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 company has since transformed into DPAN.TV, an online channel offering news and features programming in sign language. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, "Deaf Detroit rapper set to make chart history, debuting amid Eminem, Royce da 5'9"," 28 Feb. 2020 The ram named in honor of Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and one of the ewe's named after the governor's sign language interpreter and fan favorite Virginia Moore. Dominique Yates, The Courier-Journal, "Meet Kentucky's cutest new additions: Baashear the ram and Virginia the lamb," 23 Apr. 2020 But learning how to communicate through sign language is an important step in making the world a friendlier place for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "It's the International Day of Sign Languages! Here are some simple signs you should know," 23 Sep. 2019 The younger kids were going to play math video games and Da’vontae is learning sign language by watching online videos the teacher sends. Ashley Mcbride, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio homes are now classrooms as coronavirus shuts schools," 26 Mar. 2020 Niemiller also joked about a restaurant staffer who used sign language to thank him at the end of a drive-through transaction. David Lindquist, Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis comedian Ryan Niemiller makes Top 36 of 'America's Got Talent'," 24 July 2019 The party has also recruited translators and has a caucus site for deaf Iowans who want to caucus in sign language, too. NBC News, "Iowa mosques make history," 4 Feb. 2020 David is mainly nonverbal but knows some sign language and uses picture exchange communication (PEC) as well. BostonGlobe.com, "David has mastered many skills," 13 July 2019 The production features vocals sung in a variety of languages including some choreographed to sign language. Richard Tribou, orlandosentinel.com, "What makes new cruise ship Sky Princess unique?," 9 Dec. 2019

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

13 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sign language.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sign%20language. Accessed 7 Jun. 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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