9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[see-nyee-fyey] /si nyiˈfyeɪ/
noun, plural signifiés
[see-nyee-fyey] /si nyiˈfyeɪ/ (Show IPA).
(in linguistics) the signified.


[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.
Origin of signify
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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for signifies
  • The bulky elephant, which signifies our emotions, makes the first decisive moves along a moral trajectory.
  • It signifies the return of the oscillating climate of the eighties and nineties.
  • Remember that a lull often signifies the storm's eye-not its end.
  • Besides, in a centred mind, it signifies nothing how many mechanical inventions you exhibit.
  • The former signifies the practical interest in the action, the latter the pathological in the object of the action.
  • More important than the level is what the law signifies about the territory's economy.
  • It seems to me that the character of our footgear signifies more than is commonly supposed.
  • There is much confusion over what a public plan signifies.
  • But missing the mega-payment this month signifies the reality that money for daily costs could run out sometime this winter.
  • It is a small difference that signifies major change.
British Dictionary definitions for signifies


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 signifies



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 signifies

sight gag

noun phrase

A joke or comic turn that depends entirely on what is seen (1957+)

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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