How is the word sign distinct from other similar nouns?
Some common synonyms of sign are mark, note, symptom, and token. While all these words 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
When is it sensible to use mark instead of sign?
The words mark and sign are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, mark suggests something impressed on or inherently characteristic of a thing often in contrast to general outward appearance.
a mark of a good upbringing
When could note be used to replace sign?
The synonyms note and sign are sometimes interchangeable, but note suggests a distinguishing mark or characteristic.
a note of irony in her writing
Where would symptom be a reasonable alternative to sign?
While the synonyms symptom and sign are close in meaning, symptom suggests an outward indication of an internal change or condition.
rampant crime is a symptom of that city's decay
When can token be used instead of sign?
While in some cases nearly identical to sign, token applies to something that serves as a proof of something intangible.