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Questions tagged [connotations]

This tag is for questions regarding the associated or underlying meaning of a word, in addition to its primary definition.

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21
votes
5answers
7k views

Difference between “pardoned” and “forgiven”

What is the difference between words "pardoned" and "forgiven"? For instance: After ten years in prison, Stephen was {pardoned/forgiven} and set free. I found the definitions of both: Pardoned -...
13
votes
2answers
14k views

Living by himself vs Living on his own

What is the difference between these sentences below in terms of meaning? He lives by himself. He lives on his own If you ask me, the first sentence connotes that he doesn't have a ...
11
votes
6answers
3k views

May I use “naive” to mean “inexperienced”?

Sometimes I may use "naive" in sentences like I am naive in writing this type of articles To say "inexperienced" I would like to know how common this word is among native speakers of English, or ...
10
votes
8answers
11k views

Could the word “interesting” have negative meaning?

Example: Joe's presentation about the techniques of sharing code between the web and native version of an app was interesting. Can the word "interesting" have a negative meaning in this context? ...
10
votes
3answers
4k views

'provocative' vs 'sexy'

Are there any differences in meaning between 'provocative' and 'sexy' when they are used to describe clothes? It seems to me that 'provocative' is almost always disapproving, while 'sexy' can even be ...
10
votes
4answers
32k views

What is the difference between “within” and “inside”?

Here is the definition of the word within from Oxford Dictionary: inside (something) So does that mean the two words have no difference, and can be used exchangingly? Is there any connotation that ...
9
votes
4answers
15k views

Usage of “mad” and “crazy” in conversational english?

From English movies, I have got an impression to signify that a person is mentally ill, it is said "He is crazy" and that a person is angry upon somebody is signified by "He is mad on her". Although ...
6
votes
2answers
6k views

Does “cleverly” have a negative, positive or neutral meaning?

I wrote this sentence and I would like to know whether the word "cleverly" is positive, negative (like e.g. cunningly) or neutral. Lose weight cleverly in the privacy and comfort of your home!
6
votes
2answers
28k views

whether it be vs whether it is

I brought the sentences from the speech about conversation tips. They don’t just want to know about news and the weather. They want to know about you. So what are three things that you have ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Concede vs admit

I wonder if there any nuance between the two sentences. I admit that you are right. I concede that you are right. I believe there is a slight difference between them. Do both sentences suggest that ...
5
votes
3answers
23k views

Sorry, I didn't recognize “you”, or “your voice”?

Someone calls you on the phone, but you don't know who they are. The conversation goes like: Caller: "GIBBERISH... GIBBERISH... GIBBERISH..." You: "Um.. Who am I speaking with, please?" Caller: "...
5
votes
1answer
414 views

What kind of food is referred to as “sushi” in English?

A sequel to this CAPTCHA question, but no one posts for me this time so... legends (image #) 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 It was this test that prevented me from being a human, for I couldn't ...
4
votes
6answers
2k views

How does a native speaker choose one word over its synonym(s)?

In a recent speech, Senator Ted Cruz said: ... And under no circumstances will Iran be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon. Would it have also been correct to use synonyms such as obtain, secure,...
4
votes
2answers
9k views

Does “the likes of” usually have a pejorative connotation?

Does the sentence I admire heroes the likes of Batman and Superman. sound wrong? Because I usually hear the likes of in sentences such as Don't compare me to the like(s) of you! But according ...
4
votes
1answer
689 views

The connotation of the expression “Jack of all trades, master of none”

A recent thread in the Portuguese Language SE are intending to find a Portuguese version for the expression "Jack of all trades, master of none". The question is: The original expression could have ...
4
votes
3answers
950 views

What are the connotations of the word 'disorder' for a native speaker?

What connotations does the word disorder have for a native speaker? Does it sound very negative or rather neutral? It's still better to describe phenomena such as ADHD as mental illness, but it still ...
4
votes
1answer
5k views

Meaning difference between insinuate and imply

I looked up the meanings of the insinuate and imply. Insinuate, as shown on the site vocabulary.com, means suggest in an indirect or covert way, and imply means to express or state indirectly. I ...
3
votes
5answers
965 views

What is the connotation of the word “Lightninged” when using it as a name of a product for education?

I chose the word Lightninged (not lightning) to name a product. It means literally be struck by a lightning, and it is a real word as discussed in ELU: What is the past tense of “lightning”?. The name ...
3
votes
2answers
20k views

Which one is better?: Do you need a/any/some help?

How is the nuance of each one? Do you need help? Do you need a help? Do you need any help? Do you need some help? May I help you? And which one should I use to offer some strangers ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Does ‘Dear [surname]’s family’ sound friendly?

I’m writing a letter to my host family in Australia. They are a family of five and I’d like to write it in a friendly way. So, does the expression ‘Dear [surname]’s family’ sound friendly? I’d like ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Does gorgeous carry a sexual connotation?

From dictionaries, gorgeous means very beautiful (macmillan) Beautiful; very attractive (Oxford) But I wonder if calling someone gorgeous, as in she is gorgeous, means beautiful in a sexual way....
3
votes
1answer
2k views

to evolve in a negative way

In "everyday spoken English", can we use evolve in the sense of the opposite of optimization/improvement? If something evolves, does it necessarily imply that it is for a better, or can it just be ...
3
votes
1answer
737 views

Difference between “allow” and “let”

It is interesting for me to know how one can distinguish the case in which one should use "allow" from the case in which one should use "let". For example: Jim's parents wouldn't {allow/let} him ...
3
votes
8answers
16k views

When do people say 'Be well'?

It sounds a lot more nuanced than a simple 'goodbye'. What subtle feelings or emotions does it encapsulate?
3
votes
2answers
825 views

Is emotional a negative word?

