\ 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 Many had looked forward to the reopening of the Sturgis plant a couple weeks ago as a sign that supplies might soon be replenished. Lisa Schencker, Chicago Tribune, 16 June 2022 Yet, Obama pointed to bipartisan efforts in the Senate to enact federal overhauls around gun ownership and safety as a hopeful sign of showing democracy at work, especially over the course of several years. Donna M. Owens, NBC News, 15 June 2022 Many on Wall Street took the new insight as a positive sign. Georg Szalai, The Hollywood Reporter, 15 June 2022 Inflation in the eurozone is running at 8.1% with no sign of slowing, but give the European Central Bank credit for obstinacy. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 9 June 2022 New Orleans home, MidCity moved across the country and reopened as a food cart parked at 1015 S.E. Stark St., with Aldridge often spotted standing out front advertising his $5 cheeseburgers with a cardboard sign. oregonlive, 3 June 2022 An urn attached to the stone was filled with red and yellow flowers, then topped with a small Crayola Crayon sign. Krista Johnson, The Courier-Journal, 1 June 2022 Stormy Flores, 11, sat with a sign bearing the names of the Robb Elementary School shooting victims during a prayer vigil in Uvalde, Texas, on Wednesday. Globe Staff,, 27 May 2022 Wattenberg tweeted, with a photo of herself with a Frumin yard sign. Julie Zauzmer Weil, Washington Post, 23 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The questionnaire also provides the opportunity for candidates to sign a certificate pledging their support for the governor’s priorities. Ryan Dailey, Orlando Sentinel, 17 June 2022 In the film’s tense second act, they’re forced to sign confessions and inform on one another, a microcosm of the corrosive effect the political system under Ceaușescu was having on Romanian citizenry. Christopher Vourlias, Variety, 15 June 2022 Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report reported Tuesday that the 27-year-old is expected to re-sign with the Bulls once free agency opens on June 30. Jason Patt, Forbes, 15 June 2022 President Joe Biden is expected to sign an executive order Wednesday authorizing new programs supporting the LGBT+ community, which has contended with a spate of anti-LGBT laws in several states in recent months. Orlando Mayorquin, USA TODAY, 15 June 2022 But the expectation that a VC will participate in a round or sign a term sheet shouldn’t arise until the formal process kicks off. Mike Ghaffary, Fortune, 15 June 2022 Bill Humphrey, who serves as Ward 5′s councilor, was the only city councilor who did not sign the letter. John Hilliard,, 15 June 2022 Hours prompted Nissan to sign Ordóñez to its works racing team, and from 2010 to 2016, the program minted another 21 winners, some of whom have gone on to win prestigious races like the 2015 Bathurst 12 Hours in Australia. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, 15 June 2022 President Xi had been expected in Saudi last month to sign a significant missile defense agreement, potentially filling a vacuum left by the US, though the trip has not happened yet. Nic Robertson, CNN, 15 June 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

18 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sign.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jun. 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

Great Words for Scrabble

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
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!