A term is a symbol in which the representative and reactive aspects of the object are left entirely vague except so far as they may be determined by the qualitative element, that is, the generalized icon created in the mind. The purest examples are verbs, like “– shines.” “– loves –;” although traditionally logicians have usually understood by terms class-names, equivalent to common norms. But these are really mere accidental parts of speech peculiar to certain classes of languages. They have no general logical significance. They are mere fragments of symbols. That is, “– is a man” is a symbol, but “man” is more nearly an icon.
Symbols are of three classes: terms, which call attention to things or quasi-things; propositions, which declare facts; and arguments, which profess to enlighten us as to the rational connections of facts or possible facts.
A term appears, in the general algebra of logic of Peirce, as well as in the logical graphs of the same logician, as a symbol which does not definitely and separately show its object, or more clearly speaking, as a proposition in which blanks are left for some or all of its subjects; as ‘– is a man,’ ‘– loves –.’
A term […] is any representamen which does not separately indicate its object; as ‘kills’, ‘digs’, ‘endowed by nature with rich gifts of person and mind, and a really great poet, but vicious and egotistical’.