What is Denotation:
The term denotation indicates the basic, formal and objective meaning that a word or phrase possesses. It is a word that derives from the Latin denotatĭo, which means "action or effect of denoting."
Denotation is that meaning of words or phrases that is recognized and understood, in general terms, by all those who speak the same language.
That is, denotation is the direct and conventional meaning of a word, which is recognized by all those who speak the same language, regardless of the context in which it is used, without generating misunderstandings or misinterpretations.
For example, the word home can be used by any individual in different contexts and will be interpreted as that space where one or more people coexist, without the need to clarify or explain what is being talked about.
Therefore, when it comes to a denotative meaning, there should not be any contradictions with respect to what is indicated. Therefore, denotation is the opposite of connotation.
However, it should be noted that both the denotative and connotative meaning of the words complement each other and generate that richness that every language possesses when used both orally and in writing.
The denotative meaning of the word reduces the existence of erroneous interpretations, however it does not always escape from being in the middle of a context that can be understood in a connotative or subjective way.
For example, "It is a cat", in a denotative sense it is referring to a mammalian animal, quadruped, among others.
But if the same word is used in the following way, “Luis looks like a cat”, in a connotative sense it indicates that Luis has some attitudes that can be related to those of a cat, such as walking quietly or sleeping too much.
Another example may be, "The rose is a flower with peculiar characteristics", it refers to the plant, in this case it refers to the denotative meaning of the word rose.
But in "You are the most beautiful rose I have ever known", a property or figurative sense, that is, connotative, is given to the word rose by relating it to the beauty of a person who is related to the flower.
Another use of the denotation and connotation of the meaning of words occurs, generally in advertisements, in which games of words, phrases and images are made in order to attract the consuming public or to transmit an informative message.