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

The application’s claims are broad, so this hypothetical system could be either extremely specific — like cross-referencing faces — or extremely comprehensive, like analyzing photos for brands or other signifiers. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "A Facebook patent would use your family photos to target ads," 15 Nov. 2018 Vultures offer many social signifiers to their peers. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Vultures Use Social Networks to Share Crucial Flight Information," 8 Nov. 2018 With smart home devices, increasing urban density, and lifestyle shifts, will home, and the signifiers of place, keep shifting? Otero-Pailos says the museum idea needs to be reimagined in light of cultural shifts in audiences. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Rethinking the modern house museum," 12 Oct. 2018 Each character has a clear sartorial signifier: Betty Cooper with her sweaters and Peter Pan collars, Archie Andrews with his letterman jacket, Jughead Jones with his beanie, Veronica Lodge with her pearls... Ana Colón, Glamour, "How to Make Your Own," 5 Oct. 2018 Fetish signifiers seem to be more prevalent than ever, both in fashion and in popular culture at large. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Ladyfag and Opening Ceremony Release an Exclusive Capsule Collection of Hanky Code Bandanas and T-Shirts for Pride Month," 14 June 2018 Without signifiers to detect a guy's Kinsey Scale rank, we're left to our own devices. Chris Azzopardi, GQ, "Is He Gay, or Just Networking?," 14 May 2018 Persky's likely replacement is prosecutor Cindy Hendrickson, perhaps a fitting signifier in the #MeToo era. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Women in These 8 States Made Huge Strides in Tuesday's Primary Elections," 6 June 2018 In each instance, Ms. Goldberg challenges and expands our ideas of blackness by conjuring up an audible signifier typically identified with whiteness. Aisha Harris, New York Times, "When Black Performers Use Their ‘White Voice’," 10 July 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of signifier

1532, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about signifier

Share signifier

Dictionary Entries near signifier







sign in

Statistics for signifier

Last Updated

11 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for signifier

The first known use of signifier was in 1532

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on signifier

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with signifier

Comments on signifier

What made you want to look up signifier? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a shady place in a garden or forest

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!