Can someone recommend proper usage of the word "connotate", for example, in a sentence? I am having difficulty distinguishing when to use connote over connotates.

The word 'remaining' connotes (or connotates?) continuing action as before...

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    Collins: << connotate [in British English] verb (transitive) obsolete: to connote >> Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 14:47
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    From connotation, you could produce connotate. But then, I have heard orientation produce orientate, and conversation conversate, and not just once. Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 19:46
  • Also, 'remaining' denotes continuing, as opposed to 'connotes' it. While a denotation is the dictionary definition, a connotation is the more subtle hint a word gives. "I've been waiting for you" does denote the wait, neutrally, but may connote impatience. Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 20:03
  • Some similar forms like orientate are controversial and inspire a lot of anger; fortunately connotate has a more civil debate. Anyway this question covers a few similar words.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Aug 4, 2023 at 15:36
  • @StuartF: Yes - of course, everyone knows the only correct word is "orientationalise" ;-)
    – psmears
    Commented Aug 14, 2023 at 21:37

3 Answers 3


According to the Online Etymology Dictionary:

connotate (v.)
"to signify secondarily," 1590s, from Medieval Latin connotatus, past participle of connotare "signify in addition to the main meaning," a term in logic (see connotation). It is now obsolete, replaced by connote.

Emphasis mine. A Google Ngram backs it up:

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So, to answer your question, there is no proper usage of the word connotate in modern English.

Just use connote.


"Connote" is by far the most common version. "Connotate", in addition to being rare itself, interferes with the noun form of "connote", "connotation".


As someone who studied Latin at school, connotate is by far the prettier version, and connote is an ugly neologism. However, they do mean slightly different things. In general, the extra -at signifies repetivity or a continuing state, whereas without suggests an individual occurrence. One could say "in general, this symbol connotates one thing, but in this context it connotes something else". I don't give two figs though whether I am considered archaic for using language thus.

  • English is not Latin. To judge an English word by your knowledge of Latin could be seen as a form of etymological fallacy.
    – IMSoP
    Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 13:59

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