sig·​na·​ture | \ˈsig-nə-ˌchu̇r, -chər, -ˌtyu̇r, -ˌtu̇r\

Definition of signature 

1a : the act of signing one's name to something

b : the name of a person written with his or her own hand

2 : a feature in the appearance or qualities of a natural object formerly held to indicate its utility in medicine

3a : a letter or figure placed usually at the bottom of the first page on each sheet of printed pages (as of a book) as a direction to the binder in arranging and gathering the sheets

b : one unit of a book comprising a group of printed sheets that are folded and stitched together

5 : the part of a medical prescription that contains the directions to the patient

6 : something (such as a tune, style, or logo) that serves to set apart or identify also : a characteristic mark

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Synonyms for signature


autograph, hand, John Hancock

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Examples of signature in a Sentence

There is a place for your signature at the bottom of the form. If we can collect 200,000 signatures on our petition, then our candidate will be included on the ballot. We presented the document to the president for her signature. The bill passed and went to the governor for signature a week ago.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The researchers developing that attack ran a program calculating cryptographic signatures using the Curve 25519 EdDSA algorithm implemented in libgcrypt on one logical core and their attack program on the other logical core. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Intel CPUs fall to new hyperthreading exploit that pilfers crypto keys," 2 Nov. 2018 As the show prepares for its 2019 series finale, one of the OITNB cast members is bidding farewell to a signature part of her character, and underwent a major beauty transformation. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Danielle Brooks of “Orange Is the New Black” Debuted a New Haircut on Instagram," 30 Oct. 2018 Prey leave a chemical signature in the predators that consume them. Carl Zimmer, The Seattle Times, "In the sea, a big appetite for jellyfish," 26 Oct. 2018 The hairstyle is both casual and elegant at the same time—a Markle signature. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle's New Half-Up Hairstyle Is So Pretty," 19 Oct. 2018 Susan Trask appeared with her two daughters at at a recent Crown Point City Council meeting and presented a petition with 280 signatures asking that residents be allowed to own up to four hens on lots less than five acres. Michelle L. Quinn, Post-Tribune, "Crown Point woman asks city council to consider letting her keep chickens 'for food, educational purposes'," 13 July 2018 Instagram comic Shiggy kicked things off with #DoTheShiggy, hitting the now-signature dance moves last month (June 29), and a plethora of celebrities have since followed suit. Michael Saponara, Billboard, "6ix9ine, Trippie Redd, N.O.R.E., Lil Jon & More Join Drake's 'In My Feelings' Challenge," 12 July 2018 Registrars cannot accept an emailed in registration card, as the law requires a hard signature. Courant Community, "Community News For The Windsor Edition," 10 July 2018 In carving both blocks, identical patches were deeply cut into the figure, his garment and the little plant in the lower right — strategically placed next to the artist’s signature, calling attention to it. Christopher Knight,, "Out of the shadows and into the light: 'Chiaroscuro Woodcut' is a sleeper hit at LACMA," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'signature.' 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 signature

1547, in the meaning defined at sense 3b

History and Etymology for signature

Middle French or Medieval Latin; Middle French, from Medieval Latin signatura, from Latin signatus, past participle of signare to sign, seal

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Statistics for signature

Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for signature

The first known use of signature was in 1547

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More Definitions for signature



English Language Learners Definition of signature

: a person's name written in that person's handwriting

: the act of signing something

: something (such as a quality or feature) that is closely associated with someone or something


sig·​na·​ture | \ˈsig-nə-ˌchu̇r, -chər\

Kids Definition of signature

1 : the name of a person written by that person Your signature is required on the form.

2 : a sign or group of signs placed at the beginning of a staff in music to show the key ( key signature ) or the meter ( time signature )


sig·​na·​ture | \ˈsig-nə-ˌchu̇(ə)r, -chər, -ˌt(y)u̇(ə)r \

Medical Definition of signature 

1 : a feature in the appearance or qualities of a natural object formerly held to indicate its utility in medicine either because of a fancied resemblance to a body part (as a heart-shaped leaf indicating utility in heart disease) or because of a presumed relation to some phase of a disease (as the prickly nature of thistle indicating utility in case of a stitch in the side)

2 : the part of a medical prescription which contains the directions to the patient

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Legal Definition of signature 

1a : the act of signing one's name or of making a mark in lieu thereof

b : the name of a person written with his or her own hand to signify that the writing which precedes accords with his or her wishes or intentions

c : a mark (as initials, stamp, or printed name) made on a document and intended to serve as an indication of the party's execution or authentication of the document and intent to be bound by it — see also private signature

2 : a distinguishing or identifying mark, feature, or quality especially : a distinctive method of committing a crime that is characteristic of an offender

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Comments on signature

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


by force of circumstances

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