a linguistic sign, for example, a verbally spoken word, that bears no obvious resemblance to the thing or concept signified. Because the vast majority of words in all languages are considered to fall into this category - since they are arbitrarily named, arbitrariness is often cited as an important characteristic of human languages. This specific idea is of central significance in the structuralist approach to the study of linguistics (see structuralism). Compare iconic symbol.
ARBITRARY SYMBOL: "An arbitrary symbol is a sign that seems to be logically unrelated to the object is it supposed to represent."