Understanding Connotation & Denotation Name Adapted from: Teacherweb com

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Understanding Connotation & Denotation Name__________________

Adapted from: Teacherweb.com

Part I. Definitions
A word's denotation is its literal definition. For example:

Snake: a limbless reptile with a long, scaly body

A word's connotation is all the association we have with it. For example:
"snake in the grass," the biblical serpent, the danger of poisonous snakes, our own fear of

snakes, or a malevolent (evil, bad) person might be called "a real snake"

Connotation can depend on the person who hears the word and the associations he/she brings to it.
* A plumber might immediately think of a plumbing tool called a snake.

*A biologist might think of the rare Indigo Snake he felt lucky to see the past weekend.

Some words, though, have shades of meaning that are commonly recognized. For example:
While "serpent" is literally a snake, the word "serpent" is usually associated with evil. In today's society, "politician" has somewhat negative associations, while "statesman" sounds more positive.
Part II. Connotation & Denotation Real Life Applications
Every wonder how connotation & denotation influences the names of different products? Well, believe it or not, manufacturers & advertisers are very tuned into connotation & denotation of words when they name different products and when they develop advertising to market the products.
For example: Car Names: Here are some car names from the past: Thunderbird, Falcon, Charger, Comet, Mustang, Barracuda, Rabbit, Pinto, Gremlin.
Choose one of these cars & answer the following questions: Car Name: _____________

  1. What sort of image do you see in your mind from this name?_______________________

  2. What kind of performance would you expect from this car?________________________

  3. What kind of person would this car target & why?_______________________________

Getting inside the manufacturers & advertisers heads: Look at the list of car names above and answer the following questions:

  1. Which car do you think is the fastest & why? __________________________________

  2. Which car is the best “muscle” car & why? ___________________________________

  3. Which car would aggressive, “road rage” drivers drive & why? ______________________


  1. Which car is a clunker & should be junked & why? ______________________________

  2. Which car do you think looks the best & why? _________________________________

  3. Which car would you drive & why? ________________________________________

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