\ 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
c : signboard
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 The ring was also a sign that a woman was spoken for, while her fiance’s ring finger would remain bare till their wedding day. Washington Post, "Tiffany’s created an engagement ring for men. And some guys are into it.," 11 May 2021 Perhaps having more morally gray choices is a sign that games better reflect our lives now. Simon Hill, Wired, "Why Is It So Hard to Be Evil in Video Games?," 11 May 2021 It is also believed to be the first to examine any effect of COVID-19 vaccines on placentas, which can indicate potential risks and be an early sign of issues. Alison Bowen,, "COVID-19 vaccines did not impact placentas during pregnancy, according to Northwestern study," 11 May 2021 Skeptics would argue that the recent rotation is simply a further sign of exuberance—hot money spilling from one market sector into another. Mike Bird, WSJ, "A Shift in Market Leadership Is Reassuring When Stocks Get Frothy," 10 May 2021 Shortly after the Astros lost in seven games to the Nationals, the sign-stealing scandal details was revealed. Larry Fleisher, Forbes, "Even With Limited Capacity, Lively Atmosphere For The Houston Astros And New York Yankees Resembles A Step Towards Normalcy," 7 May 2021 Baker knows that for any of his players involved in the 2017 sign-stealing scandal, anger and retaliation should be expected. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, "Giants, Dodgers on equal terms - who knew?," 7 May 2021 Fans don’t figure to be as bothered by the dark side, though, as by visiting Houston — this will be the Astros’ first visit to Yankee Stadium since their sign-stealing scheme was uncovered in 2019. Creg Stephenson |, al, "Yankees-Astros MLB 2021 live stream (5/4): How to watch online, TV info, time," 4 May 2021 In Houston’s first visit to the Bronx since their sign-stealing scam was exposed, an error by Astros third baseman Alex Bregman in the sixth inning let New York blow the game open., "Salty fans, hot Yankees greet Astros in return to Bronx," 4 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Parents or guardians must go with their child to the vaccine site and sign a consent form in person that attests the child is over 12 years old. Stephanie Innes, The Arizona Republic, "Arizona poised to begin vaccinating children ages 12 to 15 with Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, after CDC panel endorses," 12 May 2021 Governor Dan McKee is planning to sign the legislation next week., "Big changes in store for Rhode Island unemployment," 12 May 2021 Parents and guardians will be able to sign consent forms for students to receive the shot, so the adults don't have to be there in person. Sophie Carson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "11 things experts say will help the rest of Wisconsin get vaccinated," 12 May 2021 Only a few, including current Manchester United star, Bruno Fernandes, agreed to re-sign and stay at the club. Vasco Cotovio, CNN, "Sporting Lisbon's bittersweet title win after 19 years of hurt," 12 May 2021 Whitmer has line-item veto authority on budget bills, which means should could nix this provision of the DNR budget and still sign the broader measure into law. Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press, "Senate GOP threatens money for DNR salaries, ties it to fate of Line 5 legal battle," 12 May 2021 The pipe shutdown yesterday prompted North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper to sign an executive order declaring a state of emergency in North Carolina. William Thornton |, al, "Colonial Pipeline shutdown: Gas prices, shortages, when will service be restored?," 11 May 2021 The new law extends the sign-up period so that people who lost their jobs during the pandemic can get the free coverage. Liz Weston, oregonlive, "Liz Weston: Here is who’s eligible for free or lower cost health insurance through COVID-19 relief," 11 May 2021 The Vikings' options are open after guaranteeing just $35,000 to sign Joseph this offseason. Andrew Krammer, Star Tribune, "These five Vikings roster battles appear likely after the NFL Draft," 11 May 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 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sign.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for sign



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

Comments on sign

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