sig·​ni·​fi·​ca·​tion | \ ˌsig-nə-fə-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce signification (audio) \

Definition of signification

1a : the act or process of signifying by signs or other symbolic means
b : a formal notification
2 : purport especially : the meaning that a term, symbol, or character regularly conveys or is intended to convey
3 chiefly dialectal : importance, consequence

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Examples of signification in a Sentence

we should assume that the author is using the word in its ordinary signification
Recent Examples on the Web On March 25, the agency warned Pfizer (PFE) of signification violations at its Hospira facility in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, which makes sterile injectable medicines. Ed Silverman, STAT, "The FDA warns Pfizer over yet another former Hospira manufacturing plant," 1 Apr. 2020 This self-signification is itself a paradox, insofar as Costa himself approaches the story of Vitalina with an utterly sealed-off, unbroken dramatic realism. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "“Vitalina Varela,” Reviewed: An Audacious Drama About the Struggles of an Immigrant Community," 22 Feb. 2020 The mixture of messages — the feminized dryer, the phallic gun — creates a seemingly dissonant pileup of signification that mixes male and female, desire and danger, laughter and heartache. Manohla Dargis, New York Times, "Brad Pitt and the Beauty Trap," 30 Jan. 2020 Anxious to stake a claim for the paintings’ place in art history, critics load them up with extra signification. Stephen Metcalf, The Atlantic, "Jean-Michel Basquiat Is Still an Enigma," 24 June 2018 Without getting too far into semiotics here, some of the most used emoji are prolifically traded not for their literal representations but for their cultural significations. Vogue, "These Are the Top 9 New Emoji You'll Need for 2018," 8 Feb. 2018 Other pieces from the Conversions series saw Acconci burn the hair off his body using a candle or mold his chest into breasts, playing at the margins of gender signification. Kriston Capps, The Atlantic, "Vito Acconci and the Shelf Life of Sensational Art," 3 May 2017 Like the onset of holiday shopping, our presidential election season seems to arrive earlier—with more sound and fury and less signification—every cycle. Scott Dadich, WIRED, "These Days, All Politics Is Technological," 26 May 2015

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'signification.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of signification

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Time Traveler for signification

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The first known use of signification was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

17 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Signification.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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