To signify means to "mean." When Paul Revere looked for the lanterns in the church tower, he knew that one would signify that the British were coming by land and two would indicate that they were coming by sea.

When objects are endowed with symbolic meaning, they are said to signify things. A dove signifies peace, a six-pointed star signifies Judaism, a frog signifies fertility, a trident signifies the Hindu Shiva or the Greek Poseidon.

Definitions of signify

v denote or connote

intend, mean, stand for
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denote, refer
have as a meaning
convolute, pervert, sophisticate, twist, twist around
practice sophistry; change the meaning of or be vague about in order to mislead or deceive
euphemise, euphemize
refer to something with a euphemism
come back, hark back, recall, return
go back to something earlier
identify, name
give the name or identifying characteristics of; refer to by name or some other identifying characteristic property
refer (a word or name) to a person or thing
speak disparagingly of; e.g., make a racial slur
express, state
indicate through a symbol, formula, etc.

v make known with a word or signal

“He signified his wish to pay the bill for our meal”
Type of:
to state or express briefly

v convey or express a meaning

“What does his strange behavior signify?”
intend, mean, stand for
denote or connote
Type of:
intend, mean
mean or intend to express or convey

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