Writing and Difference Questions and Answers
by Jacques Derrida

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Define the term "différance'' for Derrida in simple words with examples.    From Writing and Difference and Margins of Philosophy

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The concept of difference comes from the structuralist Ferdinand de Saussure. He claimed that there was no inherent relationship between a word (spoken/written) and its signified idea or object. Consider that there are many languages and therefore many different words for tree. The letters that form "tree" mean tree because we as a community agree that "tree" represents tree. But "tree" has other forms in other languages. It is not the word that creates meaning; it is the difference of the word (signifier) "tree" to other words that gives it meaning. The word "tree" is a signifier and meaning is established by the relationships of difference "tree" has with other signifiers and thereby with other signifieds (ideas/objects). "Tree" means something only when it has a context: a tree is a plant that makes its own food that takes in carbon dioxide, etc. (We literally need other words/ideas (signifiers/signifieds) in order to explain "tree." "Tree" can not mean something on its own. 

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