Questions tagged [connotation]

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

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12k views

Why the use of 'clock' in the following sentence?

"Bob clocked Joe right in the nose." In this sentence, "clocked" indicates that Bob punched Joe directly in Joe's nose. How did 'clock' come to be used in such a way? Is it colloquial/vernacular to ...
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3answers
126 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" ...
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3answers
104 views

Whats a word to call a person who is involuntarily used?

In an interaction, one person uses another against their will. Is there a word (n) to refer to that person? Ex. Person A trips and grabs on to Person B, a stranger, in order to not fall to the ground. ...
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2answers
83 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 "...
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1answer
68 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 ...
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4answers
10k views

How acceptable is “asinine”

The relation between asinine and ass is pretty apparent, and I know that ass isn't a very acceptable word, but is asinine? If it were used in an essay for school or during discussion would it be ...
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5answers
14k views

Can “the chickens have come home to roost” have positive as well as negative connotations?

In answering a recent EL&U question (Idiom for the phrase "someone who gets what he deserved"), I cited the phrase "The chickens have come home to roost," and said that it "applies ...
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4answers
55 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 ...
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2answers
2k views

What are the differences between, and the connotations of, “flag”, “banner”, and “standard”?

See also: Difference between "banner" and "flag". I would like to know about standard, too. What would you say are the differences between the three words?
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8answers
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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 ...
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1answer
941 views

Usage and acceptability of the word “queer”

This dictionary.com definition pretty much sums up my understanding of what the word queer is supposed to mean. However, in modern times (at least here in the US, perhap someone else can speak for ...
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4answers
17k views

Does “gay” necessarily mean male homosexual?

I was under the impression that gay always refers to a male homosexual, though sometimes I see this term used to describe female homosexuals (i.e. lesbians) as well. Is it correct usage? Does it ...
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2answers
492 views

Does the word “sympathizer” have a negative connotation?

Recently, at my work, there was an email which talked about the "LGBT sympathizers" community. What the author wanted to say is the "friends of the LGBT community". Technically speaking it seems ...
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2answers
694 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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1answer
49 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 ...
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2answers
8k 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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2answers
11k views

“They want nobody's sympathy” vs “They don't want anyone's sympathy”

Which is better? They want nobody's sympathy. Or They don't want anyone's sympathy. I know both are grammatically correct, but I think they should be used for different occasions. One means ...
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1answer
20 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 ...
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2answers
68 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 ...
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2answers
34k views

Does “You flatter me” have negative connotations?

I always thought that "You flatter me" is just a way of remaining modest when responding to a compliment, as if to say "I'm pleased you think that, although I think you're being too kind". But I've ...
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2answers
324 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, ...
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2answers
503 views

Does “delete” have negative connotations?

I've noticed, when major connected device OSes remove a Bluetooth device from the list of known devices, they typically use "forget", "remove", or "unpair" instead of &...
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9answers
18k views

word to describe a person who catches the sexual overtone in a normal conversation

I know there is a word for it — I heard it when I was young. What is the word to describe a person who catches the sexual overtones in a normal (non-sexual) conversation? Here's one example I have (I ...
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1answer
286 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

Is “subtle” a positive, neutral or/and negative word?

I wonder whether subtle is a positive, neutral or/and negative word? Looking up its definition, it seems that the word means things unclear for good reason. For example, I  wonder if subtle can ...
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1answer
112 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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1answer
224 views

Was the Shark frightening to 16th / 17th-century English speakers?

Undoubtedly, in our Modern-mind-set, for many the mere utterance of the word "Shark" (more so when in the ocean, swimming) brings a sort of dread or at the least, undesirability to the ...
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2answers
58 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 ...
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12answers
3k views

A synonym for “bastardized” without the evil slant?

With the following definition: To lower in quality or character. Synonyms found: corrupt, pervert, subvert, demoralize, demoralise, debauch, debase, profane, vitiate, deprave, misdirect ...
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1answer
2k views

Does erudite carry positive or negative or neutral connotation?

Does erudite carry positive or negative or neutral connotation? I received a comment on my writing style from a mathematician a while ago Why not try for direct active voice and stop trying to ...
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0answers
74 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 ...
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3answers
5k views

Has the suffix “-trix” acquired a pejorative meaning in recent years?

A couple days ago I needed the correct word for a female aviator, which I figured was aviatress. A dictionary.com search provided aviatress, aviatrice and aviatrix as acceptable choices. ...
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0answers
31 views

solo photo – what would be understood by this?

It's an error message that should signal that in the provided photo there is more than 1 person and the user should upload a photo where they are alone. Can I use in this context the word "solo&...
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6answers
17k 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
97 views

Is there a synonym of “transcend” that has negative connotations

I want to say something like, "The argumentative scene in politics has transcended the once epistemological purpose of rhetoric and debate, in favor of treating rhetoric as a tool, debate as a ...
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0answers
18 views

Love of Home and Friends—like the ridge behind a Bunker! (Meaning)

I'm translating a fable by George Ade called "The Fable of the Visitor Who Got a Lot for Three Dollars." In the following extract, the phrenologist is telling his customer how he is based on ...
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1answer
53 views

Recent derogatory usage of the term ‘inkblot’?

I have observed the use of the term ‘inkblot’ in online forums for criticizing writing which is deficient in coherent logic and/or elucidation, e.g. “your incoherent inkblots notwithstanding.” In this ...
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3answers
116 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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1answer
64 views

How to word “…but with whom we shared…”

I just told my life's story to someone I've known for only two days, but with whom we shared an instant, platonic connection. I know that we in this sentence "should" be I, that this ...
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4answers
9k views

What does it mean when people tell you “You have a good head”?

How good is this compliment? When should you use it instead of saying you are smart or clever?
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1answer
53 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 ...
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3answers
635 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
85 views

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

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
29 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
48 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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6answers
4k views

Connotations of the word “galore”

I would like to know what connotations the word "galore" carries for native English speakers. I really like the word and it's meaning and have seen it being used in some modern contexts. However, I'm ...
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3answers
400 views

The use of “male”/“female” (instead of e.g. “man”/“woman”) in everyday speech

In contemporary English, the terms "male" and "female" seem to be almost as commonly applied to people as "man" and "woman". For example, I see people posting questions on certain StackExchange sites ...
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3answers
509 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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10answers
13k 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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2answers
76 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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