|Definition - The study of symbols and signs, especially their function and origin.|
Etymology - The term derives from the Greek semeiotikos, observant of signs (from the Greek sema, sign).
Oxford English Dictionary - Its first citation is from 1880:
"Our native semiotics will surely help the archeologist in his study of native picture-writing."
(G. Mallery, Introduction to the Study of Sign Language among North American Indians, 4)