Questions tagged [connotation]

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

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1answer
100 views

Are there connotations of subtotals in the phrase “add up the total”?

Does the phrase "add up the total" typically have a connotation that, from the list of all the numbers being added, there are some particular subtotals that either have already been calculated or at ...
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6answers
17k views

Difference between 'Redundant' and 'Superfluous'

(I made a search for this question on this forum but surprisingly did not find related questions. Which is odd because surely this question is asked often.) First, the sentence I'm trying to use ...
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2answers
53 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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0answers
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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
44 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
63 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
58 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
51 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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4answers
4k views

“Combination” versus “Amalgamation”

I'm looking for the key differences between combination and amalgamation. The differences between their verb forms (combine and amalgamate) is just as acceptable to me. Combination: the act or an ...
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5answers
14k views

Positive word for Premonition

I wanted to use the word "Premonition" in a sentence, but when I checked the meaning I got "A feeling of evil to come", which was far from what I wanted to convey. So I checked synonyms like "boding",...
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1answer
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Connotations of the word “cohort”

Outside of the scientific sense (cohort study), does the word cohort have positive, negative or neutral connotations? The dictionary defines it as a group of people or single companion and it ...
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2answers
155 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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1answer
127 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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4answers
2k views

What is the word for the state of ignoring something?

What is the word for the state of ignoring something? For instance, if I am ignoring you, am I in a state of ignorance? Is there a better word with a less negative connotation?
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1answer
81 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
201 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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6answers
58k views

“Told” vs. “said to” somebody

I told him that you hate him I said to him that you hate him I was choosing between these two options, and I can't help thinking about the subtle differences. For example, "I told him your ...
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8answers
6k views

Is there any synonym for “abyss” with a non-negative connotation?

Could somebody tell me, what is the positive of the word "Abyss" ? As I know, abyss means an infinite depth or abode of evils, Hell. So isn't there any word which will mean the same as infinite depth ...
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9answers
11k views

Is the use of the word “terrible” in a positive sense at all common?

I recently had an argument with one gentleman where he charged that he had heard the word terrible being used in a positive sense, as if something was good, or great. I had lived in the States for ...
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1answer
58 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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0answers
52 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
85 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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6answers
12k views

“Alumnus” vs “dropout”: Can you still call someone who chooses to quit college/university study an “alumnus” of that institution?

If someone chooses to quit college, I can refer to that person as a “former” student of that college. It therefore appears that I can use alumnus according to the definitions given for that term given ...
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3answers
53 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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3answers
1k views

Does “dissimulation” have a positive, negative, or neutral connotation?

I tried checking a few online dictionaries and can't get a feel for whether the word is generally used in a positive or negative sense. What is the connotation of "dissimulation"?
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2answers
1k views

Understanding “whistleblower”

The term, according to the Oxford Online Dictionary, means: whistle-blower A person who informs on a person or organization regarded as engaging in an unlawful or immoral activity. Also from ...
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8answers
14k views

A word similar to pride (without its troublesome patronizing connotations)

I frequently want to express a feeling of pleasure to be associated with someone who is doing something exceptional. The phrase that comes to mind is, "I'm proud of you," but I am troubled by a ...
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1answer
91 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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4answers
7k views

Is the connotation of “naughty” always sexual?

Does the word "naughty" always have a sexual connotation if it is used between adults? I'd like to use it in a notification-text of a smartphone app, e.g.: No naughty apps selected, where it's ...
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5answers
12k views

Alternative word for jealous (without the negative connotations)

I was wondering whether there is a word similar to jealousy but without the negative connotations? For example, if I really admired someone for their memory and wished mine could be as good - however, ...
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3answers
2k views

Single word for a synonym with opposite connotation?

Is there a single word to describe a word that has the same literal meaning, but is opposite in connotation to another word? In other words, what is to connotation as antonym is to denotation? To ...
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1answer
263 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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6answers
3k views

First-rate, second-rate, and third-rate

I’d like some clarification on the use of these three words. First-rate has positive connotations and its meaning is manifest, but the meanings of second-rate and third-rate are relatively muddy in ...
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3answers
131 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
165 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
54 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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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 ...
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5answers
24k views

Does 'droll' have a negative connotation?

I'd taken droll to mean something like drily amusing, but without any implied negativity. But I've often heard people say Very droll! in response to something that they appear to find mildly ...
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8answers
105k views

What is the neutral way of telling someone to “do whatever you want”?

Do whatever you want This sentence can carry a negative tone (highly probable). Making it sound that someone is fed-up and/or simply doesn't care. Especially after one has had a heated discussion/...
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0answers
23 views

Has had vs had a surgery/operation [duplicate]

Can someone please clarify the difference between has had and had? For example: Everyone on this ward [had | has had] [a surgery | an operation]. Almost every patient on this ward [had | has had] a ...
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3answers
321 views

Conveying the idea of “balancing conflicting interests”

I'm looking for a less wordy way (either single word, phrase or even a metaphor or word picture) to convey the idea of the tension you feel when you have to balance two conflicting interests. Any ...
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1answer
156 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
4k 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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7answers
21k views

What's the difference between “efficacy” and “effectiveness”?

I usually use the word "effectiveness" in conversation, but sometimes I use the word "efficacy" then self-correct with "effectiveness" . Is there a practical difference between them?
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0answers
79 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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4answers
2k views

Why is “hopefully” treated so mercilessly?

Is the word "hopefully" unjustly treated? We don't like the sentence: "Hopefully, my ship is just over the horizon and due in real soon now." But we don't mind saying: "Happily, the tree fell on ...
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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
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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