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 Instead, the teacher leads a morning class cheer using sign language, so students avoid yelling or singing, reducing the chance of coronavirus spread. Jill Tucker, SFChronicle.com, "How will Bay Area classrooms work in the fall? Teachers imagine the future of school," 2 July 2020 The glove does not translate British Sign Language, the other dominant sign language in the English-speaking world, which is used by about 151,000 adults in the UK, according to the British Deaf Association. Rob Picheta, CNN, "This new high-tech glove translates sign language into speech in real time," 30 June 2020 The group took a flat route and offered sign language interpreters and rest stops with medics and supplies. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bucks player Sterling Brown, tased and arrested by Milwaukee police in 2018 over a parking violation, leads social justice march," 7 June 2020 Now, an Oakland company that provides sign language interpreters nationwide, speaking in ASL through an interpreter. Carolyn Said, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Area deaf, hard of hearing say face masks cut off communication," 4 June 2020 Almost all the mourners inside, aside from musicians and the sign language interpreter, wore masks. NBC News, "George Floyd memorial: Loved ones say goodbye to man whose death ignited national conversation on racism," 4 June 2020 Like a lot of government hospitals in India, Bapat’s facility is only partially accessible, which means that the most basic things like lifts are rare, and tactile floors, Braille signage and sign language interpreters are completely absent. Priti Salian, Quartz India, "Differently abled Indian healthcare workers fight a lonely battle against Covid-19," 8 May 2020 So now her father is teaching her son sign language once a week on a video chat. Jamie Kiffel-alcheh, National Geographic, "How to foster relationships between kids and grandparents (and great-grandparents!)," 7 May 2020 Dear @WhiteHouse news & press conferences around the country during this Corona Virus Emergency have sign language interpreters standing next to the speakers, providing ACCESS for millions of deaf Americans. refinery29.com, "Deaf & Hard Of Hearing Advocates Petition To Include An ASL Interpreter In White House Briefings," 23 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for sign language

Time Traveler

The first known use of sign language was in 1824

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Statistics for sign language

Last Updated

6 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sign language.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sign%20language. Accessed 6 Jul. 2020.

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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

: 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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