Words have lots of meanings/denotations/dictionary definitions, many connotations and contexts and they have literal meanings and metaphorical ones.
For example, consider the word 'trash'. Literally it is a synonym of 'garbage', 'refuse' 'waste'. But it has secondary meanings of worthless or poor or of loose morals when applied to people.
Or 'crazy'. For myself the first meaning would be the more figurative one (or what I think is figurative) which is 'mixed-up', wild', or 'over-stimulating'. But there is another meaning, a slightly derogatory term for having a mental illness. (Which comes first may be an individual matter).
I am looking for a word (or phrase) that describes the first meaning/denotation you think of when presented with a word.
It is related to
- literal - but the metaphorical meaning may be the first one.
- ostensible - but that makes it sound like there's an intention of misdirection
- canonical - which is closest, but just doesn't sound right (too clinical?)
'On the face of it' is also pretty close, but also doesn't sound right, and evokes 'facade' which like ostensible has too much intention in it.
Maybe it's the first definition offered in a dictionary. Is there a word/shorter phrase for that? (but not OED which is chronological (right?))
Can you suggest some alternatives (or convince me that I've already listed the best one)?