Definitions for signifyingˈsɪg nəˌfaɪ ɪŋ
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word signifying
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
sig•ni•fy•ingˈsɪg nəˌfaɪ ɪŋ(n.)
a game or playful confrontation, as playing the dozens, in which witty insults are exchanged.
Origin of signifying:
Signifyin', or signifyin, is a form of wordplay. It is a practice in African-American culture involving a verbal strategy of indirection that exploits the gap between the denotative and figurative meanings of words. A simple example would be insulting someone to show affection. Signifyin' directs attention to the connotative, context-bound significance of words, which is accessible only to those who share the cultural values of a given speech community. The expression comes from stories about the Signifying Monkey, a trickster figure said to have originated during slavery in the United States. The American literary critic Henry Louis Gates Jr. wrote in The Signifying Monkey that signifyin' is "a trope, in which are subsumed several other rhetorical tropes, including metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, and irony, and also hyperbole, litotes, and metalepsis. To this list we could easily add aporia, chiasmus, and catachresis, all of which are used in the ritual of Signifyin."
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