Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Do the following terms have positive, neutral or negative meaning?

  • memorable
  • impressive
  • remarkable

What are other similar terms that are used for positive, neutral and negative intention?

share|improve this question
add comment

6 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

All the terms mentioned so far (memorable, impressive, remarkable, unforgettable, etc.) tend to have positive connotations in the absence of any negative modifier. Memorable is the most neutral of the bunch.

For equivalents to memorable that have a negative connotation, you may have to go a little further afield. Traumatic, notorious and infamous can all mean "memorable in a bad way."

share|improve this answer
    
egregious, shocking –  Gennady Vanin Novosibirsk Mar 9 '11 at 5:17
add comment

Impressive has a clear positive meaning (“evoking admiration”, says the New Oxford American Dictionary). Memorable and remarkable are both supposedly neutral, and can be combined with negative events (e.g., “a memorable death”). For some reasons, I myself find remarkable as having a slightly positive tone that memorable doesn't have; others might comment in other answers or comments.

share|improve this answer
    
I think that memorable and remarkable are normally positive (for example one could exclaim "Remarkable!", and it would be generally viewed as a positive statement, even if the people who heard didn't know the context) except when they are applied to events with negative connotations. –  Matt Эллен Mar 6 '11 at 20:44
add comment

There is always unforgettable, which is neutral, and momentous, which is usually positive. Depending on the context you might also say lasting, noteworthy or historic.

share|improve this answer
    
I would have said unforgettable was usually positive, in the absence of explicit qualification... –  psmears Mar 6 '11 at 21:22
add comment

Leaving a lasting mark/impression is more than a word, but also should be there

share|improve this answer
add comment

Most words here have slightly (or clearly) positive connotations. For one with a clearly negative one, try devastating.

share|improve this answer
add comment
  • never-to-be-forgotten
  • ineffaceable
  • indelible, indissoluble, un-removable, irrevocable, undying, imperishable
  • prominent, striking, shocking, incredible, glaring
  • long-standing, durable, life-long, live-long, relenting, lingering, evergreen
share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.