Meaning of deictic in English:


Pronunciation /ˈdeɪktɪk/ /ˈdʌɪktɪk/

See synonyms for deictic

Translate deictic into Spanish


  • Relating to or denoting a word or expression whose meaning is dependent on the context in which it is used (such as here, you, me, that one there, or next Tuesday).

    Also called indexical

    ‘In these ‘referential’ uses, it is replaceable by the deictic pronouns this and that (This is red, That is possible).’
    • ‘In acts of deictic reference, speakers integrate schematic with local knowledge.’
    • ‘Action signs, like vocal signs also take part in deictic (space/time) reference, indexicality and performativity.’
    • ‘The third-person examples are much improved if the pronouns are clearly deictic rather than anaphoric; the first-person examples are already deictic, of course.’
    • ‘The algorithm accounts for deictic as well as anaphoric referential identifications.’


  • A deictic word or expression.

    ‘The deictics in are introduced by ‘here’ or ‘there’ and serve to direct the hearer's attention to an entity currently in the speaker's perceptual field.’
    • ‘Not surprisingly, there's a predominant use of deictics throughout the text, ‘now’ ‘here’ ‘I’, a device used here to confirm, the congruence of the writer with the time and place of writing.’
    • ‘They center in the words ‘tangent’, ‘quiet’, ‘evidence’, the notable enjambment at the end of the line group, and the deictics ‘Here’ and ‘there’.’
    • ‘Particular attention is given to the minute performance of pronouns and deictics such as ‘this’ and ‘that’ which mark the boundaries between ‘us’ and ‘them'’.’
    • ‘To understand a deictic is therefore not to ‘interpret’ it but simply to grasp by observation what it singles out in the physical situation of utterance.’


Early 19th century from Greek deiktikos, deiktos ‘capable of proof’, from deiknunai ‘to show’.