Difference Between Sign and Symbol (With Table)

Sign vs Symbol

Signs and symbols are graphical presentations. A sign is generally used to give people warnings or to aware them in some situations. A symbol is something that is accepted by a specific group of people.

The difference between sign and symbol is that a sign on its own is a language and it is used to communicate between people whereas a symbol represents something that is accepted by certain groups of people.

Symbols are abstract or subjective in nature and require interpretation while signs in nature are informative, advisory, mandatory, prohibitory and warning. An example of a sign would be traffic signs which tell you what is ahead of you or warn you if there is a sudden turn or a speed breaker ahead.

An example of a symbol can be a cross which is universally accepted as it represents Christianity or other examples such as wifi symbol, power button and many more. There can also be different interpretations of a particular sign as different people may perceive them differently.


 

Comparison Table Between Sign and Symbol

Parameters of ComparisonSignSymbol
DefinitionSign on its own is a language and it is used to communicate between people.Symbol represents something that is accepted by certain groups of people.
NatureSigns in nature are informative, advisory, mandatory, prohibitory and warning.Symbols are abstract or subjective in nature.
MeaningA sign may have only one meaning and it may also be mandatory to be followed by everyone.A symbol may only be targeted towards only a certain group of people and not be mandatory for everyone to follow.
InterpretationsA sign only has one meaning and thus cannot be interpreted in any other way.A symbol has many meanings and it's interpretations may vary as the people may perceive it differently.

 

What is Sign?

A sign is mainly used to give people warnings or to inform them in certain situations. It is in itself a language and it is used to communicate between people. Signs in nature are informative, advisory, mandatory, prohibitory and warning.

A sign may have only one meaning and it may also be mandatory to be followed by everyone and due to this it cannot be interpreted in any other way. Signs can also mean the use of hand gestures or any other gestures to convey any kind of instructions or information.

A sign has to be followed just the way it is. It is also descriptive in nature or in others words it means and stands for a specific thing. In general, when a sign is implemented in any area, the thing it stands for can be easily interpretated by the people and they must follow what it means.

Sign
 

What is Symbol?

symbol is a graphical presentation that represents something that is accepted by a specific group of people. Symbols are abstract or subjective in nature and require interpretation.

A symbol may only be targeted towards only a certain group of people and not be mandatory for everyone to follow and due to this it’s interpretations may vary as different people may perceive it differently than the others. A symbol can also mean a conventional representation of a function, process or an object.

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A cross is an excellent example of what a symbol is. It is universally accepted and it represents Christianity. Other symbols that are universally interpretated the same way are power off buttons, WiFi, mobile data or the thumbs up and peace symbols.

Symbol

Main Differences Between Sign and Symbol

  • Sign on its own is a language and it is used to communicate between people and is mainly used to aware people of something whereas a symbol represents something that is accepted by certain groups of people.
  • Signs in nature are informative, advisory, mandatory, prohibitory and warning whereas symbols are abstract or subjective in nature and they require interpretation.
  • A sign may have only one meaning and it may also be mandatory to be followed by everyone while a symbol may only be targeted towards only a certain group of people and not be mandatory for everyone to follow.
  • A sign only has one meaning and due to this it cannot be interpreted in any other way while a symbol has many meanings and due to this it’s interpretations may vary as different people may perceive it differently than the others.
  • Example of a sign would be traffic signs which tell you what is ahead of you or warn you if there is a sudden turn or speedbraker ahead whereas example of a symbol can be a cross which is universally accepted as it represts Christianity, wifi symbol, mobile data or power button.

 

Conclusion

Both signs and symbols are graphical presentations. A sign is mainly used to give people warnings or to inform them in certain situations. It is in itself a language and it is used to communicate between people. A symbol is a graphical presentation that represents something that is accepted by a specific group of people. 

Symbols are abstract or subjective in nature and require interpretation while signs in nature are informative, advisory, mandatory, prohibitory and warning. A sign may have only one meaning and it may also be mandatory to be followed by everyone and due to this it cannot be interpreted in any other way.

A symbol may only be targeted towards only a certain group of people and not be mandatory for everyone to follow and due to this it’s interpretations may vary as different people may perceive it differently than the others. Examples of a sign will be road signs and traffic signs while a symbol can be the WiFi symbol, cross which represents Christianity and many others.