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

  • n. A die or signet having a raised or incised emblem used to stamp an impression on a receptive substance such as wax or lead.
  • n. The impression so made.
  • n. The design or emblem itself, belonging exclusively to the user: a monarch's seal.
  • n. A small disk or wafer of wax, lead, or paper bearing such an imprint and affixed to a document to prove authenticity or to secure it.
  • n. Something, such as a commercial hallmark, that authenticates, confirms, or attests.
  • n. A substance, especially an adhesive agent such as wax or putty, used to close or secure something or to prevent seepage of moisture or air.
  • n. A device that joins two systems or elements in such a way as to prevent leakage.
  • n. An airtight closure.
  • n. A closure, as on a package, used to prove that the contents have not been tampered with.
  • n. A small decorative paper sticker.
  • transitive v. To affix a seal to in order to prove authenticity or attest to accuracy, legal weight, quality, or another standard.
  • transitive v. To close with or as if with a seal.
  • transitive v. To close hermetically.
  • transitive v. To make fast or fill up, as with plaster or cement.
  • transitive v. To apply a waterproof coating to: seal a blacktop driveway.
  • transitive v. To grant, certify, or designate under seal or authority.
  • transitive v. To establish or determine irrevocably: Our fate was sealed.
  • transitive v. Mormon Church To make (a marriage, for example) binding for life; solemnize forever.
  • seal off To close tightly or surround with a barricade or cordon: An unused wing of the hospital was sealed off.
  • n. Any of various aquatic carnivorous mammals of the families Phocidae and Otariidae, found chiefly in the Northern Hemisphere and having a sleek, torpedo-shaped body and limbs that are modified into paddlelike flippers.
  • n. The pelt or fur of one of these animals, especially a fur seal.
  • n. Leather made from the hide of one of these animals.
  • intransitive v. To hunt seals.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A pinniped, particularly an earless seal (true seal) or eared seal.
  • v. To hunt seals
  • n. A stamp used to impress a design on a soft substance such as wax.
  • n. An impression of a stamp on wax or paper.
  • n. this sense) A design or ensignia usually associated with an organization or an official role.
  • n. Anything that secures or authenticates.
  • n. this sense) Something which will be visibly damaged if a covering or container is opened, and which may or may not bear an official design.
  • n. Confirmation or an indication of confirmation.
  • n. Something designed to prevent liquids or gases from leaking through a joint.
  • n. A tight closure, secure against leakage.
  • n. A chakra.
  • v. To place a seal on (a document).
  • v. To fasten (something) so that it cannot be opened without visible damage.
  • v. To prevent people or vehicles from crossing (something).
  • v. To close securely to prevent leakage.
  • v. To place in a sealed container.
  • v. To place a notation of one's next move in a sealed envelope to be opened after an adjournment.
  • v. To guarantee
  • v. To tie up animals (especially cattle) in their stalls.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any aquatic carnivorous mammal of the families Phocidæ and Otariidæ.
  • n. An engraved or inscribed stamp, used for marking an impression in wax or other soft substance, to be attached to a document, or otherwise used by way of authentication or security.
  • n. Wax, wafer, or other tenacious substance, set to an instrument, and impressed or stamped with a seal.
  • n. That which seals or fastens; esp., the wax or wafer placed on a letter or other closed paper, etc., to fasten it.
  • n. That which confirms, ratifies, or makes stable; that which authenticates; that which secures; assurance.
  • n. An arrangement for preventing the entrance or return of gas or air into a pipe, by which the open end of the pipe dips beneath the surface of water or other liquid, or a deep bend or sag in the pipe is filled with the liquid; a draintrap.
  • intransitive v. To affix one's seal, or a seal.
  • transitive v. To set or affix a seal to; hence, to authenticate; to confirm; to ratify; to establish.
  • transitive v. To mark with a stamp, as an evidence of standard exactness, legal size, or merchantable quality.
  • transitive v. To fasten with a seal; to attach together with a wafer, wax, or other substance causing adhesion.
  • transitive v. Hence, to shut close; to keep close; to make fast; to keep secure or secret.
  • transitive v. To fix, as a piece of iron in a wall, with cement, plaster, or the like.
  • transitive v. To close by means of a seal. See 2d Seal, 5.
  • transitive v. Among the Mormons, to confirm or set apart as a second or additional wife.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To hunt or catch seals.
  • To set or affix a seal to, as a mark of authenticity, confirmation, or execution: as, to seal a deed.
  • To stamp, as with a seal.
  • Specifically
  • To certify with a stamp or mark; stamp as an evidence of standard exactness, legal size, or merchantable quality: as, to seal weights and measures; to seal leather.
  • To attest; affirm; bear witness to the truth or genuineness of, by some outward act: as, to seal one's loyalty with one's life; hence, to confirm; ratify; establish; fix.
  • To grant authoritatively or under seal.
