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1. One that signifies.
2. 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).

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


(ˈsɪg nəˌfaɪ ər)

1. a person or thing that signifies.
2. Ling. a pattern of sense impressions, as a written symbol or series of sounds, that expresses a meaning. Compare signified.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.signifier - the phonological or orthographic sound or appearance of a word that can be used to describe or identify something; "the inflected forms of a word can be represented by a stem and a list of inflections to be attached"
linguistics - the scientific study of language
word - a unit of language that native speakers can identify; "words are the blocks from which sentences are made"; "he hardly said ten words all morning"
plural, plural form - the form of a word that is used to denote more than one
singular, singular form - the form of a word that is used to denote a singleton
ghost word - a word form that has entered the language through the perpetuation of an error
root word, stem, root, theme, radical, base - (linguistics) the form of a word after all affixes are removed; "thematic vowels are part of the stem"
etymon, root - a simple form inferred as the common basis from which related words in several languages can be derived by linguistic processes
citation form, entry word, main entry word - the form of a word that heads a lexical entry and is alphabetized in a dictionary
abbreviation - a shortened form of a word or phrase
acronym - a word formed from the initial letters of the several words in the name
References in classic literature ?
Et cela doit signifier," said she, "qu'il y aura le dedans un cadeau pour moi, et peut-etre pour vous aussi, mademoiselle.
For Jean LaPlanche, who devised the concept, the enigmatic signifier functions in the first instance as a vehicle of infantile sexualization.
Unlike the symbol which predominates in poetry produced in organic societies, and in which the signified is supposedly immanent in the signifier, the distance between the signifier and the signified in allegory and the contradiction in irony recreate the distance between the individual and society.
Pluth reviews Lacan's definitions of the trace, the sign, and the signifier, and provides formulations of metaphor and metonymy that nicely underscore the gap between signifier and signified (or meaning): metaphor 'creates a verbal incarnation of a signified effect in a signifier by conflating a signifier with this effect, making that signifier act as a signified,' while 'metonymy creates an absent or a withdrawn signified effect' (35-6).
We recognize a signifier because it differs from other signifiers, but that difference isn't fixed.
In post-modernist decline / Signifier questions sign.
The point of the enigmatic signifier in an agnostic age is to be carefully suggestive, a distinct trace rather than a conventional denotation, an allusion rather than a clear sign.
For better or worse, virtuous aggression is the signifier of heroism in our culture.
As Lacan (1977) theorized, the subject or identity of a person becomes "a signifier for another signifier.
They subvert white- and male-defined signifiers of blackness by exposing the tenuous status of the goat as signifier and wresting it from patriarchal definitions.
Joron is not primarily interested in the materiality of the signifier or in demonstrating that words are the constitutive element of human consciousness, but rather in finding out what happens when the verbal layerings that delimit our perception break down, and non-existent spaces become available on their own terms.
As this quotation implies, "India" is Raman's ubiquitous-if-ever-elusive signifier.