert Frost – Life connotes blood.
  • All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts – As you Like It by William Shakespeare – Stage connotes the world and players connote their lives.
  • Hie thee, gentle Jew. The Hebrew will turn Christian: he grows kind. – The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare – This is a negative connotation towards Jews and positive towards Christians (kindness).
  • And on a day we meet to walk the line And set the wall between us once again. We keep the wall between us as we go. To each the boulders that have fallen to each. – Mending Wall by Robert Frost – The wall may connote segregation and rebuilding it perseverance.
  • What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot, Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part Belonging to a man. O! be some other name: What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet. – Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare – Connotes that the names of things do not matter.

These connotation examples show how words can take on extra, implied meanings depending how they are used.

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