Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?


[sig-nuh-fahy-ing] /ˈsɪg nəˌfaɪ ɪŋ/
sounding1 (def 4)
1955-60; signify + -ing1
Related forms
unsignifying, 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. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for signifying
  • Other similar stone structures were objects of veneration, signifying places of power or the abode of spirits.
  • Signs signifying how far away major cities in the world are.
  • The bulky microphone soon took on a symbolic role, signifying the urgency and excitement of radio itself.
  • Astronomers spot earliest light signifying a star's doom.
  • Paper maps with ridges signifying roads are not ideal either, because they cannot convey enough information.
  • The blink is a physical manifestation signifying that one has taken in what was being communicated.
  • The symmetry of private semantic narrative against public a-signifying topology.
  • It all smacks of student-grade stuff: full of portent, without signifying much.
  • But the precise definition of the term leadership can be at times opaque, signifying many things, not all uniform.
  • The technology becomes pretty images, signifying nothing.
British Dictionary definitions for signifying


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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for signifying



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
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for signifying

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.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for signifying

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for signifying

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with signifying

Nearby words for signifying