A sign stands for something to the idea which it produces, or modifies. Or, it is a vehicle conveying into the mind something from without. That for which it stands is called its Object; that which it conveys, its Meaning; and the idea to which it gives rise, its Interpretant. The object of representation can be nothing but a representation of which the first representation is the interpretant. But an endless series of representations, each representing the one behind it, may be conceived to have an absolute object at its limit.
A sign is a thing which serves to convey knowledge of some other thing, which it is said to stand for or represent. This thing is called the object of the sign; the idea in the mind that the sign excites, which is a mental sign of the same object, is called an interpretant of the sign.
…I shall endeavor consistently to employ the word ‘object’ […] to mean that which a sign, so far as it fulfills the function of a sign, enables one who knows the sign, and knows it as a a sign, to know.
A sign is intended to correspond to a real thing, or fact, or to something relatively real; and this object of the sign may be the very sign itself, as when a map is precisely superposed upon that which it maps. It is a perfection of the sign if it separately represents its object; in which case it becomes a proposition and is true or false.
Every sign is regarded as having an object, or real thing to which it corresponds. But though regarded as having an object, it does not cease to be a sign because no such object really exists.
[A sign] must be determined to correspond, according to some principle, and by some species of causation, with something else, called its Object. In a word, whether physically, rationally, or otherwise directly or indirectly, its Object, as agent, acts upon the sign, as patient.
The object is something external to and independent of the sign which determines in the sign an element corresponding to itself; so that we have to distinguish the quasi-real object from the presented object; or as we may say, the external from the internal object. And the external object as it is in itself is to be distinguished from the feature of the external object that is represented.
That thing which causes a sign as such is called the object (according to the usage of speech, the “real,” but more accurately, the existent object) represented by the sign: the sign is determined to some species of correspondence with that object.
…the essential nature of a sign is that it mediates between its Object which is supposed to determine it and to be, in some sense, the cause of it, and its Meaning, or, as I prefer to say, in order to avoid certain ambiguities, its Interpretant, which is determined by the sign; and is, in a sense, the effect of it; and which the sign represents to flow as an influence, from the Object. [—] So far, so good: the Object, the determinant of the Sign, and the Meaning, or Interpretant, that which the sign, as such, determines, its effect.
…the object is the antecedent of the meaning […] the object is the idea or thing that the sign finds, the meaning what it leaves.
…any sign, of whatsoever kind, professes to mediate between an Object, on the one hand, that to which it applies, and which is thus in a sense the cause of the sign, and, on the other hand, a Meaning, or to use a preferable technical term, an Interpretant, that which the sign expresses, the result which it produces in its capacity as sign. [—] The sole function of the object is identification…
…in all general inquiries about signs nothing is of more lively importance than maintaining a clear and sharp distinction between the object, or professed cause of the sign, and the meaning, or intended effect of it.
A Sign is a Cognizable that, on the one hand, is so determined (i.e., specialized, bestimmt) by something other than itself, called its Object (or, in some cases, as if the Sign be the sentence “Cain killled Abel,” in which Cain and Abel are equally Partial Objects, it may be more convenient to say that that which determines the Sign is the Complexus, or Totality, of Partial Objects. And in every case the Object is accurately the Universe of which the Special Object is member, or part), while, on the other hand, it so determines some actual or potential Mind, the determination whereof I term the Interpretant created by the Sign, that that Interpreting Mind is therein determined mediately by the Object.
[The Sign can only] represent the Object and tell about it. It cannot furnish acquaintance with or recognition of that Object; for that is what is meant in this volume by the Object of a Sign; namely, that with which it presupposes an acquaintance in order to convey some further information concerning it.
By the Object of a Sign, as the term is used by the present writer, is meant that to which the Sign applies but which it does not express otherwise than through some other Sign, or through collateral experience, or through an indication of how the interpreter of it may proceed in order to identify it.
Nature of a Sign. Its Object is all that the Sign recognizes; since the Sign cannot be understood until the Object is already identically known, though it may be indefinite. If so, it need only be known in its indefiniteness.
By an object, I mean anything that we can think, i.e. anything we can talk about.