Negative Connotation:What,How,Examples (Complete Guide !)

This article gives you a complete rundown on the many ways in which negative connotations may be employed in writing. 

“Connotation” doesn’t refer to the literal meaning of a word or a phrase, but refers to the associated emotions that they evoke in a person. 

What is negative connotation? 

Words and phrases are said to have a “negative connotation” when they remind you of things that are considered to be bad or unpleasant. The same word can create different responses in different people. For example, the word “old” can be interpreted differently by different people: while some people might connect being old to having more wisdom, others might connect it to being in pain. 

Therefore, depending on an individual’s social, cultural, or religious experiences, the same word could have either a positive or negative connotation attached to it.

Negative connotation
Negative Connotation Examples

How to use negative connotation? 

There are many words that are universally considered to have negative connotations. Meanwhile, phrases can also have negative connotations—often achieved through the use of literary devices. 

Words that most people agree have negative connotations include words such as greedy, hot-tempered, jealous, manipulative, stubborn, egotistical, etc. 

In the case of phrases, the figures of speech that may be implemented in order to give them a negative connotation include literary devices such as metaphors, irony, satire, personification, metonymy, etc. 

Where to use negative connotation? 

One should use negative connotations whenever they want to describe a person, character, setting, or experience as unpleasant or bad to the reader. 

Negative connotation use

The purpose of using negative connotations in writing can be to set the mood, provide relevant context, or to influence the emotions of the reader. Additionally, negative connotation use can also add more layers to the meaning of the text. 

Negative connotation examples

1.Rupa can be very stubborn. Once she decides she doesn’t like someone, there is very little you can do to change her mind. 

In this example, the word “stubborn” has a negative connotation which suggests that the writer doesn’t approve of Rupa’s behaviour. If the word “resolute” had been used instead, then Rupa’s refusal to back down from her beliefs would be given a positive connotation. 

2. Life is thorny: the thorns never get any less sharp, you just stop feeling the scratches. 

In this example, a metaphor (comparing life to thorns) is used to give the phrase a negative connotation. While life isn’t literally thorny, the suggestion that it is implies that life can be painful. 

3. Kiara is very skinny, which is a detriment to her performance in muay thai. 

In this example, the word “skinny” has a negative connotation—especially since it is used as a reason for Kiara’s ineptitude in muay thai. Other words to describe thinness—such as slender and slim—have a positive connotation. 

4. Walking into her bedroom felt like walking into a sauna. 

In this example, a simile is used to compare “walking into her bedroom” to “walking into a sauna.” Since one doesn’t want their room to feel like a sauna, the phrase has a negative connotation. 

5. Hrithik never kept his windows open because there was a perpetual stench in the street outside his house. 

In this example, the word “stench” has a negative connotation, because it’s used to describe unpleasant or strong smells. On the other hand, a word like “fragrance” would have a positive connotation. 

6. Don’t you love it when it’s so foggy that you can’t see a thing? 

In this example, verbal irony is employed to give this phrase a negative connotation. Clearly, the speaker is complaining about the fog by saying the opposite of what they mean. 

7. Mrittika’s shoes looked cheap and dirty. 

In this example, the words “cheap” and “dirty” have negative connotations—because they’re universally considered to be undesirable things. On the other hand, words like “expensive” and “clean” would have positive connotations. 

8. Akash was a very nosy friend and always wanted to know the latest gossip in his friends’ lives. 

In this example, the word “nosy” has a negative connotation. On the other hand, a word like “interested” or “involved” would have a positive connotation—despite describing the same quality in Akash. 

9. Rhea was considered by most people to be a very peculiar girl. 

Here, the word “peculiar” has a negative connotation. While the word “peculiar” suggests that Rhea is different in a way that makes her odd, a word like “unique” would suggest that she is different in a way that makes her special. 

 10. The author who visited our school seemed very conceited and seemed to think she was above us. 

Here, the word “conceited” has a negative connotation. On the other hand, a word like “confident” or “self-assured” would have had a positive connotation that made the author’s love for herself seem like a good thing. 

11. The location of the villa was uninteresting and drab. 

Here, the words “uninteresting” and “drab” have a negative connotation. However, words like “simple” or “understated” would have a similar meaning but with a positive connotation. 

12. The water in the swimming pool resembled the brown tamarind water Sheila had used for her cooking that morning. 

In this example, an analogy is used to compare the water in the swimming pool to brown tamarind water. This has a negative connotation since it implies that the water is brown and likely dirty. 

13. Delhi summers are sweltering and difficult to withstand. 

Here, the word “sweltering” has a negative connotation that suggests that the heat is unbearable. On the other hand, other words to describe heat—such as “balmy” or “warm”—have a positive connotation that suggests that the heat is pleasant or bearable. 

14. Her eyes were like a pair of daggers, piercing and dangerous. 

In this example, a simile is used to compare “her eyes” to a “pair of daggers.” Since daggers are sharp and scary, this phrase has a negative connotation. 

15. Mamta was often shocked at how irresponsible her son could be. 

The word “irresponsible” has a negative connotation because it’s universally seen as a negative quality to have. On the other hand, although “carefree” has a similar meaning to “irresponsible”—it has a positive connotation because it’s seen as a good thing to be without worries. 

16. Don’t apologise for being late. I love having some time to sit by myself at crowded restaurants. 

Here, verbal irony is employed to give the phrase a negative connotation. While the speaker is clearly upset at being made to wait, they say the opposite of what they mean. 

17. The film industry in Mumbai is known for being very cutthroat and difficult to establish yourself in. 

In this example, the word “cutthroat” has a negative connotation. However, a word like “competitive” or “exclusive” has a positive connotation, despite being similar in meaning to “cutthroat.”

In conclusion, any word or phrase can be said to have a negative connotation if it indirectly or directly reminds you of something bad or unpleasant.