from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Denoting or naming; designative.
  • adj. Specific or direct: denotative and connotative meanings.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. That denotes or names; designative
  • adj. Specific to the primary meaning of a term

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having power to denote; designating or marking off.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Having power to denote.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. in accordance with fact or the primary meaning of a term
  • adj. having the power of explicitly denoting or designating or naming


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • But to call the critical writing of Samuel Johnson or S.T. Coleridge or Henry James "theory" is merely to engage in denotative game playing.

    Literary Study

  • It’s by no means impossible to interpret that in denotative terms, split the portmanteau words back into their roots — “moongrowl” as “mongrel”, “moon” and “growl” — take coinages as new signifiers for new signifieds — “rowl” as a combination of “prowl” and “growl” — and so on.

    Notes on Notes

  • White devotes a considerable section of his reply to straightening me out on what philosophers mean by "denotative" and "connotative," for failure to heed this, he suggests, I should "win… some kind of prize for philosophical incompetence."

    Letting Go

  • Deluxe carries, in the narrow context in which it finds its widest everyday usage, a clear and concise denotative sense: “accompanied by a slice of tomato, a leaf of iceberg lettuce, fries, and a pickle.”

    The English Is Coming!

  • Personal names have both denotative and connotative functions — shorthand for a bundle of associations attached to a person.

    IPSC: trademark and the consumer

  • Or can the interpreting find its way through the connotations without bringing the knife to bear in the name of denotative certainty?

    Notes on Notes

  • In fact, if the strict referentiality of "transparent prose" makes it easier to create a translation that results in the same reading experience, if a reader of the German edition is able to construct the same Meaning and/or Story as a reader of the French edition largely because the prose is designed with no function other than the delivery of its denotative "content", this is precisely because a straight recitation is a flat recitation.

    Archive 2008-06-01

  • By adding that depth, the cross-section even adds the detail of the fingernail that is completely absent in the first representation ... just as additional meanings are generated by selecting words with specific connotations and acoustic consonances in place of words which simply carry out a basic denotative function.

    Archive 2008-06-01

  • As far as they are concerned Clute is simply relabelling the literary mode they would happily call fantasy, and it's hard to see much value in choosing his coinage over the more straightforward term given that it comes from the same root, carries the same denotative and connotative baggage and is distinguished only by the elevated register that it garners from the exotic ending -- fantastika rather than fantastic.

    Narrative Grammars

  • The same function can be found in an articulation constructed as a fully-formed sentence, carrying actual denotative meaning and aimed at a specific listener.

    Notes on Strange Fiction: Narrative's Function (2)


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