Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun One that signifies.
  • noun Linguistics A linguistic unit or pattern, such as a succession of speech sounds, written symbols, or gestures, that conveys meaning; a linguistic sign. The signifier of the concept “tree” is, in English, the string of speech sounds (t), (r), and (ē); in German, (b), (ou), and (m).

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One who or that which signifies, indicates, or makes known.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun linguistics The sound of spoken word or string of letters on a page that a person recognizes as a sign.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the phonological or orthographic sound or appearance of a word that can be used to describe or identify something

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Translation of French signifiant, present participle of signifier, to signify.]

Examples

  • A social signifier is one that is either created or interpreted by people or society, signifying social activity or appropriate social behavior.

    Why YouTube should support Creative Commons now | FactoryCity

  • This country's chief signifier is our staggering capacity to isolate ourselves from the effects of our political and lifestyle choices.

    Politics and Literature

  • Return of the MacGuffin: Iran and Nuclear Weapons (K-punk) “A MacGuffin (sometimes spelt McGuffin or Magoffin), an empty master-signifier, is a now-ubiquitous plot device or catalyst that holds no meaning or purpose of its own except to motivate the players or characters and advance a narrative or story.”

    Google MLK in Black and White

  • Return of the MacGuffin: Iran and Nuclear Weapons (K-punk) “A MacGuffin (sometimes spelt McGuffin or Magoffin), an empty master-signifier, is a now-ubiquitous plot device or catalyst that holds no meaning or purpose of its own except to motivate the players or characters and advance a narrative or story.”

    Vitro Nasu » 2006 » January

  • The fallacious translation of trope into signifier is symptomatically reiterated later in the chapter in the form of an atypical terminological mistake.

    Professing Literature: John Guillory's Misreading of Paul de Man

  • The ideas behind the words, the signified beyond the signifier, is what really matters.

    talking the talk

  • The ideas behind the words, the signified beyond the signifier, is what really matters.

    Archive 2004-07-01

  • The signifier is the word itself, its sound and the actual sequence of its letters.

    Ravenna Michalsen: Listening To Matra Music

  • If we presume the signifier is the signified we fall into the trap of logocentrism.

    An Exploration into an Integral Approach to Knowledge

  • If we presume the signifier is the signified we fall into the trap of logocentrism.

    Archive 2009-04-10

Comments

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  • I love the sound of T - and I love the way in which it acts as a rich signifier: (AFTERNOON) TEA, (BUILDERS') TEA), (CHINA, INDIAN) TEA, (GOLF) TEE, TI AS OPPOSED TO VI (in Serbian, with corresponding differentiation in other Slavonic languages), criterion of suitability and other examples that I will allow you to discover for yourselves. Clashes between homophones can be seen in this light.

    May 8, 2013