I have learned English from TV shows, movies, CNN, Discovery channel, and NGC for years. One of my USA friend told me emotional is a negative word such as " Do not be emotional! Yelling and being ...
3
votes
1answer
340 views

Does word “segregate” sound natural?

Does the word "segregate" have any undesired side context to US speakers? These are examples: Segregate configuration from the code. A task is about test segregation.
3
votes
2answers
1k views

How come “oblivion” means “void”?

Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd edition (2004) says: oblivion, n. 2. a. The state or condition of being forgotten; (also, more generally) obscurity, nothingness, void, death. However, what ...
2
votes
4answers
93 views

can “what have you done” be asked in a neutral way?

I'd like to know if "what have you done?" can be used as a neutral question, since it is often used to express anger, shock or sadness. For example: I want to close a window that has been opened by ...
2
votes
2answers
72 views

I would like to know nuance of creepy

I hear word "creepy" a lot in many situations but is it always including a scared feeling? For example when people are watching horror movies, or dolls which seems scary, people say creepy! I think ...
2
votes
1answer
582 views

This earring “menaces with spikes of…”: is the earring just dangerous or menacing?

This is a native aluminum earring. All craftsmanship is of the highest quality. It is studded with bismuth bronze and decorated with water buffalo leather. This object is adorned with hanging ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

how to differentiate between “implication” and“ connotation”?

While I have studied some resources as to these terms, in fact, I cannot yet get what could be considered as their difference. Or, when could they be interchangeable, when not? Any comment would ...
2
votes
2answers
10k views

Does the phrase “voice an opinion” have some negative connotations?

Does the phrase voice an opinion have some negative connotations? For example let us take this sentence: User123456 in several comments on meta recently voiced the opinion that creation of a tag ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

Are reluctant and hesitant interchangeable?

I kind of have an idea that "reluctant" and "hesitant" both have similar meanings, but I do not know the actual difference in the nuances they have. Could someone please teach me?
2
votes
1answer
35 views

(all) that, too, so

Is there a difference between (all) that, too, and so when used in a negative sentence? For instance: It's not all that/ too/ so difficult once you get the hang of it. He's not that/ too/ so crazy ...
2
votes
2answers
88 views

Connotations—are they to some extent instinctive?

I've noticed that many synonyms are often not very alike. Yes, their core meaning is the same. But there are many differences in mood or tone. Often I understand the kind of meaning it will have by ...
2
votes
2answers
5k views

“I was leaving” vs “I left”

I'm curious of the meaning of the usage of the past tense in this example: I was the last to leave the office last night. The first option: Everybody else had gone home when I left The second: ...
2
votes
1answer
107 views

Is “consign” a negative verb?

I consulted Definition 1, in which the definition and examples are ambiguous about the connotation. Yet Definition 1.2 is surely negative: '...to be rid ....' So what's the connotation? I thought to ...
2
votes
1answer
45 views

Difference between adjective+noun and noun+adjective

It was a speech calculated to appeal to the unions. I encountered this sentense on the internet and got a question that how the sentence will change its meaning or nuance if the noun and adjective ...
2
votes
1answer
264 views

Does “polemic” always have a negative connotation?

I have seen a political discussion on live tv in germany. After attacking a member of the discussion made some solid arguments the attacked person responded by saying what he is saying is pure polemic....
2
votes
1answer
2k views

How rude is it to “spit” on somebody?

My friend presented his research topic in front of my professor. He was asked a question about it, but he had difficulty in answering it and was upset for a while. Then my professor (translated): "...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

How to politely explain to someone that their lack of clarity is due to their ignorance?

I've been in an inconvenient situation where I ask a question and there's a comment suggestion that it's unclear, vague, off-topic, pointless, etc. Usually, I try to apprehend that by a disclaimer ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Is calling someone “creepy” rude?

I learnt "creepy" is feeling unease or scared, but it's not considered rude to say creepy at someone? In my language, when people felt scared about something in horror, we use a word close to "eerie" ...
1
vote
2answers
456 views

Is the use of the adjective “pedantic” always derogatory?

The adjective "pedantic" is sometimes used derogatorily. Can it be used in a neutral or positive context? In other words, if person A refers person B as pedantic, can it sometimes be used as a ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Is the word 'expensive' negative or neutral?

I'm not a native speaker of English. I'm trying to teach English learners positive and negative words. I found this word in students' textbook, which only gives me the choice between positive and ...
1
vote
3answers
450 views

a CERTAIN answer?

Can "certain" be used as a synonym of "definite" in front of "answer"? When I hear "a certain answer", I think about "a specific answer" not a "definite" nor "ultimate" answer. Can a "certain answer"...
1
vote
1answer
125 views

Does the phrase “bizarrely specific” carry a negative connotation?

Does the phrase "bizarrely specific" carry a negative connotation, opposed to really just about any other way of putting it? Also as a side note, would you consider it associated with advertising and ...
1
vote
2answers
3k views

What could be a plan status higher than “pro”? [closed]

I am developing a web application that currently has a pro plan for users. What could be the appropriate word for the next level plan? I do not want to use the word ultimate because the word can ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Have no problem doing something and have no trouble doing something

What's the difference between the two phrases? I'm interested in nuances. For instance. We had no problem/ trouble finding the stolen item/ finding her a house etc You had no problem/trouble ...
1
vote
1answer
8k views

Care to elaborate?

I have faced a lot of times at a chat or some Q&A site a reply: Care to elaborate? As far as I understand, the poster is asking for more details or explanations. However in this case I'd ...
1
vote
1answer
4k views

“In such environment” vs “In such an environment”

I'd like to ask if there is any difference between In such environment, we... and In such an environment, we... If yes, then what does each phrase mean? If anyone happens to know the ...