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Examples of Denotation

Denotation is the act of using a symbol or a special word to signify an explicit meaning or set of meanings. The particular meaning of a symbol or a word is its denotation.

Denotation Symbol Examples

  • ! – exclamation point
  • . – period
  • “ ” – quotation
  • @ – at
  • # – number
  • ( ) – parenthesis
  • & – ampersand
  • % – percent
  • $ – dollar sign
  • ‘ – apostrophe
  • : – colon
  • ; – semicolon
  • ? – question mark

Examples of Denotation Symbols in Math

  • + is plus
  • – is minus
  • / is divide
  • x is multiply
  • = is equals
  • < is less than
  • > is more than
  • { } is a set

Denotation on Totem Poles

Here are examples of denotation on totem poles used by various Native American peoples:

  • Bear – Teaches people to fish and pick berries
  • Eagle – Rules the sky and can transform into a human
  • Frog – Brings wealth
  • Killer Whale – Honored as being strong and brave
  • Otter – Denotes laughter and empathy
  • Owl – Denotes souls of the dead
  • Salmon – Denotes determination and instinct
  • Raven – A trickster, curious and mischievous
  • Sea Turtle – Mother Earth
  • Thunderbird – Mythological bird that creates thunder and lightning
  • Wolf – Helps those in need or who are sick

Examples of Denotation in the Zodiac

  • Aries (ram) = March 21 – April 19
  • Taurus (bull) = April 20 – May 20
  • Gemini (twins) = May 21 – June 20
  • Cancer (crab) = June 21 – July 22
  • Leo (lion) = July 23 – August 22
  • Virgo (virgin) = August 23 – September 22
  • Libra (scale) = September 23 – October 22
  • Scorpio (scorpion) = October 23 – November 21
  • Sagittarius (archer) = November 22 – December 21
  • Capricorn (sea-goat) = December 22 – January 19
  • Aquarius (water bearer) = January 20 – February 18
  • Pisces (fish) = February 19 – March 20

Examples of Denotation in Heraldry

  • Acorn – Independence and strength
  • Anvil – Honor
  • Arm – Hard working people
  • Buckle – Protection and self-defense
  • Cat – Courage and liberty
  • Crow – Permanent settlement
  • Dragon – Guardian of treasures, bravery
  • Fleur-de-lis – Flower of light, perfection, life and light
  • Griffin – Mythical animal denotes strength and courage
  • Red Hand – Knight or baronet
  • Horse – Readiness for king and country, speed and intelligence
  • Lion – Undying courage
  • Owl – Vigilance
  • Rose – Hope and joy
  • Snake – Wisdom and defiance
  • Swan – Beauty and grace
  • Tree – Strength, noblest of oak trees (Ireland)
  • Wings – Swiftness and protection
  • Wolf – Guardianship and valor

Symbols That Denote Good Luck

  • Alligator teeth
  • Amber
  • Cat’s eye stone
  • Crickets
  • Dolphins
  • Dream catchers
  • Elephants
  • Falling star
  • Feathers
  • Four leaf clover
  • Goldfish
  • Horseshoe
  • Kachinas Ladybugs
  • Pigs
  • Rabbit’s foot
  • Rainbows
  • Sapphire
  • Scarabs
  • Tigers
  • Wishbone

Examples of Symbols That Denote Friendship

  • Friendship bracelet
  • Jade plant
  • Lapis Lazuli
  • Rhodonite Ball
  • The Claddagh (Irish)
  • Two crossed arrows (Native American)
  • Yellow rose

Symbols That Denote Purity

  • Lotus flower
  • Pearls
  • Unicorns
  • The color white
  • White dove
  • White lily
  • Black cross inside a green circle (Celtic)

These examples of denotation show the wide variety of symbols and words used today.


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