I'm looking for a resource that will give connotative meanings (English) if one exists.

I found http://www.connotative.com/ but despite the footer showing 2013 the images lead me to believe its highly dated and the Products link doesn't even work. I tried One Look Reverse Dictionary from this question: Finding Words Through Meanings but it wasn't very effective at all.

Are there any websites such as Thesaurus.com but with additional notes about connotation and minor differences?

For example on Thesaurus.com Read and Scan are synonyms. But in use if I read something it means I read it entirely. If I scan something it is generally closer to skimming through it.

Are there any resources whether online or books dedicated to this topic so I could look up a word and have a more complete idea of what the minor differences in synonym usage is?

3 Answers 3


I think this may be somewhat what you mean http://www.visuwords.com/ It can be a little difficult to use but sometimes comes up with some great words. I will occasionally check out a word and then look at the synonyms of its synonyms, but always use caution with the thesaurus and make sure the word is used correctly. Also connotations are subject to changes from colloquialism, vernacular, and/or cultures. Like here in New England things are "wicked good" and the connotation is positive but in other places wicked has a strong negative connotation.

  • Really nice find. Bit complicated interface but looks very promising with a quick few searches!
    – Ryan
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 14:55

The best way to find out the connotation of a word is to ask a lot of users. There are many questions about connotation on the Stack Exchange site, English Language and Usage.


Everybody, The best way to figure out a word's connotation is to view that word in its authentic environment. And the best way to find authentic environment is through a corpus of English. Through corpus linguistic site, such as the BYU corpus (COCA) you can see words in sentences that show the context of the word in question. You can go to the site, it is free, and register. Then select COCA and feed the word into the wordandphrase.info site. On Frequency page, type the word in and then look at the concordances. Be sure to mark the word's part of speech. You will see a column of sentences that contain the word. You can also see the excerpt from which the line was selected. Then you can judge the connotation of the word. I would not rely on asking other people how they interpret the word, unless you are around English graduate students or professors. Most people are not savvy enough to delve into the analysis of language use. Corpus linguistics is what you can trust.

  • Links? Working ones, preferably?
    – Lew
    Commented May 30, 2017 at 20:56
  • This sounds a lot like a sales pitch
    – user18397
    Commented Jun 1, 2017 at 4:11

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