1

sign

noun \ ˈsīn \
Updated on: 11 Dec 2017

Definition of sign

1 a : a motion or gesture by which a thought is expressed or a command or wish made known
b : signal 2a
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
4 a (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
5 a : 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
6 a : 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

Examples of sign in a Sentence

  1. The sign in the store window says “OPEN.”

  2. After you get off the highway, follow the signs for Route 25.

  3. He ran the stop sign.

  4. There was a “For Sale” sign on the car.

  5. All the signs point to him as the guilty party.

  6. She ignored me, which was a sure sign that she was mad at me.

  7. “The company called me in for a second interview.” “That's a good sign.”

  8. It was a bad sign that he couldn't walk on the injured leg.

  9. There are plenty of warning signs that the company is in danger of bankruptcy.

  10. They bowed before the king as a sign of respect.

Recent Examples of sign from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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

Synonym Discussion of 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

2

sign

verb

Definition of sign

transitive verb
1 a : cross 2
b : to place a sign on or mark by signs
  • sign a trail
c : to represent or indicate by a sign
2 a : 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
2 a : to make a sign or signal
b : to use sign language

signee

play \ˌsī-ˈnē\ noun

signer

play \ˈsī-nər\ noun

Examples of sign in a Sentence

  1. Sign your name on the bottom line.

  2. She met with fans and signed autographs.

  3. Please sign at the bottom of the application.

  4. You forgot to sign the document.

  5. He was forced to sign the confession.

  6. The contract was signed by both parties.

  7. The author will be signing copies of his books today.

  8. The contract should be signed, sealed, and delivered by tomorrow.

  9. The team signed the pitcher to a three-year contract.

  10. He is signed to a three-year contract.

Recent Examples of sign from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of sign

Middle English, from Anglo-French signer, from Latin signare to mark, sign, seal, from signum

sign Synonyms


SIGN Defined for English Language Learners

sign

noun

Definition of sign for English Language Learners

  • : 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


sign

verb

Definition of sign for English Language Learners

  • : 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


SIGN Defined for Kids

1

sign

noun \ ˈsīn \

Definition of sign for Students

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

Word Root of sign

The Latin word signum, meaning “mark” or “indication,” gives us the root sign. Words from the Latin signum have something to do with marks, signs, or indications. A sign is a move of the hand that indicates something to others. To designate is to mark someone or something for a special purpose. A signal is an indication that an action should begin.


2

sign

verb

Definition of sign for Students

signed; signing
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.

Medical Dictionary

sign

noun \ ˈsīn \

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

Law Dictionary

sign

transitive verb

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

signer

noun


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

allowing a liquid or gas to pass through

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu-jedi-training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!