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Questions tagged [connotation]

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

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11 votes
8 answers
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“Out of the mouths of babes”: Is this idiom strictly used to refer to children?

According to Cambridge Dictionary, “out of the mouths of babes” is an idiom used when a child says something that is surprisingly wise. So, it is used to compliment the child for saying something that’...
hb20007's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
1k views

Etymology and Elizabethan English connotations of "sat at meat" (Mark 2:15, KJV)

I came across a King James (1611) translation of Mark 2:15: And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: ...
GratefulDisciple's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
194 views

How neutral is "then think again"?

I am not a native English speaker and in some cases particular phrasing can sound neutral to me but actually be rude and vice versa. I always thought that "think again" in phrases like "...
shabunc's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
2k views

Are villainize and vilify exact synonyms?

Villainize and vilify are two extremely similar verbs... vilify: verb (used with object),vil·i·fied, vil·i·fy·ing. to speak ill of; defame; slander. Obsolete. to make vile. villainize: verb (used ...
bjmc's user avatar
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6 votes
3 answers
611 views

Difference in logical inevitability between therefore/thus/hence

I am trying to figure out the difference in the degrees of logical inevitability that the words therefore, thus, and hence express, when used in academic scientific writing. Glenn Paquette explains in ...
Masa Sakano's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
55 views

From where comes the connotation of descent in "downtown"? [duplicate]

In English, when speaking about going to the center of the town, it's a matter of going to the "downtown" so, my question is about the origins of the connotation of some "descent" (...
jihed gasmi's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
138 views

Which one is correct? "many privileges" vs. "much privilege" [closed]

Which one is correct? Is it many privileges or much privilege? e.g. You have many privileges/much privilege as a child of a rich family.
user478837's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
112 views

Can I use "small" and "little" together to express irony and contempt?

I know the difference between small and little. I see that they are not so commonly used together, in any case less commonly than tiny little, as this Ngram shows. Here is one example that does not ...
fev's user avatar
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-3 votes
1 answer
2k views

When "play" has a sexual connotation, what type of sex does it refer to? [closed]

Urban Dictionary includes one explanation of "play" : Anything to do with sexual relations: fooling around, making out, oral sex or having intercourse. However, most of the formal-language ...
RomanGhost's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
42 views

Why is the meaning of good in most dictionaries described as both acceptable/satisfactory in one sense and excellent/high quality in another sense?

When we type good in most online dictionaries including Oxford, Collins, Webster etc, various meanings come out. However, when it comes to standard, quality or performance both senses are given: ...
Pranay Bansod's user avatar
2 votes
4 answers
130 views

Is "Fair Witness" an adequate alternative term for "whistle blower" in academia?

It was suggested to me to use the term "fair witness" instead of "whistle blower" (when proposing to design a university course about such topic, and potentially an academic study ...
J..y B..y's user avatar
  • 131
2 votes
1 answer
164 views

What does "he was a child who couldn't keep his fingers out of the cookie jar" mean when talking of someone's sexual scandal?

This sentence is quoted from a director's memoir, where he mentions that a famous movie star was sent to the police station because of his affair. (Thank all of you for your considerate answers. To ...
RomanGhost's user avatar
6 votes
4 answers
1k views

"Sketching" a graph

While this is in the context of a math problem, the question refers to the connotations and meaning of the word "sketch", so I imagine it fits this site, at least somewhat. If one asks ...
R. Modi's user avatar
  • 123
0 votes
1 answer
52 views

Can "to inspire" be used to mean "to blind"?

My teacher made this claim in context of Alicia Keys' song "New York" with reference to the line the lights will inspire you (which I just read to mean that the lights will spark ideas and ...
Iannis Alexopoulos's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
135 views

what is the connotation of newsie?

I would like to use it in my blog. It is formal enough without any bad connotation? "nouninformal•US plural noun: newsies; noun: newsie a reporter. a person who sells or delivers newspapers.&...
Maxfield's user avatar
  • 189
0 votes
1 answer
63 views

Does "leading on" have a sexual connotation?

In the first consultant session with someone of the opposite sex, where we explored a specific subset of her business challenges, a potential solution came to my mind. I did, however, not mention that ...
Albert Hendriks's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
260 views

Why is the word "oven" used to refer to a cremator in a concentration camp?

If I read "the bodies were incinerated in ovens" I can be fairly sure that a concentration camp (run by Nazi Germany) is being referred to, because normally, when a death camp is not being ...
Matthew Christopher Bartsh's user avatar
0 votes
3 answers
125 views

Does spot have a negative connotation to it?

