Definition of "signifier" [signifier]

  • 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). (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "signifier" in a sentence
  • "A social signifier is one that is either created or interpreted by people or society, signifying social activity or appropriate social behavior."
  • "This country's chief signifier is our staggering capacity to isolate ourselves from the effects of our political and lifestyle choices."
  • "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.”"