When I begin my poetry unit in English 1, I talk about the denotative meaning of a word (dictionary meaning) and the connotative meaning of the word (figurative meaning). I believe this is essential to help students understand the power that each word carries in a sparsely written poem.
I also believe that word choice is an important trait of prose writing as well. Using one exact word, “le mot juste” as I call it in class, is far more effective than using a string of mediocre adjectives. It is important for an author to use precise words in order to convey the appropriate meaning to the reader.
So it has occurred to me over these past few days that I have perhaps held too closely to my “connotative” meaning of the word adventure – rather than be willing to embrace the other possible meanings. See, I have always considered myself a loather of adventure – but I recently decided to investigate The denotative meaning of the word gives a rather broad definition (as found in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary):
- an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks
- an encountering of risks (the spirit of adventure)
- an exciting or remarkable or remarkable experience
- an enterprise involving financial risk