  • To fasten or secure with a seal, or with some fastening bearing a seal; close or secure with sealing-wax, a wafer, or the like: as, to seal a letter.
  • To shut up or close: as, to seal a book; to seal one's lips or eyes; hence, to establish; determine irrevocably.
  • To mark; designate; appoint.
  • To set apart or give in marriage, according to the system of plural marriages prevalent among the Mormons of Utah.
  • To inclose; confine; imprison.
  • In hydraul., sanitary engin., etc., to secure against a flow or escape of air or gas, as by the use of a dip-pipe in any form.
  • In architecture, to fix, as a piece of wood or iron in a wall, with cement, plaster, or other binding material for staples, hinges, etc.
  • To close the chinks of, as a log house, with plaster, clay, or the like.
  • To aceept; adopt: as, to seal a design.
  • Eccles.:
  • To sign with the cross.
  • To baptize.
  • To confirm.
  • To make the impression of a seal; attach a seal.
  • See seel.
  • n. A marine car nivorous mammal of the order Feræ, suborder Pinnipedia, and family Phocidæ or Otariidæ; any pinniped not a walrus—for example, a hair-seal, a fur-seal, an eared seal, of which there are numerous genera and species.
  • n. In heraldry, a bearing representing a creature something like a walrus, with a long fish-like body and the head of a carnivorous animal.
  • n. An impressed device, as of a letter, cipher, or figure, in lead, wax, paper, or other soft substance, affixed to a document in connection with or in place of a signature, as a mark of authenticity and confirmation, or for the purpose of fastening up the document in order to conceal the contents.
  • n. The engraved stone, glass, or metal stamp by which such an impression is made. Seals are sometimes worn as rings, and frequently as pendants from the watch-chain or fob.
  • n. A small disk of paper, or the like, attached to a document after the signature, and held to represent the seal of wax, which is in this case dispensed with.
  • n. That which authenticates, confirms, or ratifies; confirmation; as surance; pledge.
  • n. A sealed instrument; a writ or warrant given under seal.
  • n. The office of the sealer or official who authenticates by affixing a seal.
  • n. The wax or wafer with which a folded letter or an envelop is closed; also, any other substance similarly used to assure security or secrecy, as lead for sealing bonded cars, etc. See leaden seal, below.
  • n. Figuratively, that which effectually closes, confines, or secures; that which makes fast.
  • n. In plumbing, a small quantity of water left standing in a trap or curve of tubing connected with a drain or sewer in order to prevent the escape of gas from below.
  • n. Eccles.:
  • n. The sign of the cross.
  • n. Baptism.
  • n. Confirmation.
  • n. Same as holy lamb (which see, under lamb).
  • n. In old medicine, the so-called sigil or signature of a plant, mineral, etc. See signature.
  • n. [caps.] Same as Lord Privy Seal.
  • n. In English history, an instrument imposing a forced loan: so called because it was authenticated by the clerk of the privy seal.
  • n. Sealskin; leather made from the skin of the seal.
  • n. The amount of lap over the edge of an opening by which a lid or valve projects to make a tight joint and prevent leakage past it.
  • n. See day.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. fastener that provides a tight and perfect closure
  • n. a member of a Naval Special Warfare unit who is trained for unconventional warfare
  • n. a device incised to make an impression; used to secure a closing or to authenticate documents
  • v. affix a seal to
  • v. decide irrevocably
  • n. a finishing coat applied to exclude moisture
  • v. make tight; secure against leakage
  • n. the pelt or fur (especially the underfur) of a seal
  • v. close with or as if with a seal
  • v. cover with varnish
  • v. hunt seals
  • n. an indication of approved or superior status
  • n. fastener consisting of a resinous composition that is plastic when warm; used for sealing documents and parcels and letters
  • n. any of numerous marine mammals that come on shore to breed; chiefly of cold regions
  • n. a stamp affixed to a document (as to attest to its authenticity or to seal it)


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

Middle English, from Old French seel, from Vulgar Latin *sigellum, from Latin sigillum, diminutive of signum, sign, seal.
Middle English sele, from Old English seolh.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English sele, from an inflectional form of Old English seolh, from Proto-Germanic *selhaz (compare North Frisian selich, Middle Dutch seel, zēle, Old High German selah, Danish sæl, Middle Low German sale), either from Proto-Indo-European *selk, *solk 'to pull' (compare English dialect sullow 'plough') or from Finno-Ugric *šülke (compare Finnish dialect hylki, standard hylje, Estonian hüljes). More at sullow.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English sǣlan ("to bind").



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  • When I was in college, I used to have to visit the delightful ladies in the education office to get offical things embossed with the school insignia. Upon being asked, one secretary would say to the other, "It's time to use the seal," or some such introductory comment. Then both middle-aged women would start whooping. Sometimes hand motions would accompany the performance.

    July 6, 2007