What does a native speaker imagine when hearing “lunatic cat”?

Is “lunatic cat” like “crazy cat” or “it’s nonsense, they don’t say so”, or something else? According to https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/lunatic there is a connection to the moon (see “origin”). Could native speaker imagine “lunatic cat” as “moon cat”? Answer There is only one modern adjectival meaning of ‘lunatic’ and it is: “silly in a dangerous way”, … Read more

What is the difference in connotation between “relentless” and “ruthless?”

My understanding is that both words refer to a hard-charging “take no prisoners” approach to an issue.Relentless is defined as, “showing or promising no abatement of severity, activity, strength or pace,” and ruthless as “having no pity.” My further understanding is that “relentless” is more “honorable” than “ruthless.” Examples: In a “relentless” pursuit of her … Read more

Does the word “maven” have neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tions?

I’m in­ter­ested in us­ing the word maven to de­scribe some­one as be­ing an ex­pert, but don’t want to seem con­de­scend­ing. Does maven have any neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tions? Answer The OED iden­ti­fies maven as be­ing chiefly North Amer­i­can in its us­age pat­tern, but they say noth­ing about the word be­ing cant or jar­gon, ca­sual or col­lo­quial, nor … Read more

Does unsparing have a negative connotation?

I was reading definitions of unsparing Not merciful. Not frugal: unsparing generosity. It seems that unsparing has two entirely opposite definitions. I guess its meaning would be clear in context. I have a feeling that in the second definition, it has a negative connotation? Is this right? Answer unsparing OED Not niggardly; liberal, lavish; Showing … Read more

Connotation of the word “disappointed”

As a non native English speaker (I speak German), I’m frequently confused by the usage of the word “disappointed”. When someone tells me they’re “disappointed” that something didn’t happen, the obvious meaning is they really wished / expected for that something to happen. My question is, when I was the reason for that something not … Read more

Single word for a synonym with opposite connotation?

Is there a single word to describe a word that has the same literal meaning, but is opposite in connotation to another word? In other words, what is to connotation as antonym is to denotation? To clarify, I mean “connotation” in the simplest possible way, such as this Wikipedia quote: A connotation is frequently described … Read more

What is the connotation behind the preposition “gone”?

I found few examples of the word gone as preposition; I know that this form is chiefly used in British English, and that it means “later than the time mentioned”. But I couldn’t grasp the connotation behind this word. It was gone ten o’clock by the time they arrived. It’s gone six already. Can anyone … Read more