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signify

[sig-nuh-fahy] /ˈsɪg nəˌfaɪ/
verb (used with object), signified, signifying.
1.
to make known by signs, speech, or action.
2.
to be a sign of; mean; portend.
verb (used without object), signified, signifying.
3.
to be of importance or consequence.
Origin
1200-1250
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
Synonyms
1. signal, express, indicate. 2. represent, indicate, denote, betoken, imply.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for signify
  • The idea is to signify some level of unification and to spread awareness.
  • Well this aviation observer wonders whether these isolated incidents can actually be said to signify anything.
  • What does this signify given the observations in the article.
  • Fewer knots don't signify a lower-quality wool rug, but they do mean that the rug is more likely to stretch over time.
  • By extension the term has also come to signify any event which triggers a completely unexpected situation.
  • Today's high prices don't necessarily signify the immediate end of cheap oil.
  • The placement of the body is said to signify honor and bring the dead closer to heaven.
  • If the plants change in one location, they'll signify a local problem.
  • Shun writers who lean on fatigued word combinations to signify sophistication.
  • For mere mortals, it has come to signify any big downward move in a portfolio's value.
British Dictionary definitions for signify

signify

/ˈsɪɡnɪˌfaɪ/
verb (when transitive, may take a clause as object) -fies, -fying, -fied
1.
(transitive) to indicate, show, or suggest
2.
(transitive) to imply or portend: the clouds signified the coming storm
3.
(transitive) to stand as a symbol, sign, etc (for)
4.
(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 signify
v.

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 signify

signify

verb

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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14
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