sign language

noun

Definition of sign language

1 : any of various formal languages employing a system of hand gestures and their placement relative to the upper body, facial expressions, body postures, and finger spelling especially for communication by and with deaf people But true sign languages are in fact complete in themselves: their syntax, grammar, and semantics are complete, but they have a different character from that of any spoken or written language.— Oliver Sacks Sign language relies mainly on the signer's hand, but facial expressions and body movements are also important.— Mark Prigg
2 : an unsystematic method of communicating chiefly by manual gestures (as by people speaking different languages) I decided to cadge a lift from a Lebanese who only spoke Arabic, so we had to converse in sign language.— Robert Fox

Examples of sign language in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The book’s focus is Charlie, a teenage girl with minimal hearing whose parents opted for cochlear implants instead of teaching her sign language. Stuart Miller, Los Angeles Times, 29 Mar. 2022 Washoe ultimately learned some 200 words, becoming what researchers said was the first nonhuman to communicate using sign language developed for the deaf. BostonGlobe.com, 12 Oct. 2021 Blunt, Simmonds and Jupe are all once again terrific in their roles, using sign language and their expressive, empathetic faces to brilliantly convey terror, love and pain. Lindsey Bahr, Star Tribune, 18 May 2021 Among the activities: SignTime, which links customers with on-demand sign language interpreters, is launching in Canada on Thursday. Steven Aquino, Forbes, 17 May 2022 As part of the agreement, Connecticut Hospital Association contracted with sign language interpreters on behalf of all the hospitals. Jodie Mozdzer Gil, Hartford Courant, 15 Apr. 2022 Both services will feature sign language interpreters for hearing impaired guests. Shelia Poole, ajc, 23 Mar. 2022 Players and coaches all use sign language to communicate during games. Eric Sondheimer Columnist, Los Angeles Times, 26 Nov. 2021 Some believe Redmond even taught Chaplin, famous as a pantomime, how to use sign language. New York Times, 8 Apr. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of sign language

1824, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for sign language

Time Traveler

The first known use of sign language was in 1824

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Dictionary Entries Near sign language

signist

sign language

signless

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Statistics for sign language

Last Updated

19 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sign language.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sign%20language. Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for sign language

sign language

noun

Kids Definition of sign language

: a system of hand movements used for communication (as by people who are deaf)

sign language

noun

Medical Definition of sign language

: any of various formal languages employing a system of hand gestures and their placement relative to the upper body, facial expressions, body postures, and finger spelling especially for communication by and with deaf people

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