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 The strong style evokes classic signet rings, also known as gentleman’s rings, which were historically engraved with a family crest or monogram. Jill Newman, WSJ, "Tiffany Diamond Engagement Rings: Now for Grooms, Too," 29 Apr. 2021 The new trend began with relatively tame signet rings, then graduated to something in the neighborhood of a high school class ring. Los Angeles Times, "Beneath the bling: Lakers championship rings feature many special surprises," 15 Jan. 2021 My signet rings that my mom and dad got me for my 21st birthday are also some of my favorites. Barry Samaha, Harper's BAZAAR, "Adwoa Aboah on Designing Jewels and Taking a Stand for Social Justice," 15 Jan. 2021 Right now, thousands of retailers are majorly marking down their items for the biggest sale day of the year — many of which offer deals on jewelry, from chain necklaces and signet rings to colorful baubles. Eliza Huber,, "23 Black Friday Jewelry Sales To Liven Up Your Zoom Look," 27 Nov. 2020 Ahsoka slowly walks to her and throws down Mando’s signet and demands to know where the Magistrate’s master is. Lauren Morgan,, "The Mandalorian recap: Mando meets a Jedi legend — and learns Baby Yoda's name," 27 Nov. 2020 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

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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Learn More about signet

Time Traveler for signet

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for signet

Last Updated

5 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Signet.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on signet

Nglish: Translation of signet for Spanish Speakers

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

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