\ ˈsīn How to pronounce sign (audio) \

Definition of sign

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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


signed; signing; signs

Definition of sign (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

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

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Other Words from sign


signee \ ˌsī-​ˈnē How to pronounce sign (audio) \ noun
signer \ ˈsī-​nər How to pronounce sign (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for sign

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of sign in a Sentence

Noun The sign in the store window says “OPEN.” After you get off the highway, follow the signs for Route 25. He ran the stop sign. There was a “For Sale” sign on the car. All the signs point to him as the guilty party. She ignored me, which was a sure sign that she was mad at me. “The company called me in for a second interview.” “That's a good sign.” It was a bad sign that he couldn't walk on the injured leg. There are plenty of warning signs that the company is in danger of bankruptcy. They bowed before the king as a sign of respect. Verb Sign your name on the bottom line. She met with fans and signed autographs. Please sign at the bottom of the application. You forgot to sign the document. He was forced to sign the confession. The contract was signed by both parties. The author will be signing copies of his books today. The contract should be signed, sealed, and delivered by tomorrow. The team signed the pitcher to a three-year contract. He is signed to a three-year contract.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun His swagger this training camp is a good sign for the Detroit Red Wings, who need their top pick in the 2018 draft to help bolster the rebuild. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Here's what Detroit Red Wings' Filip Zadina may have unlocked while playing in Europe," 4 Jan. 2021 If someone loses their sense of smell that is a good sign of a possible Covid-19 infection. John E. Hayes And Cara Exten, CNN, "At-home DIY smell tests could catch Covid-19 cases," 24 Dec. 2020 Dan Labbe wrote about why Peoples-Jones’ development is a good sign for how the Browns’ coaching staff has done. Tim Bielik, cleveland, "5 Christmas presents for the 2020 Browns including Baker Mayfield and the Haslams: This Week in the Cleveland Browns," 21 Dec. 2020 This is actually a good sign that your body is mounting an immune response to the proteins created from the mRNA in the vaccine. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "What reactions can I expect? And other COVID-19 vaccine questions answered by Wisconsin health experts," 11 Dec. 2020 But the fact the two sides are still negotiating is a good sign, the markets reckon. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "Investors turn bullish on vaccine hopes, IPO mania, and stimulus talks," 9 Dec. 2020 However, Scott’s elongated telomeres during his time in space isn’t a good sign either. Shi En Kim, Science, "To study aging, scientists are looking to outer space," 2 Dec. 2020 Mark-Anthony Richards stepped up in the second half, which was a good sign for Auburn’s bench. Giana Han, al, "Grading Auburn’s 42-13 Iron Bowl loss," 29 Nov. 2020 If Chatard is over 200 rushing yards, that will be a good sign. Kyle Neddenriep, The Indianapolis Star, "Class 3A state finals: Newcomer Danville meets 14-time state champion Bishop Chatard," 28 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Yet Avila isn't ready to sign anyone to a long-term contract. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers sign Jose Urena, but their short-term pitching plan hasn't worked recently," 5 Jan. 2021 By nightfall, vandals tore down a Black Lives Matter banner and sign from two historic Black churches in downtown Washington and set the banner ablaze. oregonlive, "Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio arrested, accused of burning church banner," 5 Jan. 2021 Anchorage resident Josh Holland on Monday drove to Kriner’s to sign the petition. Emily Goodykoontz, Anchorage Daily News, "Group trying to recall Anchorage Assembly member Felix Rivera says it has collected enough signatures for a vote," 5 Jan. 2021 State environmental officials declined to comment on whether Baker would sign the bill. David Abel,, "Massachusetts takes major steps in fight against climate change," 4 Jan. 2021 The second round of rescue payments approved by Congress last month explicitly excluded aid to local governments in order get Republicans to sign onto the deal. Jeff Adelson,, "LaToya Cantrell ends furloughs for police and fire but warns of possible layoffs in the future," 4 Jan. 2021 Luckily, in the episode’s most touching moment, bitchy hot girl Yasmine takes pity on him and finally decides to sign his cast. Brian Moylan, Vulture, "Cobra Kai Recap: Cool and the Fang," 3 Jan. 2021 Notably, the Republican senators from Georgia, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, opted not to sign the letter on the eve of their runoff elections Tuesday that will determine which party controls the Senate. al, "Senators fighting Biden win evoke precedent that gave birth to Jim Crow," 3 Jan. 2021 Then, after reportedly opposing the Jets’ decision to sign running back Le’Veon Bell in March 2019, Gase angered him by not deploying him to what Bell perceived was the best of his capabilities. New York Times, "Adam Gase, Hired to Spark Jets’ Offense, Is Out After Two Seasons," 3 Jan. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of sign


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for 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


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

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Time Traveler for sign

Time Traveler

The first known use of sign was in the 13th century

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Statistics for sign

Last Updated

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sign.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for sign


How to pronounce sign (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sign

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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



English Language Learners Definition of sign (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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


\ ˈsīn How to pronounce sign (audio) \

Kids Definition of sign

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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


signed; signing

Kids Definition of sign (Entry 2 of 2)

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.


\ ˈsīn How to pronounce sign (audio) \

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

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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

Other Words from sign

signer noun

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