We are searching for a word that would mean place/site. The word spot sounds nice to us, as in Let's go to that spot. However looking at the definition, it is also used to mean a stain. So we wonder ...
Ced's user avatar
  • 129
1 vote
1 answer
1k views

Does the idiom "dotting your Is and crossing your Ts" have a negative connotation?

I have heard this idiom being used in the negative sense on TV to express annoyance when someone is too meticulous. However, from what I remember, it is a positive trait to have, i.e., to be thorough ...
Shruti Pahuja's user avatar
5 votes
5 answers
817 views

Translating "wessen-dessen" sentences [closed]

I'm struggling a bit with the translation of the German "wessen...dessen..." To clarify, here's the full German sentence, which is not idiomatic at all, it's just phrased to sound like it is:...
drdeath's user avatar
  • 75
1 vote
1 answer
140 views

Metaphorical Meaning of "The Offing"

Question I would like to know whether the title of Benjamin Myers's novel The Offing can be interpreted as a metaphor for "going away", "vanishing", "deceasing". I am not ...
Jonathan Herrera's user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
3k views

What is the difference between Ghost and Apparition?

I'm stuck at getting the clear and sharp difference between these two words. WikiDiff says: As nouns the difference between apparition and ghost is that apparition is an act of becoming visible; ...
Giorgi Tsiklauri's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
78 views

Is there a rhetoric term for using a pejorative positively or a euphemism negatively e.g. to loosen moral assumptions?

I'm not asking about contronyms or words that migrate from negative to positive connotations (e.g. "bad" or "gay") Examples: "I don't meant to just name-call. I mean to name-...
Jeremy Sherman's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
233 views

"Syncretic" vs "Syncretistic" with negative connotation

I need to translate a sentence from Greek which literally sounds something like this: At that time a syncretic/syncretistic spirit prevailed and the X (name of nation) were influenced by the beliefs ...
fev's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
74 views

Connotation of 'Fusty'

New here so not sure whether the question is suitable for this site. Based on Google search, the word fusty has two meanings. The second one is 'old-fashioned in attitude or style'. I stumbled upon ...
Dayne's user avatar
  • 103
2 votes
1 answer
95 views

Why is a Mormon settlement called a "colony" while other settlements are not?

I was reading several articles about the Oregon Trail and other movements west, mostly after the American Civil War. Several sources refer to Mormon settlements as "colonies", though these ...
Village's user avatar
  • 2,091
0 votes
0 answers
180 views

Word for anger out of concern [for another]?

Fearful anger is the closest I've found—compound words/phrases are acceptable, but I'm really looking for a single word. A context example: if a friend or loved one does something reckless and/or ...
wolvela's user avatar
  • 21
0 votes
1 answer
217 views

Succinct description of where water meets land?

Assuming that "a water's edge" marginally connotes land, too: would it be correct English if "a water's edge" were joined by an adjective describing the nature of the land? (...
Swenglish's user avatar
  • 107
2 votes
3 answers
1k views

Is "taking liberties with something" always disapproving?

The expression "to take liberties with something" are defined by different dictionaries as follows: to make important and unreasonable changes to something, especially a book (Oxford ...
BeatsMe's user avatar
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1 vote
3 answers
4k views

Better way to say "Sorry I asked"

I ran into a situation at work where I had some property I needed to get rid of so I asked our property manager whether I can just throw it away or if there if I need to give it to her to deal with. ...
David K's user avatar
  • 189
1 vote
0 answers
666 views

"Pretty positive" vs "very positive" [closed]

I'm overthinking here a bit after I heard back from my recruiter regarding my interview performance. One recruiter from one company said the feedback was "pretty positive" and another said &...
user5965026's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
140 views

When a wife asks her husband, "is YOUR daughter home yet?", does this make you conclude that she isn't THEIR daughter but only his?

In my native language when I say to my husband "is your daughter home" it's just another way of saying "is my daughter home", no difference. Although sometimes it might mean that ...
Amin's user avatar
  • 11
3 votes
0 answers
2k views

Does "multiple" mean simply "more than one" or is it better used to connote division, duplication, or repetition?

First, "more than one" and "many" are acceptable meanings for "multiple." 1 : consisting of, including, or involving more than one: multiple births, multiple choices 2 : ...
Roister's user avatar
  • 352
10 votes
4 answers
5k views

lie vs fabricate. When to use which one in what situation?

