Questions tagged [connotation]

For questions regarding the associated or underlying meaning of a word, in addition to its primary definition.

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45 views

“Sanguine” vs. “sanguinary” - any overlaps in meaning? [closed]

I read in Peter Ackroyd's retelling of The Canterbury Tales the following phrases: He was all fire and life, a sanguinary man. (The Monk in the Prologue) The beard of this freeholder was as white as ...
4
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3answers
574 views

Poetic technique for taking a usually comforting thing in a scary context?

Poetic technique for taking a usually comforting thing in a scary context? Context: I was wondering what the name of the poetic technique was, where one takes something which is usually light, ...
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4answers
54 views

What is an adjective that means constant with a negative connotation?

The context is that the character is lamenting the fact that his employers are watching him in a suffocating way and restricting his freedom
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0answers
26 views

I need a word to that means something similar to “marvel” or “savor”

For reference, here is the sentence: The world was beautiful and I was too busy running to _____ it. For context, the character is on the run and notices the beauty but doesn't get to ____.
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1answer
29 views

The implication of “the problem” or “the problems” in “I don't want to be involved in the problem(s) of my boss.”

What is/are the difference(s) between the two sentences? Is it just the number of problems, or do they mean something different other than the number of problems? I don't want to be involved in the ...
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1answer
62 views

What is an alternative to “Perpetrator” with a more neutral connotation?

In the phrase "He criticized the revolution and its ______" I originally wrote "perpetrators," but that casts a negative connotation on the revolution, as if it is a crime. I don't ...
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3answers
289 views

Blunt, brusque, curt, and terse — is there a gradation of connotation here?

I have two related questions. Do each of these 4 words have negative connotation regarding intent? (E.g., rudeness, malice, inappropriateness, etc.) If so, is there a gradation (or scale) of ...
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2answers
80 views

Any difference between “give five dollars to him” and “give him five dollars”?

This might be a most frequently asked question, but I am quite confused about the difference between the transitive and the ditransitive usage of verbs such as give, write, and buy which can take an ...
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1answer
40 views

Connotation of “hapless”

When I look up hapless in the dictionary,¹ the definition is basically "unfortunate" (hap from Old Norse for good luck, -less from Old English leas meaning "without"). That's fine as a very basic ...
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2answers
123 views

Word for: Making stronger together

I'm looking for a word that implies a group of things (which are not good by themselves and somehow incomplete) become strong and somehow complete together. Something like flocking or swarming but ...
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0answers
33 views

Connotation origin/usage: “self care” along the lines of “Treat yo self” and “#selfcare”

How has the idea of "taking care of yourself, for yourself (your own pleasure), and no other reason" à la the phrases/terms "self care" and "#selfcare" and "treat yo self" developed over time? "self ...
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2answers
74 views

Could “shazam” be used to describe a ninja?

I'm translating some products description from Japanese to English. The product in question is characterized by its compactness and portability. In Japanese, they use the word ドロン (doron), that seems ...
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2answers
55 views

Does the word “extravagance” only have negative connotations?

Case in point: In his opera Rigoletto, Giuseppe Verdi really goes to town showing off his prodigious melodic gift. Themes, lines, full-fledged melodies: he does not economize. He just throws them ...
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1answer
66 views

Just, a noun. (?) [closed]

I can't seem to find an answer to whether the adjective "just" has ever been used as a noun in the history of the English language.
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2answers
65 views

What is the negative connotation of 'great'?

We call a well known actor, a 'famous' actor. Yet a well known criminal is called a 'notorious' criminal. In similar vein, a popular leader would be called a 'great' leader. But what would you call ...
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1answer
59 views

Does the phrase “born and bred” usually connote a sense of pride and eminence in any way?

I recently had to update my profile for a job role and I used the phrase "born and bred in xxxx" to indicate that I was born and raised in a certain part of the world. I always thought born and bred ...
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2answers
170 views

What is the etymology of “blurb”? [closed]

I read: I would admire the blurb on the book jacket. How is the word blurb related to book covers?
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2answers
1k views

Why is “folks” commonly used as a gender-neutral term for “people” when “people” is already gender-neutral?

