• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index


The term semiotics originated from semeîon, the Greek word for “sign,” and can be defined most simply as the study of signs. In this context, a sign is broadly conceived as anything that signifies something else, such as a spoken word signifying a concept, a hoofprint signifying the passage of an animal, or a computer icon signifying the location of a file.

A contemporary semiotician could be a philosopher, psychologist, biologist, psychoanalyst, mathematician, or educator who studies the use of signs within his or her discipline, such as a linguist investigating grammatical structures, an anthropologist interpreting the significance of a ritualized behavior, or an educator trying to further the development of a child's mathematical understanding. Although semioticians may vary widely in the content of their ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles