sig·​net | \ ˈsig-nət How to pronounce signet (audio) \

Definition of signet

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a seal used officially to give personal authority to a document in lieu of signature
2 : the impression made by or as if by a signet
3 : a small intaglio seal (as in a finger ring)


signeted; signeting; signets

Definition of signet (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to stamp or authenticate with a signet

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Did You Know?

Signets have been used for thousands of years. The design of a signet is personalized for its owner, and no two are alike. The ancients used signets to mark their possessions and to sign contracts. In later years signets were used to stamp a blob of hot wax sealing a folded secret document so that it couldn't be opened and read without the design being broken. The Pope still wears a signet, called the Fisherman's Ring, which is carved with a figure of St. Peter encircled with the Pope's name; after a Pope's death, the ring is destroyed and a new one is made.

Examples of signet in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Her fingers are adorned with a Haati Chai signet engraved with her son’s initials, her engagement ring, and a smattering of other modern pieces, which, when worn in concert, pay homage to her mother’s more-is-more digit style. Vogue, "This Jewelry Designer’s Skin Is as Brilliant as Her Gold Earrings," 10 Sep. 2018 David Yurman’s always been a fan of the pinkie ring and today the brand just added to their line with ceramic signet-style rings. Sarah Nechamkin, The Cut, "David Yurman Is Making Bright, Cheerful Pinkie Rings," 11 July 2018 At the opening night of the theater production Head Over Heels on Wednesday Paltrow was photographed wearing a signet-style ring that features Falchuck's initials. Alex Warner, Marie Claire, "Gwyneth Paltrow May Have Just Confirmed Her Secret Marriage to Brad Falchuck," 19 Apr. 2018 The brunette ex-assistant appears strikingly Kim-esque in front of the camera—confidently posing in statement hoop earrings, lariat necklaces and signet-style rings from the label's latest launch. Megan Decker, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kim Kardashian’s Ex-Assistant Just Landed A Major Modeling Gig," 16 Mar. 2018 Yurman's version is a little less pretentious than a signet crest, and instead pure couture carnival fun. Micaela English, Town & Country, "David Yurman Now Makes Jewelry That Smells Like Cotton Candy," 24 Aug. 2015 Up close, the polished wood betrays marks from Churchill’s nails and signet ring. Jackie Mansky, Smithsonian, "Go Behind the Glass of Churchill’s Underground War Rooms," 22 Aug. 2017 In 2012, he was diagnosed with a form of cancer called signet ring cell adenocarcinoma, which was based in his abdominal area. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee police veteran dies after battle with rare cancer," 15 Aug. 2017 Inspired by the classic signet ring, this comes in sizes 9 and 11. Lindsay Peoples, The Cut, "Finally, Someone Understands That Jewelry Should Come in Extended Sizes Too," 10 July 2017

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for signet


Middle English small seal, signet ring, from Anglo-French, diminutive of signe sign, seal

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Time Traveler for signet

Time Traveler

The first known use of signet was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Signet.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 12 December 2019.

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More from Merriam-Webster on signet

Spanish Central: Translation of signet

Nglish: Translation of signet for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of signet for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about signet

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a period of high artistic development

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