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connotation (noun) an idea or an association that a word suggests in addition to its main meaning.
Not all words having the same meaning are used precisely in the same context. A word and its synonym have the same meaning, but may have different connotations. For example, 'waste' and 'squander' are synonyms, but whereas 'waste' is used for careless spending, 'squander' is used for spending lavishly and recklessly. That is how, their connotations are different. 'Connotation' may also mean something closely associated with a word, in addition to its usual meaning. For example, 'home' suggests, comfort and freedom, in addition to just being a place of residence. So we say that 'home' has the connotation of comfort and freedom. 'Oxford' suggests high academic standards. So Oxford has the connotation of high academic standards.
- In any language the usage is more powerful than the dictionary. While the dictionary gives the actual meaning of the word, the meaning with which the speakers of the language use the word may be different. This difference of meaning a word may come to have is its connnotation.
- The word 'German' during the World War II period had the connotation of 'a cruel and ruthless person'.