sig·​ni·​fi·​er | \ ˈsig-nə-ˌfī(-ə)r How to pronounce signifier (audio) \

Definition of signifier

1 : one that signifies
2 : a symbol, sound, or image (such as a word) that represents an underlying concept or meaning — compare signified

Examples of signifier in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Raskind wound up a successful Manhattan surgeon, married a model and, completing a checklist of success signifiers, earned his pilot's license. Jon Wertheim,, "She's a Transgender Pioneer, But Renée Richards Prefers to Stay Out of the Spotlight," 28 June 2019 Both wore knitted yarmulkas, a signifier of the religious Zionist movement. Batya Ungar-sargon, The New York Review of Books, "A Palestinian in Israeli Military Court: Issa Amro, the Judge, & Me," 17 June 2019 Given the number of ultra-modern hotel features that sit alongside period details, a stay at the hotel also requires compartmentalizing signifiers of the present. Daisy Alioto, Condé Nast Traveler, "What’s the Real Appeal of the TWA Hotel?," 14 June 2019 For now, though, let’s celebrate these fin de décade signifiers: feathers, major, major shoulders, multigenerational runways (at last!), and a timely touch of camp. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "The Top 10 Collections of the Fall 2019 Season," 8 Mar. 2019 This is how people become signifiers for larger ideas and events. Ty Burr,, "Facing reality in the heartbreaking photo of drowned migrants," 26 June 2019 Most of all, last year Mr Zaev’s government signed the Prespa agreement with Greece, ending an absurd but destabilising dispute over the country’s name by adding a geographical signifier to it. The Economist, "The EU must keep its promise to North Macedonia," 12 June 2019 Though naturally steeped in politics, the film is thankfully devoid of the anxious historical signifiers and patronizing monologues about freedom, truth, and human dignity that tend to mar American movies about the East–West conflict. Giles Harvey, Harper's magazine, "Home Truths," 10 Jan. 2019 Clear, perfect skin has always been a symbol of wealth and beauty, but thanks in part to social media and millennials' skin care obsession, perfect skin has become an even greater signifier. Glamour, "Why I Never Take Advice From People With Perfect Skin," 22 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'signifier.' 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 signifier

1532, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for signifier

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for signifier

The first known use of signifier was in 1532

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with signifier

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something desired as essential

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