I'm having hard time distinguishing between these words and come to ask you gracious people for help. I recently learned the word "fabricate". I got into the dictionary for more details, and ...
Mint Bee's user avatar
  • 142
3 votes
3 answers
312 views

Does "have yet to" imply expectations?

I just wrote an email saying I have written to you several times recently with various corrections but have yet to receive a response. I'm wondering now whether this differs in normative content ...
joriki's user avatar
  • 348
3 votes
2 answers
260 views

A less derogatory alternative for "epithet"

An epithet is a nickname or descriptive term that’s added to someone’s name that becomes part of common usage. For example, in the name Alexander the Great, “the Great” is an epithet. The definition ...
ptrcao's user avatar
  • 193
1 vote
0 answers
148 views

Why would the word "patriotic" have negative connotations? [closed]

In the Third Act of G. B. Shaw's play Man and Superman (a.k.a. Don Juan in Hell), the lead character castigates the devil's friends by changing what is conventionally taken as their flattering ...
Ricky's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
35 views

This and that when they refer to non-tangible objects

Let's take this example: ....But on a regular, day-to-day basis, when a task requires thinking that isn’t itself enjoyable, even puzzle lovers’ brains prefer less thinking over more. That is the law ...
Kakaraji's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
982 views

Is "harlot" considered to be a derogatory word?

I'm working on a short story based around the Victorian age where the protagonist is a prostitute by profession. I was keen on using the word "harlot" in my title as it not only describes ...
user11845919's user avatar
2 votes
4 answers
658 views

Does "giggle" have childish connotations?

I'm pretty sure giggle does have childish connotations (it's associated with children), but my question is really; is it so associated with children that it would seem weird to a native speaker if ...
A. Kvåle's user avatar
  • 2,147
2 votes
3 answers
165 views

What's a word to call a person who is involuntarily used?

In an interaction, one person uses another against their will. Is there a word (noun) to refer to that person? Example: Person A trips and grabs onto Person B, a stranger, in order to not fall to the ...
wolvela's user avatar
  • 21
-1 votes
2 answers
185 views

Is "persuasive techniques" or "persuasion techniques" more grammatically correct?

I've tried looking this up on various sources. Wikipedia has a category called Persuasion Techniques. However a couple of different Google searches for "persuasive techniques" and "...
captainminecart's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
637 views

Is there any difference between "putting on" and "faking" (an accent)?

I know they both mean "pretending to have" (a particular accent). Yet, I'm unsure if they can be used interchangeably. Are they both disapproving? For example, He was just faking a Scottish ...
BeatsMe's user avatar
  • 1,478
0 votes
1 answer
33 views

Does "underappreciated" have a "woe is me" connotation?

I'm editing a grant and I just came across the word 'underappreciated'. It's being used in the context of saying 'The thing that we are proposing to study is underappreciated.' Whenever I hear or see ...
Jayne's user avatar
  • 1
1 vote
2 answers
97 views

What does "packaged charm" mean?

from Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye, Chapter 4: He looked around and yawned. “I haven’t been sleeping well. It’s nice in here. But after a while the lushes will fill the place up and talk loud ...
ZwaiWng's user avatar
  • 13
4 votes
2 answers
680 views

Does the Word "laden" Carry a Negative Connotation?

So normally one could use the word "laden" to say, The trees are laden with ripe fruit. ; This sentence doesn't have any negative emotion linked to it. But when used with other sentences, ...
Bambara's user avatar
  • 135
2 votes
3 answers
3k views

Difference between the prefixes "pre" and "ante"?

Thinking of the words "precedent" and "antecedent" led me to this question. They seem to mean almost exactly the same thing in their more general usages, but "antecedent" ...
Anon's user avatar
  • 21
-2 votes
4 answers
268 views

Synonym for confront, without an extremely negative connotation?

I'm looking for a word like confront- where it has a slightly negative connotation; like it's something that is uncomfortable, but not extremely bad. Examples: I had to __________ people who weren't ...
Lucie145's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
316 views

What's a word for someone that is healthy that has a gender neutral, positive connotation?

Hi I'm looking for a word that refers to someone who takes care of their health and physical well being that has a positive connotation and gender neutral. For example someone who reads a lot of books ...
Liza's user avatar
  • 21
1 vote
0 answers
553 views

Synonym for "pivotal" but with a negative outcome connotation [closed]

Am I mistaken that the word "pivotal" has a positive connotation? The outcome that is the subject of the pivotol thing is typically a positive outcome? If so, is there a synonym for ...
Suraj's user avatar
  • 143

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