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

  • n. Something that suggests the presence or existence of a fact, condition, or quality.
  • n. An act or gesture used to convey an idea, a desire, information, or a command: gave the go-ahead sign.
  • n. Sign language.
  • n. A displayed structure bearing lettering or symbols, used to identify or advertise a place of business: a motel with a flashing neon sign outside.
  • n. A posted notice bearing a designation, direction, or command: an EXIT sign above a door; a traffic sign.
  • n. A conventional figure or device that stands for a word, phrase, or operation; a symbol, as in mathematics or in musical notation.
  • n. An indicator, such as a dropping or footprint, of the trail of an animal: looking for deer sign.
  • n. A trace or vestige: no sign of life.
  • n. A portentous incident or event; a presage: took the eclipse as a sign from God.
  • n. A body manifestation that serves to indicate the presence of malfunction or disease.
  • n. One of the 12 divisions of the zodiac, each named for a constellation and represented by a symbol.
  • transitive v. To affix one's signature to.
  • transitive v. To write (one's signature).
  • transitive v. To approve or ratify (a document) by affixing a signature, seal, or other mark: sign a bill into law.
  • transitive v. To hire or engage by obtaining a signature on a contract: signed a rookie pitcher for next season; sign up actors for a tour.
  • transitive v. To relinquish or transfer title to by signature: signed away all her claims to the estate.
  • transitive v. To provide with a sign or signs: sign a new highway.
  • transitive v. To communicate with a sign or signs: signed his approval with a nod.
  • transitive v. To express (a word or thought, for example) by sign language: signed her reply to the question.
  • transitive v. To consecrate with the sign of the cross.
  • intransitive v. To make a sign or signs; signal.
  • intransitive v. To use sign language.
  • intransitive v. To write one's signature.
  • sign in To record the arrival of another or oneself by signing a register.
  • sign off To announce the end of a communication; conclude.
  • sign off To stop transmission after identifying the broadcasting station.
  • sign off Informal To express approval formally or conclusively: got the Congress to sign off on the tax proposal.
  • sign on Informal To enlist oneself, especially as an employee: "Retired politicians often sign on with top-dollar law firms” ( New York Times).
  • sign on To start transmission with an identification of the broadcasting station.
  • sign out To record the departure of another or oneself by signing a register.
  • sign up To agree to be a participant or recipient by signing one's name; enlist: signed up for military service; signing up for a pottery course.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A visible indication.
  • n. A clearly visible object, generally flat, bearing a short message in words or pictures.
  • n. A traffic sign.
  • n. A meaningful gesture.
  • n. Any of several specialized non-alphabetic symbols.
  • n. An astrological sign.
  • n. Positive or negative polarity.
  • n. A specific gesture or motion used to communicate by those with speaking or hearing difficulties; now specifically, a linguistic unit in sign language equivalent to word in spoken languages.
  • n. sign language in general
  • n. An omen.
  • n. A property of the body that indicates a disease and, unlike a symptom, is unlikely to be noticed by the patient.
  • v. To write one's signature on (a document), thus showing authorship.
  • v. To give legal consent by writing one's signature.
  • v. To persuade to sign a contract.
  • v. To write one's signature.
  • v. (colloquial) To give autographs.
  • v. To communicate using sign language.
  • v. To communicate using (sign langauge).
  • v. To be a sign or omen.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A remarkable event, considered by the ancients as indicating the will of some deity; a prodigy; an omen.
  • n. An event considered by the Jews as indicating the divine will, or as manifesting an interposition of the divine power for some special end; a miracle; a wonder.
  • n. Something serving to indicate the existence, or preserve the memory, of a thing; a token; a memorial; a monument.
  • n. Any symbol or emblem which prefigures, typifles, or represents, an idea; a type; hence, sometimes, a picture.
  • n. A word or a character regarded as the outward manifestation of thought; as, words are the sign of ideas.
  • n. A motion, an action, or a gesture by which a thought is expressed, or a command or a wish made known.
  • n. Hence, one of the gestures of pantomime, or of a language of a signs such as those used by the North American Indians, or those used by the deaf and dumb.
  • n. A military emblem carried on a banner or a standard.
  • n. A lettered board, or other conspicuous notice, placed upon or before a building, room, shop, or office to advertise the business there transacted, or the name of the person or firm carrying it on; a publicly displayed token or notice.
  • n. The twelfth part of the ecliptic or zodiac.
