What are sign and symbols?

The distinction between sign and symbol is explained here. A sign is an object or figure that, for those who interpret it, represents a certain reality. A symbol represents an idea that must be perceived through the senses and is linked to a societally accepted convention. Continue reading…
Definition of Sign-

A sign is something that stands in for another thing or object, representing a certain reality or concept to those who interpret it. Signs are signals that serve to communicate something that humans and other living beings can perceive if necessary. 

Definition of Symbol-

It is the perceptible representation of an idea that has a social convention associated with it. It has a traditional relationship between its meaning and what it denotes. A symbol represents an idea that is perceived by the senses. It is arbitrary and allows us to externalize or reflect a thought or concept through a social convention. A symbol is something that represents or embodies certain values. 

As an example, consider the national symbols that comprise a country's flag or the religious symbols used to represent and symbolize deities or religious stories. 

Difference between sign and symbol-
  • Signs are graphic representations that have a limited or limited meaning. They are informative and provide meaning. 
  • Symbols represent various things. They are interpreted as metaphors. Its significance is not limited or concrete, but rather subjective. They are used by society to define reality through analogy or convention.


Humans receive information from our peers and from nature through verbal and nonverbal statements, so we can say that we live in a world of signs that transmit information to us.

Symbols in linguistics are scientific or technical abbreviations that use signs other than the alphabet or that are present in it and, unlike traditional abbreviations, are unique.