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noun Linguistics.
  1. the thing or concept denoted by a sign.
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Compare signifier.

Origin of signified

First recorded in 1630–40; signify + -ed2
Related formsun·sig·ni·fied, adjective


verb (used with object), sig·ni·fied, sig·ni·fy·ing.
  1. to make known by signs, speech, or action.
  2. to be a sign of; mean; portend.
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verb (used without object), sig·ni·fied, sig·ni·fy·ing.
  1. to be of importance or consequence.
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Origin of signify

1200–50; Middle English signifien < Old French signifier < Latin significāre to make a sign, indicate, mention, denote. See sign, -ify
Related formssig·ni·fi·a·ble, adjectiveun·sig·ni·fi·a·ble, adjective

Synonyms for signify

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for signified

represent, suggest, spell, portend, imply, manifest, convey, bespeak, symbolize, proclaim, mean, exhibit, show, sign, denote, evince, carry, connote, flash, insinuate

Examples from the Web for signified

Contemporary Examples of signified

Historical Examples of signified

  • Their names often signified some quality of a horse; as Leucippus, a white horse, &c.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • She told me, It signified nothing to talk: I knew the expectation of every one.

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • What signified it whether you was married in a red or a yellow waistcoat?

  • Then, with a wave of his hand, he signified to the boys to run out and play games.

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

  • She signified her helplessness with a quick and dainty movement of her hands.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

British Dictionary definitions for signified


verb -fies, -fying or -fied (when tr, may take a clause as object)
  1. (tr) to indicate, show, or suggest
  2. (tr) to imply or portendthe clouds signified the coming storm
  3. (tr) to stand as a symbol, sign, etc (for)
  4. (intr) informal to be significant or important
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Derived Formssignifiable, adjectivesignifier, noun

Word Origin for signify

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

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]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper