Denotation is when you mean what you say, literally. Connotation is created when you mean something else, something that might be initially hidden. The connotative meaning of a word is based on implication, or shared emotional association with a word. Greasy is a completely innocent word: Some things, like car engines, need to be greasy. But greasy contains negative associations for most people, whether they are talking about food or about people. Often there are many words that denote approximately the same thing, but their connotations are very different. Innocent and genuine both denote an absence of corruption, but the connotations of the two words are different: innocent is often associated with a lack of experience, whereas genuine is not. Connotations are important in poetry because poets use them to further develop or complicate a poem's meaning.

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