\ 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
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

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Other Words from sign


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

Synonyms for sign

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Parking spaces out front were labeled with paper signs, numbered 1 to 15 as part of an impromptu order pickup system. Melanie Feuk, Houston Chronicle, "Northwest Houston business community seeks footing in ‘uncharted territory’," 20 Mar. 2020 Stocks worldwide plunged in reaction, because Trump’s strategy was a mismatch for the problem at hand, and because the reverberations in Europe would be felt everywhere else, another sign of our global interdependence. Heather Landy, Quartz, "Coronavirus fits the contours of a stubbornly globalized world," 19 Mar. 2020 The initial post was met with overwhelming agreement (including a co-sign from popular Beyoncé fan account @BeyLegion), and a date was officially set. Ineye Komonibo,, "Get In Formation — The Internet Is Streaming Beyoncé’s Homecoming As A Family," 18 Mar. 2020 Those working in shelters may have limited training in prevention, or a way to identify and isolate an individual showing signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Popular Science, "COVID-19 could hit homeless communities hard," 18 Mar. 2020 The signs marked the finish line of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in bold red letters. Marc Lester, Anchorage Daily News, "Nome, normally ready for an Iditarod party, prepares for a pandemic instead," 17 Mar. 2020 While on her way home, she was paused at a stop sign when the driver behind her slid into her rear bumper. Rachel Reiff Ellis, Woman's Day, "How a Lung Cancer Diagnosis Gave One Woman a New Lease on Life," 17 Mar. 2020 Those working in shelters may have limited training in prevention, or a way to identify and isolate an individual showing signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Michael Cousineau, The Conversation, "Coronavirus could hit homeless hard, and that could hit everyone hard," 13 Mar. 2020 One is the lack of a cohesive data model for patients in most electronic health records — an intuitively patient-centric construct that allows clinicians to start with a patient and trace back to their signs, symptoms, and diagnostic tests. Eric D. Perakslis, STAT, "Covid-19 will be the ultimate stress test for electronic health record systems," 12 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Running back is also a major position of need after not signing one for 2020. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Ohio State football and the recruiting battle for five-star running back Will Shipley: Buckeye Recruiting," 21 Mar. 2020 Miller played in 13 games during the 2019 season with Cincinnati - starting all of them - after signing a three-year, free-agent deal about one year ago. Dave Clark,, "Carolina Panthers to sign former Bengals guard John Miller, per reports," 19 Mar. 2020 Indianapolis wants to win now, and after signing such a big deal, Buckner will be under pressure to perform. Joel A. Erickson, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: DeForest Buckner's ready to be the pillar for the Colts that he was for 49ers," 19 Mar. 2020 Four years after triumphantly leading back to Los Angeles, two years after signing one of the richest contracts for a running back in NFL history, has been officially treated like the last guy on the junior varsity bench. Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Rams needed to sign Todd Gurley to a big deal in 2018; they needed to cut him in 2020," 19 Mar. 2020 After signing with the Giants, Zito faced some difficulties, including being cut from the team’s postseason roster and having foot and ankle injuries, which would explain the fade in stardom Rhino alluded to. Ariana Brockington,, "Robin Thicke May Want To Adjust His Rhino Guess On The Masked Singer," 18 Mar. 2020 After signing a three-year, $15 million contract in July, Looney dealt with health problems that threatened to end his career. Connor Letourneau,, "Five questions facing Warriors during coronavirus shutdown," 16 Mar. 2020 Among the powers Feinen gained after signing the executive order was the power to ban the sale of guns, ammunition, alcohol, and gasoline. Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner, "Illinois mayor signs executive order granting power to ban sale of guns and alcohol while addressing coronavirus," 13 Mar. 2020 Harrison is gone one disappointing season after signing a contract extension. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions have a ton of work to do at DT position when free agency begins," 12 Mar. 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for sign

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for sign

Last Updated

23 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sign.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Mar. 2020.

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More Definitions for sign


How to pronounce sign (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sign

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a piece of paper, wood, etc., with words or pictures on it that gives information about something
: something (such as an action or event) which shows that something else exists, is true, or will happen
: a motion, action, or movement that you use to express a thought, command, or wish



English Language Learners Definition of sign (Entry 2 of 2)

: to write (your name) on something
: to write your name on (something) especially to show that you accept, agree with, or will be responsible for something
: to hire (someone) to do something especially by having that person sign a contract


\ 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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on sign

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sign

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sign

Spanish Central: Translation of sign

Nglish: Translation of sign for Spanish Speakers

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

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