  • n. A character indicating the relation of quantities, or an operation performed upon them.
  • n. An objective evidence of disease; that is, one appreciable by some one other than the patient.
  • n. Any character, as a flat, sharp, dot, etc.
  • n. That which, being external, stands for, or signifies, something internal or spiritual; -- a term used in the Church of England in speaking of an ordinance considered with reference to that which it represents.
  • intransitive v. To be a sign or omen.
  • intransitive v. To make a sign or signal; to communicate directions or intelligence by signs.
  • intransitive v. To write one's name, esp. as a token of assent, responsibility, or obligation.
  • transitive v. To represent by a sign; to make known in a typical or emblematic manner, in distinction from speech; to signify.
  • transitive v. To make a sign upon; to mark with a sign.
  • transitive v. To affix a signature to; to ratify by hand or seal; to subscribe in one's own handwriting.
  • transitive v. To assign or convey formally; -- used with away.
  • transitive v. To mark; to make distinguishable.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To mark with a sign, either fixed or (as by a significant motion) passing; place a sign or distinguishing mark upon; mark; specifically, to sign with the cross. Compare sain.
  • To affix a signature to, as a writing of any kind, a design or painting, or the like, for verification, attestation, or assent; write one's name upon, or something intended to represent one's name, or (as by authorization or assumption) that of another person: as, to sign bills or receipts with the employer's name and the writer's initials; the plans were signed with a monogram.
  • To write as a signature: as, to sign one's own or another's name to a letter.
  • To affect by a binding signature; dispose of by written assignment or release: with away or off: as, to sign away one's rights; to sign off one's interest in a contract.
  • To procure the signature of, as to an agreement; engage by the signing of a contract; put under written obligation.
  • To communicate by a sign; make known by a significant motion; signal, as with the hand.
  • To give or show signs of; display in appearance or manner; betoken or distinguish by any indication.
  • To assign, as to a place or duty; direct; appoint; settle; fix.
  • To write one's signature; bind one's self by a signature; make a signed agreement or statement: with an adverbial adjunct: as, to sign off from drinking (that is, to sign the temperance pledge).
  • To serve as a sign; have significance; augur.
  • To mate a sign or signs; gesture or point significantly.
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. Something displayed to announce the presence of any one; a cognizance; a standard; a banner.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A symbolical representation; a symbol; hence, in absolute use, symbolical significance; allusive representation: with in.
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. In Biblical use:
  • n. That by which a person or thing is known, especially as divinely distinguished (Luke ii. 12; Rom. iv. 11; 2 Cor. xii. 12).
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A spoken symbol; a signal-cry; a watchword: a use still seen in countersign.
  • n. 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.
  • n. Figuratively, an individual stamp or quality distinguishing anything done or produced by a person. [Often hyphened.]
  • n. See equality.
  • n. See sign of the cross, under cross.
  • n. Synonyms Note, index, symbol, type, manifestation, signal.
  • n. 7 and Prognostic, Presage, etc. See omen.
  • n. In geometry, the symbol .

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

  • v. be engaged by a written agreement
  • adj. used of the language of the deaf
  • n. an event that is experienced as indicating important things to come
  • n. (medicine) any objective evidence of the presence of a disorder or disease
  • n. (astrology) one of 12 equal areas into which the zodiac is divided
  • v. make the sign of the cross over someone in order to call on God for protection; consecrate
  • v. communicate in sign language
  • n. structure displaying a board on which advertisements can be posted
  • n. having an indicated pole (as the distinction between positive and negative electric charges)
  • n. a public display of a message
  • n. a gesture that is part of a sign language
  • n. a fundamental linguistic unit linking a signifier to that which is signified
  • v. place signs, as along a road
  • v. communicate silently and non-verbally by signals or signs
  • v. approve and express assent, responsibility, or obligation
  • n. any nonverbal action or gesture that encodes a message
  • v. engage by written agreement
  • v. mark with one's signature; write one's name (on)
  • n. a perceptible indication of something not immediately apparent (as a visible clue that something has happened)
  • n. a character indicating a relation between quantities


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

Middle English signe, from Old French, from Latin signum.

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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