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Monday, 27 June 2011

Stuart's Daily Word Spot: Connote or denote?


Connote or denote?
These two are often confused, and thought by some writers, to be synonyms. But they mean different things.
Connote means to suggest or imply.
Denote means to distinguish by a mark or sign, to make known, to signify, to designate.
So, whilst the clich├ęd limp-wrist used by some comedians may connote homosexuality to an audience, a ‘V’ sign denotes the user’s desire for the recipient to leave.

‘Sibyl thought that Horace, in making his gesture of quotes in the air even as he agreed with her, was connoting a certain scepticism about her protestations of innocence.’

‘Freda, hoping to avoid a fatal accident, felt obliged to point out to Fred that the sign bearing a curved arrow denoted a steep bend a short distance ahead of their speeding car.’
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