\ 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

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Other Words from sign


signee \ ˌsī-​ˈnē How to pronounce signee (audio) \ noun
signer \ ˈsī-​nər How to pronounce signer (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for sign

Synonyms: Noun

gesticulation, gesture, mime, pantomime, signal

Synonyms: Verb

autograph, ink, subscribe

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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


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.


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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Donald Cline and Brittany Smith conducted special readings, while Ayanna Davis and Travis Vance hung blue bows in places of honor on the outdoor sign. Lisa Davis/share,, "Clermont Board of Developmental Disabilities celebrates law enforcement," 13 June 2019 The decision appears to be based, at least in part, on new signs of cooperation from the Justice Department, which on Monday agreed to begin sharing key evidence collected in Mueller’s obstruction of justice investigation. Nicholas Fandos,, "House approves court action to enforce Democrats’ subpoenas," 11 June 2019 And that was the case Friday: France exhibited no sign of letting up, and South Korea looked out-matched from the start. Ashley Scoby, Pro Soccer USA, "France delights sellout crowd in Paris with 4-0 win over South Korea in World Cup opener," 9 June 2019 The conflict in Libya shows no sign of resolution, only increasing the need for departures. Natasha Frost, Quartz, "Only one aid group’s rescue boat remains in the Mediterranean Sea to help shipwrecked refugees," 9 June 2019 On a visit inside Walmart headquarters this week, Aldi was one of the brands listed on a sign about where budget-conscious customers shop, along with Walmart, Family Dollar and Dollar General. Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN, "Aldi moves into Walmart's backyard," 8 June 2019 The couple is still paying maintenance fees on that contract with no sign of anything being resolved. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "Exiting a timeshare could be another route to a rip-off, BBB says," 7 June 2019 Kusodawadha Sanag Coffee sports a Somalian flag on its sign. Maggie Menderski, The Courier-Journal, "A Day in the Neighborhood: Iroquois is an international smorgasbord of community," 6 June 2019 But the proposal to memorialize Pak at the station was about more than simply sticking the name of a beloved San Francisco character on a sign. Rachel Swan,, "Controversial plan to name SF subway stop after Chinatown activist stalls," 4 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Bears on Friday announced David Montgomery signed a four-year rookie contract. Chicago Tribune Staff,, "Bears sign top draft pick David Montgomery to 4-year rookie contract," 14 June 2019 Walker would sign a maximum contract of four years, $140.6 million with another team this offseason. Alaa Abdeldaiem,, "NBA Rumors: Kemba Walker Would Take Less Than Supermax Contract to Help Hornets," 13 June 2019 The Lions signed James to a four-year, $28.5 million contract in March and made Hockenson the No. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Lions trade TE Michael Roberts to Patriots for future draft pick," 13 June 2019 The utility, known as SCE for short, signed a 20-month contract with North Wind, Inc., a firm based in Idaho with experience in nuclear facility operations and management. Rob Nikolewski, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Edison lines up consultant to find a plan to get nuclear waste out of San Onofre," 13 June 2019 The former Lee-Huntsville and Wallace State standout signed a $43 million contract with the Cubs on Friday. Mark Inabinett |,, "Tim Anderson, Josh Donaldson contending for starting spots at MLB All-Star Game," 12 June 2019 Participants sign a contract with both the ISL and their teams, and revenue will be split equally between the league and swimmers. Jeff Metcalfe, azcentral, "Ledecky, Coughlin among headliners in new International Swimming League," 11 June 2019 Keoni Cavaco had a busy day Tuesday, signing his first professional contract, touring Target Field, doing the media rounds and meeting with many of the current Twins. Betsy Helfand, Twin Cities, "Twins sign first-round draft pick Keoni Cavaco," 11 June 2019 Murphy was picked 14th overall in the 2001 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors and signed a $1.3 million contract. Dana Hunsinger Benbow, Indianapolis Star, "Ex-Pacer Troy Murphy living on Vegas strip helping the suddenly rich and not making a dime," 10 June 2019

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.

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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

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Learn More about sign

Statistics for sign

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sign

The first known use of sign was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for sign



English Language Learners Definition of sign

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a piece of paper, wood, etc., with words or pictures on it that gives information about something
: something (such as an action or event) which shows that something else exists, is true, or will happen
: a motion, action, or movement that you use to express a thought, command, or wish



English Language Learners Definition of sign (Entry 2 of 2)

: to write (your name) on something
: to write your name on (something) especially to show that you accept, agree with, or will be responsible for something
: to hire (someone) to do something especially by having that person sign a contract


\ 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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on sign

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sign

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sign

Spanish Central: Translation of sign

Nglish: Translation of sign for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sign for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about sign

Comments on sign

What made you want to look up sign? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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