Lately, I've been noticing a lot of people using folks (sometimes spelled folx) instead of people. This seems especially prevalent among left-leaning sources that pride themselves on inclusion. Some ...
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1answer
83 views

First tattoo: Against the odds [closed]

My wife is going to get her first tattoo and she chose a phrase in English. As English is not our first language, I would like to double-check if this sentence has any bad connotation. I did some ...
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2answers
704 views

If not now then when - a saying by Hillel the Elder

I'm going to get my first tattoo in English. As English is not my first language, I would like to double-check if this sentence has any bad connotation. I did some research on internet and I didn't ...
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1answer
59 views

What's a word that means “making fun of” with a positive connotation? Like the comment is not harmful

I'm trying to say that my classmates "tease" me for always having so much enthusiasm regardless of the amount of work we have. My goal is to show that my enthusiam is a good thing. Is tease a good ...
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54 views

The connotation of “boob” and “tit” [duplicate]

The Americans coined 'boob' and left it to the British, I think, then now prefer 'tits', I think Can you tell me which one is more acceptable in polite context or if they are equivalent, what is ...
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1answer
91 views

Connotation of “cancer” for native speaker

I am a German native speaker. I'm planning a new blog and trying to figure out the best name. I would like to name the blog "three little cancers" in reference to our surname which is "Krebs" (meaning ...
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2answers
43 views

Difference in connotation between “a statement” vs “a statement to make”

I feel there is a difference between the sentences That sounds like a bold statement. and That sounds like a bold statement to make. I think they differ in connotation, but I could not ...
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3answers
55 views

Searching for a non-neutral term that means “Enjoys risk” which is not Daredevil or Gambler

Searching for a term that means someone who 'enjoys taking risks,' rather than 'someone who is not averse to taking risk' or 'someone who overcomes their aversion to risk.' "Undaunted" is neutral in ...
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1answer
145 views

Why is it hard to convey tone of speech through text? [closed]

People often say it is hard to convey emotions through text (phone text) and it is best to communicate serious matters face to face. Can I get some examples where a piece of text can have completely ...
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1answer
306 views

Is “girl” a valid synonym for “young woman”?

This question emerged out of a discussion on Mastodon about Ivanka Trump being called a girl, where it was claimed that “girl' is synonymous with 'young woman' in English”. Is this true? Is it sexism ...
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4answers
2k views

Is there any difference between “result in” and “end up with”?

Seeing some example sentences of each phrase on my dictionary, I felt "end up with" was used for a kind of negative result and "result in" was more general. Is that correct? Here are some of the ...
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3answers
139 views

Is there a synonym for 'intefere' that has a positive connotation?

Interfere is defined by the Cambridge Online Dictionary as: to involve yourself in a situation when your involvement is not wanted or is not helpful I am looking for a word that has essentially ...
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4answers
263 views

Connotation of “I was led to believe”

TL/DR: Does "I was led to believe" imply "my expectations were betrayed"? Does it have an aggressive connotation? Longer version: I am looking for an internship in a large company installed in ...
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1answer
65 views

The figurative use of the word “barrage”

The word "barrage" means a concentrated artillery bombardment. But it is also used figuratively for when someone is being hit with a lot of questions or criticism. The word shares this with the word "...
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1answer
189 views

Connotation and proper usage of 'impel'

I wonder what the connotation of 'to impel' is. And whether I use it properly in my application for a research job. (1) In my motivation letter I write: "After graduating summa cum laude, the fun and ...
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3answers
5k views

Why is “breaking the mould” positively connoted?

I'm not a native speaker so this may be obvious to some of you. I've come across the figure of speech "to break the mould", basically meaning to do your own thing and not adhere to traditions or rules,...
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0answers
81 views

Can the phrase “once more” be a noun in American English?

