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Does the word connotate exist in modern language?


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Answered 2010-11-15 14:29:28

This is a question that is not agreed upon in the English-speaking community. It is used, but some people think incorrectly. Some dictionaries list it as an obsolete form, replaced by "connote." However, other dictionaries list it as a regular entry, and many people use it. So the debate is whether usage trumps tradition, as with many other words. In any case, the word is alive and well, and used often, whether or not it is used incorrectly.

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The ultimate authority on English usage is the Oxford English Dictionary ("OED"), and in the USA another popular authority is Webster's. Neither has an entry for "*connotate" but both have an entry for "connote":

The incorrect form "*connotate" probably derives from back-formation from the noun "connotation."

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