Questions tagged [connotation]

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

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4answers
78k views

Meaning of “have an agenda”

What does it mean when someone says he has an agenda? Is there a negative connotation to agenda? If there is, then why and what is a word that means the same thing but has a positive connotation?
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2answers
35k views

What are all the ways the British use the word “lovely”? Especially towards pretty girls?

From watching many period dramas and plays set in England, as I like to do, I've become more acutely aware of the British overloading of the word lovely. In particular, I have two questions: What ...
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3answers
527 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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2answers
478 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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5answers
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Can you “commemorate” something bad?

Strictly speaking, from an etymological standpoint, there is no reason to suppose "commemorate" should imply either a positive or negative connotation of what is being remembered. That said, it feels ...
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1answer
21k views

Any difference between “Are you done?” and “Are you done yet?”

I see people in movies saying Are you done? and Are you done yet? And I wonder what that the addition of yet might mean or suggest in the second version which is absent in the first one. ...
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6answers
3k views

Is there a positive synonym for “indecisive”?

Is there a word that describes a person who tries to get as much information as possible when making a decision for fear of committing a mistake that might affect both him and others in a negative ...
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3answers
818 views

Which has a stronger sexual connotation: “corset” or “bustier”?

Our fashion content writers are trying to choose the word that describes a fashion triend, but has the least sexual connotation. (Corset and bustier seem to be used interchangeably when it comes to ...
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3answers
11k views

Is the word 'consort' still considered an insult in the modern usage?

In Romeo and Juliet, Tybalt says to Mercutio: 'Mercutio, thou consort'st with Romeo.' Mercutio replies 'consort! What, dost thou make us minstrels?... Zounds consorts!' Bloodshed followed shortly. It'...
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4answers
152k views

What is the precise meaning of “Pretty Good”?

Once I used "pretty good" as a reply to one of my friends' question "How are you today?", I was under the impression that the "pretty good" will weigh much more than just "good", means "very good" or "...
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The phrase “God willing.”

Does "God willing" have a religious connotation to it? What are some other phrases that mean the same thing but don't have this connotation?
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3answers
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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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3answers
348 views

Primary association of “to make out” [closed]

I am about to write an article about the German verb "ausmachen", which looking at the parts, looks awfully close to "make out". I did some reading on Merriam Webster and Wiktionary only to find that ...
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3answers
580 views

What is the difference (in terms of usage and connotation) between “loath” and “loathe”?

I'm having difficulty in understanding the differences in usage (and understanding which one is used from pronunciation/context) between "loathe" and "loath" - could anyone help clarify it ?
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7answers
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What connotation exactly does the word “noddy” have in British English?

I watched a BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby the other day, and came across a bit of dialogue I couldn't quite decipher: A character named Squeers: I ...
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2answers
22k views

Do “good for you” and “I am happy for you” have a negative or positive connotation?

I am not sure if this is the right place, but I was wondering if "good for you" and "I am happy for you" have a negative or positive connotation.
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4answers
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“Engagement”, “betrothal” — connotations?

I'm not a native speaker, so frequently I don't know underlying semantic subtleties of synonyms; what connotations they bear, which may be antiquated or very official, which are specific to given ...
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4answers
70k views

“Naïve” vs “Ignorant”

What is the difference between naïve and ignorant? I want to make sure I understand the proper meaning and connotation of each word. For example, how would you describe a person who makes ...
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2answers
4k views

What Kind of Connotations are Associated with the word 'Bruv'?

I encountered the slang word 'bruv' for the first time not long ago while playing Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. The word is used quite a lot by a genius scientist character named Gladstone Katoa, but ...
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5answers
21k views

What is the word for “stepping stone” if it is used in a derogatory sense?

I checked the meaning of stepping stone in a dictionary, it was a means of progress What would be the word for stepping stone if I want to use it in a negative sense? For example, He used him ...
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7answers
9k views

In what contexts would one use the slang word “minging” in British English?

I was watching a Youtube video on English accents, and in the middle of a Yorkshire one, I think, the author of the video used the word "minging", in what seemed to be an insult. So I have two ...
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3answers
9k views

“Stamp” vs “stomp”: when, how, and why?

In an article discussing those two, James Kilpatrick, the author, makes the following claim: Semantically speaking, there is not a dime's worth of difference in the two verbs. They both mean "to ...
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4answers
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How did “kill” get its positive connotations?

