Definition - The object or class of objects — whether existing or not — that a sign labels.

1. As opposed to the denotatum, which is an existing object that a sign labels.

Example -
The class of imaginary objects we call leprechauns is a designatum but not a denotatum.

Etymology -
The word derives from the Latin designatum, the neuter past participle of designare, to mark out or indicate.

Oxford English Dictionary -
Its first citation is from 1938:
"Where what is referred to actually exists as referred to[,] the object of reference is a denotatum. It thus becomes clear that, while every sign has a designatum, not every sign has a denotatum …."
(C. W. Morris in Internat. Encycl. Unified Sci. I. 83)

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