from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Something that suggests the presence or existence of a fact, condition, or quality.
  • noun An act or gesture used to convey an idea, a desire, information, or a command: synonym: gesture.
  • noun Sign language.
  • noun A displayed structure bearing lettering or symbols, used to identify or advertise a place of business.
  • noun A posted notice bearing a designation, direction, or command.
  • noun A conventional figure or device that stands for a word, phrase, or operation; a symbol, as in mathematics or in musical notation.
  • noun An indicator, such as a dropping or footprint, of the trail of an animal.
  • noun A trace or vestige.
  • noun A portentous incident or event; a presage.
  • noun Medicine An objective finding, usually detected on physical examination, from a laboratory test, or on an x-ray, that indicates the presence of abnormality or disease.
  • noun One of the 12 divisions of the zodiac, each named for a constellation and represented by a symbol.
  • intransitive verb To affix one's signature to.
  • intransitive verb To write (one's signature).
  • intransitive verb To approve or ratify (a document) by affixing a signature, seal, or other mark.
  • intransitive verb To hire or engage by obtaining a signature on a contract.
  • intransitive verb To relinquish or transfer title to by signature.
  • intransitive verb To provide with a sign or signs.
  • intransitive verb To communicate with a sign or signs.
  • intransitive verb To express (a word or thought, for example) by sign language.
  • intransitive verb To consecrate with the sign of the cross.
  • intransitive verb To make a sign or signs; signal.
  • intransitive verb To use sign language.
  • intransitive verb To write one's signature.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In geometry, the symbol .
  • noun Avisible mark or impress, whether natural or artificial, accidental or purposed, serving to convey information, suggest an idea, or assist inference; a distinctive guiding indication to the eye.
  • noun An arbitrary or conventional mark used as an abbreviation for a known meaning; a figure written technically instead of the word or words which it represents, according to prescription or usage: as, mathematical, astronomical, medical, botanical, or musical signs; occult signs; an artist's sign.
  • noun Something displayed to announce the presence of any one; a cognizance; a standard; a banner.
  • noun An inscribed board, plate, or space, or a symbolical representation or figure, serving for guidance or information, as on or before a place of business or of public resort, or along a road: as, a merchant's or shopman's sign; a tavern -sign; a swinging sign; a tin sign; a sign-board.
  • noun A symbolical representation; a symbol; hence, in absolute use, symbolical significance; allusive representation: with in.
  • noun A representative or indicative thing; a tangible, audible, or historical token, symbol, or memento; an exponent or indicator: as, words are the signs of thought; the ruin is a sign of past grandeur.
  • noun In general, anything which serves to manifest, stand for, or call up the idea of another thing to the mind of the person perceiving it; evidence of something past, present, or future; a symptom: as, to show signs of life; a sign of foul or fair weather; signs of war; signs of a contagious disease.
  • noun In Biblical use:
  • noun That by which a person or thing is known, especially as divinely distinguished (Luke ii. 12; Rom. iv. 11; 2 Cor. xii. 12).
  • noun Especially, an appearance or occurrence indicative of the divine presence or power, and authenticating a message or messenger (Acts ii. 22, vii. 36; 1 Cor. i. 22): a miraculous manifestation or warning; a portent; an omen.
  • noun A motion or gesture intended to express thought or convey an idea; a movement of the hand or some other part of the body having a natural or conventional significance: as, the instinctive, artificial, or alphabetical signs of the deaf and dumb; pantomimic signs; to manifest assent by a sign.
  • noun A spoken symbol; a signal-cry; a watchword: a use still seen in countersign.
  • noun One of the twelve divisions of the zodiac, each comprising 30 degrees of the ecliptic, and marked as to position by a constellation or group of stars, the name of which is represented by a symbolical figure or sign of ancient origin.
  • noun Figuratively, an individual stamp or quality distinguishing anything done or produced by a person. [Often hyphened.]
  • noun See equality.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English signe, from Old French, from Latin signum; see sekw- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French signe, from Latin signum ("a mark, sign, token"); root uncertain.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French signer, from Latin signare ("to mark, seal, indicate, signify"), from signum ("a mark, sign"); see sign as a noun.


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