Share this entry
semiotics Line breaks: semi|ot¦ics
Pronunciation: /ˌsiːmɪˈɒtɪks/

Definition of semiotics in English:

plural noun

[treated as singular]
The study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation.
Example sentences
  • I have always been concerned with semiotics - the study of signs and symbols as communication - and how so many persons fail to see how misleading certain subtle methods can be in deceiving them.
  • Not all of which moves towards discursive literacy, nor is it meant to be captured solely by semiotics of language and linguistic systems.
  • In common with socio-linguistics, social semiotics assumes that language varies with social context, and also assumes that the reader of any narrative system plays an active part in its interpretation.


Pronunciation: /ˌsiːmiˈɒtɪk/ /ˌsɛmiˈɒtɪk/
Example sentences
  • He says ‘not semiotically formed’ because he identifies the semiotic function with the linguistic one.
  • Literature is seen as a particularly rich semiotic field with such sub-disciplines as literary and narrative semiotics.
  • In a conscious attempt to exploit architecture's semiotic potential, the architects have made use of new technology.
Pronunciation: /ˌsiːmiˈɒtɪkli/ /ˌsɛmiˈɒtɪkli/
Example sentences
  • Clothing has always been politically significant, creating a visual representation of a person's relationship to the state, and Fashion has always semiotically challenged, reinforced, and/or reconfigured meanings of citizenship.
  • The transcendental unity of the semiotically self-sufficient text and undifferentiated spectator dissolved into a complex series of critical and discursive relations.
  • What is striking about David's interest in Fenelon and the episode he invented to convey the moral lessons of the story is the very flexible, open-ended way that his image unfolds semiotically.
Pronunciation: /ˌsiːmɪəˈtɪʃ(ə)n/
Example sentences
  • You can live in Scarsdale or in an ashram; you can be a court-of-appeals judge or a retro housewife, semiotician or banker, dermatologist or poet, lesbian or born-again, and you are still just one of us.
  • Even solipsists look both ways before crossing a street and postmodernists, I suspect, submit their appendicitis to a surgeon, not a semiotician.
  • In a sense, we are border semioticians and vernacular linguists.


Late 19th century: from Greek sēmeiotikos 'of signs', from sēmeioun 'interpret as a sign'.

Definition of semiotics in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources