se·​mi·​ot·​ics ˌsē-mē-ˈä-tiks How to pronounce semiotics (audio)
variants or semiotic
ˌsē-mē-ˈä-tik How to pronounce semiotics (audio)
plural semiotics
: a general philosophical theory of signs and symbols that deals especially with their function in both artificially constructed and natural languages and comprises syntactics, semantics, and pragmatics
semiotic adjective
ˌsē-mē-ə-ˈti-shən How to pronounce semiotics (audio)
ˌsē-mē-ˈä-tə-sist How to pronounce semiotics (audio)

Examples of semiotics in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The era of high theory brought a dizzying and contentious parade of new approaches and isms, including deconstruction, Marxism, psychoanalysis, feminism, semiotics and reader-response theory. Jennifer Schuessler, New York Times, 3 Feb. 2023 Like, literally just go to the most basic semiotics of it. Nick Romano,, 11 Jan. 2023 This account is divided into four sections, each of which is structured as a triad (philosophy, psychology and physiology; logic, semiotics and reproduction; religion, hermeneutics and evolution; law, grammar and speech). Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 31 July 2012 In the semiotics of Qatar 2022, the many meanings of a showdown between the Great Satan and the Islamic Republic were almost too much to process. Sam Knight, The New Yorker, 3 Dec. 2022 So that’s one way to talk about it, is just semiotics. Michele Filgate, Los Angeles Times, 25 June 2022 What began as a pragmatic effort to help people communicate using images became an inward-looking investigation of semiotics. Jonathon Keats, Forbes, 27 June 2022 Hal Foster addresses semiotics in a different way through his decoding of sartorial signifiers of gay identity in ‘70s San Francisco. Jonathon Keats, Forbes, 30 Apr. 2022 Some of the discourse focussed on the semiotics of a slap versus a punch. Zach Helfand, The New Yorker, 2 Apr. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'semiotics.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


semiotic "of the science of signs" (earlier, "of the symptoms of disease," borrowed from New Latin sēmeiōticus, borrowed from Greek sēmiōtikós "observant of signs," from sēmeiō-, variant stem of sēmeióomai, sēmeioústhai "to interpret from signs, infer" — derivative of sēmeîon "marking, sign, signal"— + -t-, verbal adjective formative + -ikos -ic entry 1) + -ics, after German Semiotik or French sémiotique — more at semantic

First Known Use

1835, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of semiotics was in 1835

Dictionary Entries Near semiotics

Cite this Entry

“Semiotics.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

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