\ 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 Asked if the team had used any sign-stealing technology in recent seasons, Avila said no. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers mailbag: No sign-stealing, take your (No. 1) pick, Jake Rogers' defense," 20 Feb. 2020 In a sign that her performance may have resonated, at least with her supporters, Warren had the best fundraising hour of her entire campaign during the debate, including $425,000 raised in just half an hour at one point. Sasha Pezenik, ABC News, "Warren discusses fiery Nevada debate, Bloomberg's comments about women on The View," 20 Feb. 2020 The remaining 28 minutes were dedicated to the increasing backlash from players, fans and even the likes of LeBron James and Mark Cuban to the handling of the Astros’ sign-stealing scheme. Evan Grant, Dallas News, "Rob Manfred’s latest defense of Astros’ punishments only adds to absurd mess MLB has created," 19 Feb. 2020 Manfred has been taking heat from players throughout the big leagues for his handling of the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. Paul Hoynes, cleveland, "“We’re not in the retaliation business’’ and three other things concerning the Cleveland Indians," 18 Feb. 2020 In the latest sign of just how abnormal life is in China right now, the country is set to cancel part or all of its annual political shindig—known as the Two Sessions—amid its ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Jane Li, Quartz, "The coronavirus looks set to nix China’s biggest annual political gathering," 17 Feb. 2020 The Houston Astros’ players received no punishment for their role in the sign-stealing scandal that continues to dominate the baseball world. Jared Diamond, WSJ, "The Astros Apologized for Cheating. Their Competitors Aren’t Satisfied.," 15 Feb. 2020 Reporters asked Crane specifically about whether the sign-stealing scheme affected the 2017 American League Championship Series, which the Astros won in seven games against the New York Yankees to advance to the World Series. Jason Hanna And Jill Martin, CNN, "Astros apologize again for sign stealing, but owner Jim Crane says he shouldn't be held accountable," 13 Feb. 2020 Like everyone around the baseball world and beyond, Yankees players and coaches have spent much of the off-season watching the fallout from the Houston Astros’ electronic sign-stealing scandal. James Wagner, New York Times, "The Yankees Are World Series Favorites. They Still Want to Talk Astros.," 12 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Kenyan Drake open to re-signing with Cardinals, but then there's the David Johnson dilemma The Arizona Republic's Bob McManaman contributed to this story. Jeremy Cluff, azcentral, "Arizona Cardinals unlikely to release David Johnson despite speculation," 7 Feb. 2020 Then, on Wednesday, Jones flipped his commitment and signed with Oregon after being an Alabama commitment for more than 500 days. Josh Bean |, al, "Inside longtime Bama commit Jayson Jones’ 11-hour flip to Oregon," 7 Feb. 2020 After signing with the Tigers in December 2018, the journeyman right-hander injured his arm while throwing his first live batting practice session of the spring. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers sign right-hander Chris Smith, recovering from surgery, to minor-league deal," 7 Feb. 2020 Johnson, a 6-foot-9 forward who signed with Duke, started the school year at IMG Academy in Florida but returned home and re-enrolled at Nicolet last month. Mark Stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Duke recruit Jalen Johnson returned to action for Nicolet on Friday night at Slinger," 7 Feb. 2020 In 2014, then-Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear signed an order that prohibited tobacco products and e-cigarettes in some state buildings. R.g. Dunlop, ProPublica, "How These Jail Officials Profit From Selling E-Cigarettes to Inmates," 7 Feb. 2020 Lancaster's rise with Louisville began largely the same way, with injuries stunting his development and playing time after signing with Louisville City in the club's inaugural season in 2015. David Harten, The Courier-Journal, "Cameron Lancaster is reportedly headed back to Louisville City FC on loan from Nashville," 5 Feb. 2020 The running back, Le'Veon Bell, would sign with the Spartans and run for 3,346 yards with 34 touchdowns across three seasons, and then blossom into one of the best players at his position in the NFL. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "Behind scenes, college football coaches share knowledge with rivals to help recruits find homes," 5 Feb. 2020 Freeman was set set to sign a track and field scholarship this week with Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, Horstkoetter said. Ken Miller, Anchorage Daily News, "2nd student dies after pickup truck plows into Oklahoma cross-country running team," 4 Feb. 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

24 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sign.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 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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