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sig·​net ˈsig-nət How to pronounce signet (audio)
: a seal used officially to give personal authority to a document in lieu of signature
: the impression made by or as if by a signet
: a small intaglio seal (as in a finger ring)


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signeted; signeting; signets

transitive verb

: to stamp or authenticate with a signet

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 reigning 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
Is this scene with Liam a hint that Violet’s potential second signet has something to do with a connection to the dead? Jennifer Maas, Variety, 8 Nov. 2023 Cool takes on men’s signet, chain and surfer-y rings are plentiful now, but finding the right one can be surprisingly tricky. Joshua Glass, WSJ, 7 Sep. 2023 The signet style is similar to gypsy-set rings, which have recently become popular among women looking for a practical and discreet diamond-ring style. Jill Newman, WSJ, 29 Apr. 2021 Celebrities like Meghan Markle and Bella Hadid have sported the jewelry item, opting for eternity and signet versions. Frances Solá-Santiago,, 9 Mar. 2023 Maria Black’s rock signet is a dream ring for anyone with a deep passion or appreciation for Earth’s elements. Natalie Alcala, The Hollywood Reporter, 28 Apr. 2023 According to Simons, jewelry lovers of all ages are again leaning toward classic, timeless pieces, like gold signet rings and one-of-a-kind heirlooms. Mariah Thomas, Good Housekeeping, 3 Feb. 2023 Inspired by Inger Christensen’s short poems, the new collection is a series of simple letter rings, necklaces, and stud earrings inspired by signet rings. Sarah Spellings, Vogue, 31 Jan. 2023 The Tom Wood Project is one of Quint’s favorite brands, which gained recognition from its modern interpretation of signet rings. Gaby Keiderling, Harper's BAZAAR, 30 Dec. 2022
From statement pieces to signet, these are the coolest rings for men that my fashion editor and I have reviewed. Joseph Deacetis, Forbes, 27 Jan. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'signet.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near signet

Cite this Entry

“Signet.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

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