Definition of deixis in English:


Pronunciation: /ˈdeɪksɪs//ˈdʌɪksɪs/


  • [mass noun] The function or use of deictic words, forms, or expressions.

    ‘we construct a context from the deixis of the text’
    • ‘This study of the role of deixis and information packaging in discourse is based on an analysis of several corpora of Russian spoken and written texts.’
    • ‘It is critical to an understanding of deixis to recall that even very ‘local’ elements of context, such as a speaker's own corporeal experience and perceptual field, are susceptible of schematisation.’
    • ‘The phenomenon of deixis has been taken to be the clearest single example of language's embeddedness in context.’
    • ‘There is another linguistic category related to the notion of deixis: namely, aspect.’
    • ‘In concert with contemporary theory, she posits a world of belated, thwarted deixis, of quasi-chimerical example.’


1940s: from Greek, literally reference, from deiknunai to show.