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[sig-nuh-fahyd] /ˈsɪg nəˌfaɪd/
noun, Linguistics.
the thing or concept denoted by a sign.
Compare signifier.
Origin of signified
First recorded in 1630-40; signify + -ed2
Related forms
unsignified, adjective


[sig-nuh-fahy] /ˈsɪg nəˌfaɪ/
verb (used with object), signified, signifying.
to make known by signs, speech, or action.
to be a sign of; mean; portend.
verb (used without object), signified, signifying.
to be of importance or consequence.
1200-50; Middle English signifien < Old French signifier < Latin significāre to make a sign, indicate, mention, denote. See sign, -ify
Related forms
signifiable, adjective
unsignifiable, adjective
1. signal, express, indicate. 2. represent, indicate, denote, betoken, imply. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for signified
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She signified her helplessness with a quick and dainty movement of her hands.

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
  • Cook then drew a line on the ground, and signified to the natives that they must not pass it.

    Captain Cook W.H.G. Kingston
  • It signified that one power was about to succeed another power.

    Notre-Dame de Paris Victor Hugo
  • And he knew now what signified the flush on Boyne's cheeks and the light in his eyes.

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • On the contrary he made a wry face and thrust his cheek out with his tongue, which signified "go and do it yourself."

    The Treasure of Pearls Gustave Aimard
British Dictionary definitions for signified


verb (when transitive, may take a clause as object) -fies, -fying, -fied
(transitive) to indicate, show, or suggest
(transitive) to imply or portend: the clouds signified the coming storm
(transitive) to stand as a symbol, sign, etc (for)
(intransitive) (informal) to be significant or important
Derived Forms
signifiable, adjective
signifier, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French signifier, from Latin significāre, from signum a sign, mark + facere to make
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for signified



late 13c., "be a sign of, indicate, mean," from Old French signifier (12c.), from Latin significare "to make signs, show by signs, point out, express; mean, signify; foreshadow, portend," from significus (adj.), from signum "sign" (see sign (n.)) + root of facere "to make" (see factitious). Intransitive sense of "to be of importance" is attested from 1660s. Meaning "engage in mock-hostile banter" is American English black slang first recorded 1932.

...'signifying,' which in Harlemese means making a series of oblique remarks apparently addressed to no one in particular, but unmistakable in intention in such a close-knit circle. ["Down Beat," March 7, 1968]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for signified



To make provocative comments in a gamelike manner; snap, sound: any black kid who has stood in a school yard or on a street corner engaging in the mock-hostile banter that blacks call ''signifying''/ In Chicago you still get people doing the old-style rhyming; that's called signifying (1932+ Black)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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