The meaning of signifier and signified (can be also called signs and objects), is what we use to create meanings behind something. It is also used to give out information to however is looking at the sign at the time. The meaning of signifier is the words that we use, while signified means how we interpret that word. For example the signifier for the word open, we can interpret that word as the place/building is open. This can apply to other things besides words as well. Images, sounds, smells, how things taste and objects are some others things we use these meanings on. There meaning can be a specific meaning or unintentional. An unintentional meaning could be a symptom of a medical condition. They can be divided by type of relation, these are icons, indices or symbols. Icons are signs that signify means of similarity between the vehicle and object. Indices signify means of direct relation of contiguity or causality (symptom). Symbols signify a law or social convention. As quoted by Peirce ‘Nothing is a sign unless it is interpreted as a sign’. As long as we give something a sign or meaning behind it then it will be considered a signified. Between the words the relationship is referred as signification.

Some examples
Images – Toxic sign – (Is used as toxic sign in America because they thought the children would think the skull and crossbones are related with pirates) – Radioactivity sign
Objects – Headphones – Clock
Sound Sound of running water.
While in general the meanings are basically the same message around the world some signs/gestures are offence in one place while not somewhere else. They can also change meanings if you add movement to them. Also with some signs (such as the peace sign) depending on how you show it can mean differently. For example if you have the V sign with the palm of your hand facing the observer it can mean victory, peace or the number 2. However if the back of the hand is shown it can be an insult (doesn’t apply to America). If you added movement to the sign it changes again to meaning air quotes.


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