\ ˈsīn How to pronounce sign (audio) \

Definition of sign

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a motion or gesture by which a thought is expressed or a command or wish made known
c : a fundamental linguistic unit that designates an object or relation or has a purely syntactic function signs include words, morphemes, and punctuation
d : one of a set of gestures used to represent language also : sign language
2 : a mark having a conventional meaning and used in place of words or to represent a complex notion
3 : one of the 12 divisions of the zodiac
4a(1) : a character (such as a flat or sharp) used in musical notation
(2) : segno
b : a character (such as ÷) indicating a mathematical operation also : one of two characters + and − that form part of the symbol of a number and characterize it as positive or negative
5a : a display (such as a lettered board or a configuration of neon tubing) used to identify or advertise a place of business or a product
b : a posted command, warning, or direction
c : signboard
6a : something material or external that stands for or signifies something spiritual
b : something indicating the presence or existence of something else signs of success a sign of the times
c : presage, portent signs of an early spring
d : an objective evidence of plant or animal disease
7 plural usually sign : traces of a usually wild animal red fox sign


signed; signing; signs

Definition of sign (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

b : to place a sign on or mark by signs sign a trail
c : to represent or indicate by a sign
2a : to affix a signature to : ratify or attest by hand or seal sign a bill into law sign a confession
b : to assign or convey formally signed over his property to his brother
c : to write down (one's name)
d : to affix one's name to a signed review
3 : to communicate by making a sign or by sign language
4 : to engage or hire by securing the signature of on a contract of employment often used with up or on

intransitive verb

1 : to write one's name in token of assent, responsibility, or obligation signed for the packages signed with the team for one season
2a : to make a sign or signal
b : to use sign language

Other Words from sign


signee \ ˌsī-​ˈnē How to pronounce sign (audio) \ noun
signer \ ˈsī-​nər How to pronounce sign (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for sign

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for sign


sign, mark, token, note, symptom mean a discernible indication of what is not itself directly perceptible. sign applies to any indication to be perceived by the senses or the reason. encouraging signs for the economy mark suggests something impressed on or inherently characteristic of a thing often in contrast to general outward appearance. a mark of a good upbringing token applies to something that serves as a proof of something intangible. this gift is a token of our esteem note suggests a distinguishing mark or characteristic. a note of irony in her writing symptom suggests an outward indication of an internal change or condition. rampant crime is a symptom of that city's decay

