Signifier and Signified
"Signifier" and "signified" are terms used in one branch of linguistics and literary criticism
to describe the components of a sign: the signifier, to
put it simply, is the word, and the signified is the thing or
idea it represents. Signifiers needn't be confined to words;
they can include any system of representation, including
drawings, traffic lights, body language, and so on. Much of the
literary criticism of the last twenty-five years has focused on
the relationship between the signifier and signified, and
therefore on the very nature of meaning.
From the Guide to Literary Terms by Jack Lynch.
Please send comments to Jack Lynch.
Note: This guide is still in the early stages of development.
Three question marks mean I have to write more on the subject. Bear with me.