sign language

noun

Definition of sign language 

1 : a formal language employing a system of hand gestures for communication (as by the deaf)

2 : an unsystematic method of communicating chiefly by manual gestures used by people speaking different languages

Examples of sign language in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Koko the gorilla signs off The beloved gorilla Koko, famous for being fluent in sign language, died in her sleep Tuesday at age 46. USA TODAY, "Does Melania Trump really care about the children? Her jacket says no.," 21 June 2018 Then came the backlash, from linguists and experts in sign languages. The Economist, "What Koko the gorilla could and couldn’t do," 5 July 2018 Junior, who communicates with tactile sign language, said of the video and its wide viewership. Sarah Dilorenzo, The Seattle Times, "Brazil fan who is deaf, blind follows World Cup with help," 2 July 2018 Koko, the gorilla whose apparent aptitude for sign language endeared her to fans around the world, died in her sleep on Tuesday morning, according to the Gorilla Foundation, which oversaw her care. Niraj Chokshi, BostonGlobe.com, "Koko the Gorilla, famous for using sign language, dies at 46," 22 June 2018 Image Koko, the gorilla whose apparent aptitude for sign language endeared her to fans around the world, died in her sleep on Tuesday morning in California, according to the Gorilla Foundation, which oversaw her care. Niraj Chokshi, New York Times, "Koko the Gorilla, Who Used Sign Language and Befriended Mr. Rogers, Dies at 46," 21 June 2018 Witschey has trained the deaf dogs to respond to sign language. Jennifer Conn, Akron Reporter, cleveland.com, "Akron Children's Hospital recognizes Doggie Brigade volunteer for distinguished service," 7 Feb. 2018 Blind and deaf, there was no way for Cook — who lives in Portland, Oregon — to relay his needs other than using sign language. Cathy Free, PEOPLE.com, "Teen Uses Sign Language to Help Deaf & Blind Man on Flight: The 'Best Trip I've Ever Had,' He Says," 27 June 2018 Earlier this week, Koko — a western lowland gorilla who achieved international fame after mastering sign language — died at the age of 46. Gabriella Paiella, The Cut, "Koko the Gorilla’s Most Iconic Moments," 22 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of sign language

1824, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near sign language

sign in

sign into law

signist

sign language

signless

signman

sign manual

Statistics for sign language

Last Updated

17 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sign language

The first known use of sign language was in 1824

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More Definitions for sign language

sign language

noun

English Language Learners Definition of sign language

: a system of hand movements used for communication especially by people who are deaf

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 

: a formal language employing a system of hand gestures for communication (as by the deaf) — compare finger spelling

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