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Denotative and Connotative Meaning

Now we're going to explain the difference between the denotative and connotative meaning of words. This is a bit similar to what we learned about in our last lesson: the difference between words' literal and figurative meanings.

The denotative meaning of a word is its literal meaning – the definition you'd find in the dictionary. Take the word "mother," for example. The dictionary would define mother as "a female parent." OK, but the word "mother" probably creates emotions and feelings in you: it paints a picture in your mind. You may think of love and security or you may think of your own mother. The emotions and feelings that a word creates are called its connotative meaning.



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