1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Connotation

CONNOTATION, in logic, a term (largely due to J. S. Mill) equivalent to Intension, which is used to describe the sum of the qualities regarded as belonging to any given thing and involved in the name by which it is known; thus the term “elephant” connotes the having a trunk, a certain shape of body, texture of skin, and so on. It is clear that as scientific knowledge advances the Connotation or Intension of terms increases, and, therefore, that the Connotation of the same term may vary considerably according to the knowledge of the person who uses it. Again, if a limiting adjective is added to a noun (e.g. African elephant), the Connotation obviously increases. In all argument it is essential that the speakers should be in agreement as to the Intension of the words they use. General terms such as “Socialism,” “Slavery,” “Liberty,” and technical terms in philosophy and theology are frequently the cause of controversies which would not arise if the disputants were agreed as to the Intension or Connotation of the terms. In addition Connotative terms, as those which imply attributes, are opposed to Non-Connotative, which merely denote things without implying attributes. See also Denotation; and any text-books on elementary logic, e.g. T. Fowler or W. S. Jevons.