For example: She made a killing on the stock market. The comedian killed the audience — they were slain with laughter. Did this meaning develop slowly over time or did some person or ...
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8answers
16k 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 ...
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2answers
3k views

Does “effusive” have a negative connotation?

He was very effusive in his praise of the features. The definition on wordnik shows a lot of words that gives me the feeling that effusive has a negative connotation: unrestrained excessive ...
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1answer
7k views

Does “kowtow” have racist connotations?

Just wondering if this had its origins in a "questionable' time and should be avoided. For example, if it were used during a time of predjudice against Chinese laborers, or used to refer to their ...
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1answer
15k views

Does “awe” have a colloquial meaning (similar to “awesome”)?

The meaning of awe is given in dictionaries as "an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime" (this definition is from Merriam-...
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3answers
615 views

Connotative history and recent usage of “Person / People of color”

In its remarks on of color, the OED online includes a link reading "compare earlier coloured, adj. 3b." It marks "colored / coloured" as a way to refer to people with non-white skin as "now usually ...
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42k views

Non-religious word for “blessed”

I want to say on social media that I am blessed to have my daughter, but I am not religious and find it awkward when people respond saying that they are sending prayers my way. I appreciate the ...
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3answers
3k views

Is it correct to use “or” in place of “and/or”?

Consider the following sentence: A project is a large and/or complex undertaking. To me, the expression “and/or” seems redundant since in formal logic “or” implies “...
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9answers
13k views

Is there an adjective for someone who can withstand ridicule?

I've been searching both my mind and several thesauruses attempting to find the adjective that best describes this type of person. The term "thick-skinned" is the closest to what I am trying to ...
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6answers
1k views

What does the word “predict” imply?

I am not sure if I could use the word predict in the context of a scientific forecast. Does this word have a connotation of guessing, transcendental belief, or some kind of humbug? And if so, what ...
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3answers
1k views

Can you *donate* to a non-charitable cause?

I just had someone insist that a donation can only be to a charitable cause or organization; otherwise, the word contribution should be used. When I objected to "contribution" on the grounds that it ...
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3answers
4k 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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5answers
878 views

Whats the connotation of 'makeshift'? Is it negative, neutral, or positive like: creative?

I'm curious what the association(s) are with the word 'makeshift"
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4answers
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
1k views

Baffling vs Perplexing

Is there any difference between 'baffling' and 'perplexing'? I'm especially interested in connotative aspect. Thanks in advance!
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5answers
19k 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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6answers
13k views

Take advantage of - positively

The phrase "take advantage of" is usually perceived as negative. Is there a word or a phrase with a similar meaning which would convey a more positive meaning? Akin to "make use of the situation" but ...
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2answers
4k views

What is a “commodity” when referred to as an adjective to describe a particular object?

When people describe any object (such as a career, or for instance, a computer cluster, etc) and they describe it as "commodity", what is it supposed to mean? According to Wikipedia, a commodity is ...
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3answers
699 views

Is this usage of “woo” proper?

John doesn't actively participate in class discussion, unlike his classmates. He thinks they act a bit overly and he doesn't like to woo the teachers. Woo has two meanings: Try to gain the ...
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1answer
961 views

What does “undoable” mean?

When something is undoable, does it mean that it has the ability to be reverted back to its previous state or does it mean that it's not feasible? I broke something on my computer and a fix is ...
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3answers
1k views

“Memorial” as a non-sad word?

Can one use the word "memorial" (noun or adjective) without the negative/sad connotation of commemoration of the dead?
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2answers
314 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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4answers
11k views

Boogie - Negative connotation?

I work in a company which has a product called "Boogie" (for reasons that the original owner knows). The product has been called that way for years in our French Canadian environment. Our few English ...
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9answers
17k 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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2answers
2k 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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2answers
25k views

“Quote” vs “estimate” (business context)

I'm interested in the semantic implications of using the words quote and estimate in a business scenario. Here's the situation: When someone wants to purchase a service that I provide, they can fill ...
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4answers
2k views

Synonym with positive connotation for “peeping through the door”

She peeped through the door asking for permission to enter. Does peeped through have a negative connotation? If so, is there a better word or phrase to be used in such context?
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2answers
6k views

Is “handsome” associated with masculinity and “pretty” associated with femininity? [duplicate]

TL;DR— See title: Are the attributes in “handsome girl” and “pretty boy” perfectly interchangeable? Is there an implicit, gender-specific connotation in “handsome” (♂) and “pretty” (♀)? This video ...

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