Can the phrase "once more" be a noun in American English? I'm wondering if it can, as the two Japanese online dictionaries I'm using for my translation of 今一度 both say that the entry, -which only ...
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2answers
2k views

Word for: a synonym with a positive connotation?

For example: "Cautious is just a _________ for being scared." "Opportunistic is just a _________ for being inconsiderate." "Not too bright is just a _________ for being dumb." "Simple is just a ...
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2answers
1k views

Does groping in the dark have negative (sexual) connotations?

I am writing a blog tentatively titled "Particle Filters: Groping in the Dark for Robots". It struck me that groping has a strong sexual connotation too, so I researched if the idiom groping in the ...
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3answers
388 views

Does the word “hovel” have an offensive connotation?

I came across the word hovel and I rather like the resonance of it. I'm aware it generally refers negatively to minimal, ramshackle dwellings, but I'm wondering whether or not the word is also ...
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23answers
7k views

What is a stronger alternative to “avoid”?

In the command form, "avoid" seems to have a weak connotation. For example, the sentence "Avoid Macaroni and Cheese" almost seems to have the clause "if you can" in it even though it doesn't. So, is ...
2
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2answers
589 views

Is there a non-religious alternative to the expression “mixed blessing”?

In my writing I'm looking for an alternative way to say that something is a "mixed blessing". The word "blessing" seems to carry a religious connotation. I'm seeking to convey to the reader that a ...
2
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1answer
104 views

What does a native speaker imagine when hearing “lunatic cat”?

Is "lunatic cat" like "crazy cat" or "it's nonsense, they don't say so", or something else? According to https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/lunatic there is a connection to the moon (see "...
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3answers
388 views

Does the prefix “pre” connote negative meanings? Examples: “Presage” vs “sage”, “pretext” and “preclude”

I came across the word "presage" through the Vocabulary Builder as below presage (v.) presij to indicate something (usually bad) is about to happen. The sudden loss of jobs presaged an ...
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2answers
548 views

What is the difference in connotation between “relentless” and “ruthless?”

My understanding is that both words refer to a hard-charging "take no prisoners" approach to an issue.Relentless is defined as, "showing or promising no abatement of severity, activity, strength or ...
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3answers
301 views

Does the word “maven” have neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tions?

I’m in­ter­ested in us­ing the word maven to de­scribe some­one as be­ing an ex­pert, but don’t want to seem con­de­scend­ing. Does maven have any neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tions?
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3answers
407 views

Allegedly vs. apparently - Differences in connotation?

I am a non-native speaker trying to find the right expression for my sentence. There is a study that reports a 55% decline in the number of trades, however, I cannot examine the data or the study ...
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0answers
129 views

Does “asinine” connote *willful* ignorance?

As a native English speaker, I've always been under the impression that "asinine" has a connotation of willful ignorance, or arrogance, on the part of the person so described. For instance, some of ...
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1answer
38 views

What connotation does, “to have something on someone” have?

Does "to have something on someone" connote wrongdoing, or is it innocuous?
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2answers
500 views

Meaning of “dismay”

What is the exact meaning of dismay? Is it close to shock and surprise? Or is it closer to disappointment and unhappiness? Or does it mean embarrassment? When I looked the word up in the ...
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9answers
6k views

Do meteorites really land on Earth, or did the interviewee mean that ironically? [closed]

Technically speaking, landing is coming to rest after making contact with the ground. Yes, but isn't it supposed to be smooth rather than violent? Ships land, as do planes, drones, and skydivers....
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2answers
178 views

Can you define the subtle difference between “What kind of person …” and “What kind of a person”? [duplicate]

The indefinite article certainly adds something, creating a slightly different shade of meaning, but is there a clearly defined rule or principle for this? What kind of freak show is this? What kind ...
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1answer
57 views

Does unsparing have a negative connotation?

I was reading definitions of unsparing Not merciful. Not frugal: unsparing generosity. It seems that unsparing has two entirely opposite definitions. I guess its meaning would be clear in context. ...

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