This page is part of the ongoing
Encyclopaedic Meaning project
Ideas from cognitive grammar
Immediate scope
Scope of predication
Dictionary meaning
Encyclopaedic meaning
Frame semantics
Frame evocation
Semantic frame
Mental space theory
Structural semantics
Windowing of attention

Denotation or denotative meaning is the relationship between a linguistic sign and its direct content, often considered the primary meaning of the sign. Denotation is considered to be of a referential nature. It is contrasted with connotation.

Denotation is also called dictionary meaning in cognitive linguistics and contrasted with encyclopaedic meaning.


  • Chalker, Sylvia & Edmund Weiner (1994). The Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press and BCA.
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