Denotation refers to the literal, dictionary definition of a word. Many of the words that we use also have feelings and emotions that are associated with them, and this is called connotation. We often must understand the denotation of a word, or its literal meaning, in order to understand the connotation.
Some Words for Which Denotation and Connotation Differ:
1. Gay-literally means "lighthearted and carefree." Only more recently has it come to be a reference for homosexuality.
2. Shrewd-literally means "having good judgment," but has a negative connotation.
3. Chick-literally means a "baby bird," but is often used as a somewhat derogatory term for a woman.
4. Home-literally means the physical place where you live, but is often used to refer to the intangible idea of family and belonging
5. Rock-literally means a stone, but can also be used to refer to a person as solid and stable.
6. Crown-literally an adornment for a member of the royal family, but used to refer to the entire idea of royalty and power.
7. Mule-literally a mix between a donkey and a horse. Used to refer to a stubborn person.
8. Rose-literally a type of flower. Used as a symbol for love and beauty.