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From to denote (from Middle French denoter, from Latin denotare "denote, mark out", itself from de- "completely" + notare "to mark") + -ation


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  • Hyphenation: con‧no‧ta‧tion
  • Rhymes: -eɪʃən


denotation (plural denotations)

  1. The act of denoting, or something (such as a symbol) that denotes
  2. (logic, linguistics, semiotics) The primary, literal, or explicit meaning of a word, phrase, or symbol; that which a word denotes, as contrasted with its connotation; the aggregate or set of objects of which a word may be predicated.
    The denotations of the two expressions "the morning star" and "the evening star" are the same (i.e. both expressions denote the planet Venus), but their connotations are different.
  3. (philosophy, logic) The intension and extension of a word
  4. (semantics) Something signified or referred to; a particular meaning of a symbol
  5. (semiotics) The surface or literal meaning encoded to a signifier, and the definition most likely to appear in a dictionary
  6. (computer science) Any mathematical object which describes the meanings of expressions from the languages, formalized in the theory of denotational semantics
  7. (media-studies) A first level of analysis: what the audience can visually see on a page. Denotation often refers to something literal, and avoids being a metaphor.

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