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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.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(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.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
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.
Medical technology company Signifier Medical Technologies revealed on Friday the completion of an oversubscribed Series B funding round led by The Pritzker Organization and includes participation from new investors as well as existing investors.
Also, the findings indicate the most use of four themes of security, nationalism, women and justice among which justice and equality themes have been considered as the nodal point and the theme of women's rights as the empty signifier.
Similar to the absence of God in the system of signifiers, in populism the people is also an "empty signifier", equivocation on which is sanctified, and utilized for exclusionary purposes.
As a result, the drive is not an automatic response to an outer agent, but it is a representation of something attached to the body, this is to say, it involves the primordial role of the signifier and its effect on the subject, a remark that clearly differentiates the drive from instincts (2).
For him sign, that was divided into signifier and signified, no longer held its duality.
In this case, smoke (the signifier) is nature's method of communicating the idea--not to mention the physical immediacy--of fire (the signified).
Remaining as an eternal signifier within the story's universe, Tulsu corresponds to an empty locus, thereby problematizing the Platonic assumption of signified in signification process.
King, Homay, Lost in Translation: Orientalism, Cinema, and the Enigmatic Signifier, Duke University Press, Durham, NC, 2010, ISBN 9 7808 2234 7590, x+205 pp., US$22.95.
Indeed, as I will argue later, Lacan might be better understood as a non- if not anti-dialectical thinker, concerned with the paradoxical productivity of aporias and what we might call the weird materialism of the signifier, something I'll return to.
As such, the Real comes to function as the opposite of the Symbolic, its limit and beyond, and hence its transcendental guarantor or signified, i.e., the meaning to which every signifier ultimately points.
As such, I will treat it as an "empty signifier," i.e.