sig·​na·​ture | \ ˈsig-nə-ˌchu̇r How to pronounce signature (audio) , -chər, -ˌtyu̇r, -ˌtu̇r\

Definition of signature

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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



Definition of signature (Entry 2 of 2)

: closely and distinctively associated and identified with someone or something a musician's signature style a chef's signature dish Pomegranate martinis made with pomegranate juice, vodka and a splash of grapefruit are becoming the hipster drink of choice, and the pomegranate margarita is the signature cocktail at Rosa Mexicano in New York City.— Lisa McLaughlin

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Synonyms for signature

Synonyms: Noun

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: Noun

Campaigns have 60 days to collect signatures equal to 25% of the number of ballots cast in the last election for that office. Anna Staver, The Denver Post, "After failed recall attempts, Colorado’s GOP is searching for its next move," 14 Sep. 2019 To qualify for the primary, Moore had to collect more than 2,000 signatures — five percent of the 47,000 enrolled Democrats in the city. Mark Pazniokas,, "Moore not conceding to Ganim without reviewing options after Bridgeport primary loss," 11 Sep. 2019 Who can keep from tearing up when the series unfolds the story behind one of Parton’s signature songs? Jeanne Jakle,, "Love and loss at the heart of Ken Burns’ ‘Country Music’," 10 Sep. 2019 The station started a petition drive and quickly collected more than 60,000 signatures; eventually, more than 73,000 people would sign it. Chris Foran, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The first time the Who played the Milwaukee area, it took a radio DJ's stunt to get them here," 5 Sep. 2019 Our petition garnered nearly 100,000 signatures worldwide on, and the media jumped on board: BBC, CNN, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal. Kathryn Bertine, Outside Online, "It's Time for Pro Cycling to Treat Women Equally," 22 Aug. 2019 Things changed this summer after LAV launched an online petition, addressed to Grillo, that attracted nearly 350,000 signatures. Alison Abbott, Science | AAAS, "Italian blindness researchers planning monkey studies threatened after health ministry releases names," 21 Aug. 2019 No wonder a petition to name him Time’s Person of the Year currently has more than 150,000 signatures. Aja Romano, Vox, "Keanu Reeves, explained," 16 Aug. 2019 Utah Layton: State Republican leaders refused Saturday to erase a bylaw to deny ballot spots for candidates who collect voter signatures instead of winning approval from the party’s caucus-convention system. USA TODAY, "Fugitive pig, proverb library, sodium warnings: News from around our 50 states," 16 Sep. 2019

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


1929, in the meaning defined above

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

18 Oct 2019

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

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person's name written in that person's handwriting
formal : the act of signing something
: something (such as a quality or feature) that is closely associated with someone or something



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

: closely associated with someone or something : making a person or thing easy to recognize


sig·​na·​ture | \ ˈsig-nə-ˌchu̇r How to pronounce signature (audio) , -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 How to pronounce signature (audio) \

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).


to fake an opponent out of position

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