\ 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

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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

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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 Sweeney also said the photo with the Republican sign was not a Republican rally but was rather lifted from a Wall Street Journal article about extremist groups. Tori Richards, Washington Examiner, "EXCLUSIVE: San Diego critical race theory training depicts GOP as racist," 29 Apr. 2021 The Genesis tour is the latest sign of a tour industry coming back to life after the lengthy pandemic shutdown. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, "Reunited Genesis to play Detroit's Little Caesars Arena as band embarks on Last Domino tour," 29 Apr. 2021 Wednesday’s action is the first sign that his administration would reverse years of passive acceptance that the law is widely ignored. Charles Piller, Science | AAAS, "In a first, FDA cites violation of clinical trials reporting law," 28 Apr. 2021 In the latest sign that alternative investments are going mainstream, JPMorgan revised its Bitcoin target price to $130,000 at the beginning of April. Artem Milinchuk, Forbes, "Five Reasons Alternative Investments Are Taking Off," 28 Apr. 2021 The north exit from Tenean Beach on Conley Street is grim — lots of windblown trash in the underpass beneath the Southeast Expressway — and the right turn onto Tenean Street at the stop sign follows behind industrial buildings with no sidewalk., "Boston Harborwalk in four easy pieces," 28 Apr. 2021 The robust first-quarter advertising growth announced Tuesday provides the latest sign that advertisers are expecting the economy to roar back to life as more people get vaccinated against COVID-19 and burst out of their pandemic cocoons. Michael Liedtke, ajc, "Google's Q1 ad sales surge 32%, Alphabet profit doubles," 27 Apr. 2021 The robust first-quarter advertising growth announced Tuesday is the latest sign that advertisers are expecting the economy to roar back to life as more people get vaccinated against COVID-19 and burst out of their pandemic cocoons. CBS News, "Google's profitability doubles as ad sales surge coming out of pandemic," 27 Apr. 2021 The homegrown Mexican restaurant chain with the distinctive cactus sign opened his first restaurant in 1974. Ben Flanagan |, al, "Taco Casa reveals immediate damage photos from April 27 tornado: ‘It was a terrible day’," 27 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Nared Hairston also helped Arizona sign two-time Gatorade North Dakota state player of the year Lauren Ware, a top 25 recruit, and transfers Bendu Yeaney and Trinity Baptiste, the 2020 ACC sixth player of the year. James Crepea | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Jackie Nared Hairston hired to Oregon women’s basketball coaching staff," 30 Apr. 2021 After a year of pandemic pain, the shortage is clouding otherwise hopeful signs for dining, as restaurants and bars sign new leases, vaccinated New Yorkers prepare to splurge and the city pushes to fully reopen in July. Natalie Wong, Fortune, "As NYC prepares to fully reopen in July, Manhattan restaurants struggle to find staff," 30 Apr. 2021 The Seattle Kraken are free to make trades and sign players after making their final expansion payment to the NHL., "Women’s world hockey championship rescheduled to late August," 30 Apr. 2021 Open to all ages, but parent/guardian must sign a waiver for minors. Kathy Cichon,, "Indoor ax throwing takes off in the suburbs," 30 Apr. 2021 Lindor could have become a free agent after this season, but new owner Steve Cohen shelled out $341 million to sign the switch-hitter to a 10-year contract that begins in 2022. Mike Fitzpatrick, ajc, "Welcome to NY: Lindor reacts to boos from Mets fans at home," 29 Apr. 2021 Pihos, who didn’t sign with the Eagles until 1947, went on to a Hall of Fame career, elected to seven Pro Bowls and named All-Pro in each of his last four seasons. Jon Blau, The Indianapolis Star, "IU football's NFL Draft history proves gems can be found after the first round," 29 Apr. 2021 The Cowboys need more pass rushers, with Randy Gregory slated to start opposite DeMarcus Lawrence after Dallas decided not to re-sign Aldon Smith. Schuyler Dixon, Chron, "Cowboys draft Penn State LB Micah Parsons after trade with Eagles," 29 Apr. 2021 But that also would take them out of free agency, other than sign-and-trade maneuvers. Ira Winderman,, "ASK IRA: Better recent drafts: Heat or Dolphins?," 29 Apr. 2021

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

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sign.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for sign



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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