sig·​ni·​fy | \ ˈsig-nə-ˌfī How to pronounce signify (audio) \
signified; signifying

Definition of signify

transitive verb

1a : to be a sign of : mean
b : imply
2 : to show especially by a conventional token (such as word, signal, or gesture)

intransitive verb

1 : to have significance : matter it will not much signify what one wears— Jane Austen
2 : to engage in signifying

Synonyms for signify


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Signify basically means "to make a sign or signal". One of its synonyms is indicate; the index finger is the finger you point with, so to indicate is essentially to point to something. Significant means "important" and significance means "importance;" similarly, insignificant means "unimportant" and insignificance means "lack of importance".

Examples of signify in a Sentence

A check mark next to your name signifies that you have met all the requirements. The recent decline of the stock market does not necessarily signify the start of a recession. He gave her a diamond ring to signify his love. Whether he agrees or not does not signify.
Recent Examples on the Web These signify the importance of working together to achieve our goals, Widney says. Ysolt Usigan, Woman's Day, 13 Sep. 2022 This week, McKinley was one of three players wearing a colorful camouflage jersey at Friday’s practice to signify a strong week of practice. David Furones, Sun Sentinel, 10 Sep. 2022 Could have been just the index finger to signify No. 1, which could be next to his name soon. Howard Fendrich, ajc, 9 Sep. 2022 Six circles to signify six decades of her kindness, wisdom, strength and adventures. Annie O’sullivan, Good Housekeeping, 9 Sep. 2022 Some investors with a more cautious view take the strengthening breadth indicators to signify that stocks have climbed to levels above their fundamental value. Hannah Miao, WSJ, 21 Aug. 2022 But, the significance of the swing states where the group is running ads signify there could be multiple motives behind this ad campaign. Alexandra Marquez, NBC News, 10 Aug. 2022 As the next crop of GameFi projects enter the fold, investors would do well to take note of factors that may signify a project’s prospects for success. Leeor Shimron, Forbes, 13 Aug. 2022 Only a few players during drills wore red jerseys, which signify injuries: cornerback Ronald Williams, wide receiver Terry Lockett Jr., and defensive end Avery Dunn. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, 5 Aug. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of signify

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for signify

Middle English signifien, from Anglo-French signifier, from Latin significare to indicate, signify, from signum sign

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Time Traveler for signify

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The first known use of signify was in the 13th century

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Last Updated

28 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Signify.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for signify


sig·​ni·​fy | \ ˈsig-nə-ˌfī How to pronounce signify (audio) \
signified; signifying

Kids Definition of signify

1 : mean entry 1 sense 1, denote A check mark signifies a correct answer.
2 : to show especially by a sign : make known She nodded to signify agreement.
3 : to have importance : matter "It doesn't signify what you THINK … Facts is facts."— Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

More from Merriam-Webster on signify

Nglish: Translation of signify for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of signify for Arabic Speakers


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