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

Four of those campaigns failed to gather enough signatures, one recall target resigned for unrelated reasons, and the attempt to remove Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, is ongoing. The Denver Post, "Post Premium: Our best stories for the week of Sept. 9-15," 15 Sep. 2019 In order for the measure to come before voters in 2020, Alaskans for Better Elections must gather 28,501 signatures before the start of next year’s legislative session, and the judiciary must rule the ballot measure legal. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, "Judge says signature-gathering can begin for ranked-choice ballot measure," 12 Sep. 2019 He and an alternative slate announced the challenge days before the committee voted and within days of Bartolotta’s nomination, Thazhampallath and Florsheim also collected enough signatures to challenge her. Kathleen Mcwilliams,, "Ben Florsheim wins Middletown Democratic primary for mayor," 11 Sep. 2019 The group has to collect 265,774 signatures of registered Ohio voters to put the energy proposal before voters in 2020. Jessie Balmert,, "Man says he was shoved while collecting signatures to overturn Ohio nuclear bailout," 11 Sep. 2019 Trouble in Colombia also complicates the administration’s signature policy effort in Latin America: removing Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro from office. Los Angeles Times, "Guerrillas’ return to arms in Colombia complicates U.S. policy in Latin America," 4 Sep. 2019 Infrastructure improvement has been Widodo's signature policy and helped him win a second term in April elections. NBC News, "Indonesia to move capital from sinking Jakarta to Borneo," 27 Aug. 2019 Described by colleagues as humble despite his pedigree, the Newton Democrat kept his head down during his first two terms, eager to build credibility through a handful of signature policy issues, allies say. Victoria Mcgrane,, "Joe Kennedy kept his head down for his first couple terms in Congress. Then Trump became president," 25 Aug. 2019 For Warren, whose claims to Native American ancestry have inspired mockery from President Trump and some controversy in the headlines, the forum offered an occasion to refocus attention on her signature policy agendas. Eren Orbey, The New Yorker, "In Iowa, Democrats Court the Long-Overlooked Native American Vote," 21 Aug. 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

20 Sep 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).


miscellaneous remnants or debris

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