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

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Examples of signature in a Sentence

Noun 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 The petition also contends there are technical problems with the arrest and charging documents, alleging a missing signature and that the Kenosha County district attorney’s office didn’t show that a prosecutor swore to the facts before a magistrate. Dan Hinkel,, "Kyle Rittenhouse’s lawyers argue he shouldn’t be sent back to Wisconsin because he’d face danger in adult jail," 8 Oct. 2020 Bloomsdale is this creamery’s flagship cheese, a multiple award-winner inspired by a very old, very celebrated, very French cheese called Valencay, which has a signature, pyramid-like shape. Amy Drew Thompson,, "Trick or treat, smells like feet: Moldy cheese is good to eat!," 8 Oct. 2020 In South Carolina, for instance, the state courts determined that a witness signature was not necessary to validate a ballot, only to have that decision overturned earlier this week by the Supreme Court. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "North Carolina’s Labyrinthine Voting Nightmare," 8 Oct. 2020 Lithium gives a sharper view of where a neutrino signature appeared. Sarah Scoles, Wired, "Neutrino Detectors Could Be Used to Spot Nuclear Rogues," 6 Oct. 2020 The high court made one concession, saying those ballots already sent in without a witness signature should be counted. Robert Barnes, Anchorage Daily News, "Supreme Court orders reinstatement of witness requirement for mail-in ballots in South Carolina," 6 Oct. 2020 In addition to extra processing time, the bill allows for extra work shifts to count absentee ballots and requires clerks to follow up with voters if a signature is not included on a ballot. Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press, "Whitmer to sign bill buying clerks more time to process absentee ballots before election," 6 Oct. 2020 In a statement issued by the South Carolina Election Commission Tuesday, the commission reiterated that ballots received through Wednesday, October 7 will be accepted without a witness signature. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "Pence and Harris camps still negotiating venue measures ahead of debate," 6 Oct. 2020 For example, voting by mail without requiring a signature that matches the original registration card means there is no proof that the correct ballot was sent to the voter. Trey Trainor, National Review, "Vote by Mail: The Unintended Consequences," 5 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for signature

Time Traveler

The first known use of signature was in 1547

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Statistics for signature

Last Updated

15 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Signature.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for signature


How to pronounce signature (audio)

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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