1530s, "indication, act of indicating by a name or sign," from Late Latin denotationem (nominative denotatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin denotare "denote, mark out," from de- "completely" (see de-) + notare "to mark, note, make a note" (see note (v.)). Sense of "meaning or signification of a term" is from 1610s. As a term in logic, "that which a word denotes, names, or marks" (contrasted with connotation) from 1843. Related: Denotational.
early 15c., "a concommitant symptom;" 1530s, "a secondary signification, that which is included in the meaning of a word besides its primary denotation," from Medieval Latin connotationem (nominative connotatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of connotare "signify in addition to the main meaning," a term in logic, literally "to mark along with," from assimilated form of Latin com "with, together" (see con-) + notare "to mark, note, make a note," from nota "mark, sign, means of recognition" (see note (n.)). Meaning "that which constitutes the meaning of a word" (1829) originated with J.S. Mill.