1. the study of signs and symbols as elements of communicative behavior;
the analysis of systems of communication, as language, gestures, or clothing.
2. a general theory of signs and symbolism,
usually divided into the branches of pragmatics, semantics, and syntactics.
Dictionary.com entry for semiotics
Over the past three decades the semiotics of men's athletic wear has been puzzling.
Back in the 1900s, when I was a kid, their basketball shorts and swim trunks were as short
as the day is long. God Bless America.
Online Etymology Dictionary entry for semiotics
study of signs and symbols with special regard to function and origin, 1880, from Gk. semeiotikos "observant of signs," adj. form of semeiosis "indication," from semeioun "to signal," from sema "sign."
Contrarians-- Everyone is already aware of what all is wrong with everything under the sun -- make good use of yourself and come up with a better example sentence for that word, and /or explain to me what the parachute-dimension of men's shorts is all about, as a communicative gesture of the past several years... please and thanks!