One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A standard-bearer, especially in a Roman legion (now historical except in extended use). Also Scottish: a person who bears a coat of arms, specifically a pursuivant (now historical).
Late Middle English (in an earlier sense). From classical Latin signifer Zodiac, standard-bearer, use as noun (with reference to the Zodiac short for signifer orbis, signifer circulus, signifer polus) of masculine of signifer carrying or adorned with images, (of the sky) holding the constellations from signum + -fer.
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