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This is a passage from an article on the idiom call it a day:

The phrase "call it a day" is a fairly commonly used idiom that means to leave or stop doing the current activity. Usually, it is used at the end of a workday or an otherwise strenuous activity to indicate that the day of hard work or play is finished and it is time to go home and relax for the evening, although this is not always the case

What does indicate mean mentioned in the passage? I've looked it up on Dictionary.com and there are two definitions that seems to fit the context, but I'm not sure which is the most appropriate or maybe neither of the definitions fit the context at all. They are:

  1. to be a sign of; betoken; evidence; show: His hesitation really indicates his doubt about the venture.
  2. to state or express, especially briefly or in a general way; signal: He indicated his disapproval but did not go into detail.
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The second definition puts you on the right path. This utterance is used as a signal that the (working) day is done, and those present can be satisfied in the notion that their work constitutes a complete shift.

The alternative to this indication would be someone actually saying:

OK chaps, that's enough work to satisfy the definition of a workday. What do you say we all think of it as such and go home?

  • Sorry I might be a bit confused, but just to clarify, although the phrase is used as a signal that whatever activity is finished like you mentioned, the word in question(indicate) in this context means definition #2 from the dictionary right? – Theo Dec 14 '13 at 1:05
  • @Theo the way I see it, there's a lot of overlap between the two definitions. One involves something presenting itself in a certain way, the other involves some person doing the signaling. I chose to favor the second because there are people involved (saying the phrase) but in a way they're both correct. It's just a matter of whether you want to talk about the person doing something or about a property of a thing. – Tyler James Young Dec 15 '13 at 7:32

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