Examples of sign in a Sentence

Noun The sign in the store window says “OPEN.” After you get off the highway, follow the signs for Route 25. He ran the stop sign. There was a “For Sale” sign on the car. All the signs point to him as the guilty party. She ignored me, which was a sure sign that she was mad at me. “The company called me in for a second interview.” “That's a good sign.” It was a bad sign that he couldn't walk on the injured leg. There are plenty of warning signs that the company is in danger of bankruptcy. They bowed before the king as a sign of respect. Verb Sign your name on the bottom line. She met with fans and signed autographs. Please sign at the bottom of the application. You forgot to sign the document. He was forced to sign the confession. The contract was signed by both parties. The author will be signing copies of his books today. The contract should be signed, sealed, and delivered by tomorrow. The team signed the pitcher to a three-year contract. He is signed to a three-year contract. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Although the show hasn’t been given the green light yet, the mere fact that it’s already been considered by the higher-ups is a good sign. Rebecca Norris, Good Housekeeping, 22 May 2022 The practice isn’t going anywhere, but the slow pace at which ride volumes have recovered from their pandemic depths is the latest sign the industry might not become as pervasive as once hoped. Laura Forman, WSJ, 22 May 2022 Mountcastle quipped later in the Orioles’ clubhouse, knowing full well that their presence was only the first sign of the fan base’s excitement about Adley Rutschman — baseball’s top prospect — finally joining the major league roster. Andy Kostka, Baltimore Sun, 21 May 2022 Staring up at the road sign for Cambridge, Ngũgĩ recalled that T. S. Eliot, an American, fled to England to immerse himself in the works of European writers in order to better understand and master literature. Dw Gibson, The Atlantic, 20 May 2022 At the first sign of distress, such as a wobbly stride, the dog is returned to the kennel and placed in water, which is also injected beneath its skin for hydration, said Martin Munck, who owns Green Dog Svalbard with his wife, Karina Bernlow. New York Times, 19 May 2022 For children whose speech is hard to understand, any noise or attempt at talking is a good sign. Abigail A. Allen, The Conversation, 19 May 2022 Triptans—medications that calm nerves and block pain signals in the brain—can help right away with migraine attacks, as they are meant to be taken at the first sign of an attack to help reduce symptoms. Carly Vandergriendt, SELF, 19 May 2022 Though some of us have been interested in this sort of thing for many years, today’s hearing was the latest sign of a ... Jack Butler, National Review, 17 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Public concerns about similarities with Venezuela led Mr. Petro to publicly sign a document at a notary public pledging not to expropriate. Kejal Vyas, WSJ, 24 May 2022 After finishing last in the NFL in pass defense last year, the Ravens released cornerback Tavon Young and did not re-sign cornerback Anthony Averett. Jonas Shaffer, Baltimore Sun, 24 May 2022 Should the Tigers not sign another player, that scholarship could eventually go to a walk-on, with Lior Berman the most likely candidate. Tom Green |, al, 23 May 2022 But the looming question is whether Beckham will re-sign with the Rams. Los Angeles Times, 23 May 2022 Florida authorities arrested a woman who allegedly stole over $437,000 from a 70-year-old cancer patient by impersonating her daughter and forcing her to sign over her possessions, officials said. Lawrence Richard, Fox News, 23 May 2022 In 2019, State Farm was among the hundreds of companies and industry associations to sign an amicus brief supporting LGBTQ equality in the workplace before three cases involving LGBTQ discrimination were reviewed by the Supreme Court. Timothy Bella, Washington Post, 23 May 2022 That leaves Dallas with the money available to sign one or two noteworthy veterans in free agency prior to the start of the season. Dj Siddiqi, Forbes, 23 May 2022 Yet, City was able to break the British transfer record to sign Jack Grealish for 100 million pounds ($139 million) even though the midfielder only started sparingly. Rob Harris, ajc, 22 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sign.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of sign


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for sign


Middle English signe, from Anglo-French, from Latin signum mark, token, sign, image, seal; perhaps akin to Latin secare to cut — more at saw


Middle English, from Anglo-French signer, from Latin signare to mark, sign, seal, from signum

Learn More About sign

Time Traveler for sign

Time Traveler

The first known use of sign was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near sign

sigmoid valve



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for sign

Last Updated

25 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sign.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for sign


\ ˈsīn How to pronounce sign (audio) \

Kids Definition of sign

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a motion, action, or movement of the hand that means something The teacher made a sign for them to be quiet.
2 : a public notice that advertises something or gives information a stop sign
3 : something that indicates what is present or is to come the first signs of spring
4 : a symbol (as + or ÷) indicating a mathematical operation
5 : one of the twelve parts of the zodiac


signed; signing

Kids Definition of sign (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to put a signature on to show acceptance, agreement, or responsibility His boss signed the order form.
2 : to communicate by using sign language
3 : to represent or show by a motion, action, or movement
4 : to make or place a sign on
sign up
: to sign someone's name in order to get, do, or take something I signed up to go.


\ ˈsīn How to pronounce sign (audio) \

Medical Definition of sign

1 : one of a set of gestures used to represent language
2 : an objective evidence of disease especially as observed and interpreted by the physician rather than by the patient or lay observer narrow retinal vessels are a sign of arteriosclerosis — see brudzinski sign, chvostek's sign, homans' sign, kernig sign, physical sign, placental sign, romberg's sign, tinel's sign, vital signs, von graefe's sign — compare symptom


transitive verb

Legal Definition of sign

1 : to affix a signature to : ratify or attest by hand or seal sign a bill into law specifically : to write or mark something (as a signature) on (a document) as an acknowledgment of one's intention to be bound by it
2 : to assign or convey formally signed the property over to his brother

Other Words from sign

signer noun

More from Merriam-Webster on sign

Nglish: Translation of sign for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sign for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about sign


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!