Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of Sign
Meaning of sign by Wiktionary Dictionary



    • IPA: /saɪn/
    • Rhymes: -aɪn
    • Homophone: sine

    Etymology 1

    From Old French signe, from Latin signum ( “a mark, sign, token” ); root uncertain .


    sign ( plural: signs )

    1. ( sometimes also used uncountably ) A visible indication .
      Their angry expressions were a clear sign they didn't want to talk .
      Those clouds show signs of raining soon .
      Those clouds show little sign of raining soon .
    2. A clearly visible object, generally flat, bearing a short message in words or pictures .
      The sign in the window said "for rent" .
    3. A traffic sign .
      I missed the sign at the corner so I took the wrong turn .
    4. A meaningful gesture .
      I gave them a thumbs-up sign .
    5. Any of several specialized non-alphabetic symbols .
      The sharp sign indicates that the pitch of the note is raised a half step .
    6. ( astrology ) An astrological sign .
      Your sign is Taurus? That's no surprise .
    7. ( mathematics ) Positive or negative polarity .
      I got the magnitude right, but the sign was wrong .
    8. A linguistic unit in sign language equivalent to word in spoken languages .
      What's the sign for "computer"?
    9. ( uncountable ) sign language in general
      Sorry, I don't know sign very well .
    10. An omen .
      "It's a sign of the end of the world," the doom prophet said .
    11. ( medicine ) A property of the body that indicates a disease and, unlike a symptom, is unlikely to be noticed by the patient .
    Derived terms
    Related terms

    Etymology 2

    From Old French signer, from Latin signare ( “to mark, seal, indicate, signify” ), from signum ( “a mark, sign” ); see sign as a noun .

    External links

    • sign in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
    • sign in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911


    • gins, ings, nigs, sing, sing., snig

Explanation of sign by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. make the sign of the cross over someone in order to call on God for protection

    2. be engaged by a written agreement

    3. He signed to play the casino on Dec. 18
      The soprano signed to sing the new opera
    4. communicate in sign language

    5. I don't know how to sign, so I could not communicate with my deaf cousin
    6. mark with one's signature

    7. She signed the letter and sent it off
      Please sign here
    8. communicate silently and non-verbally by signals or signs

    9. He signed his disapproval with a dismissive hand gesture
      The diner signaled the waiters to bring the menu
    10. place signs, as along a road

    11. sign an intersection
      This road has been signed
    12. engage by written agreement

    13. They signed two new pitchers for the next season
    14. approve and express assent, responsibility, or obligation

    15. Have you signed your contract yet?
    1. used of the language of the deaf

    1. structure displaying a board on which advertisements can be posted

    2. the highway was lined with signboards
    3. a perceptible indication of something not immediately apparent ( as a visible clue that something has happened )

    4. he showed signs of strain
      they welcomed the signs of spring
    5. any nonverbal action or gesture that encodes a message

    6. signals from the boat suddenly stopped
    7. a public display of a message

    8. he posted signs in all the shop windows
    9. a character indicating a relation between quantities

    10. don't forget the minus sign
    11. a gesture that is part of a sign language

    12. a fundamental linguistic unit linking a signifier to that which is signified

    13. The bond between the signifier and the signified is arbitrary--de Saussure
    14. an event that is experienced as indicating important things to come

    15. it was a sign from God
    16. one of 12 equal areas into which the zodiac is divided

    17. having an indicated pole ( as the distinction between positive and negative electric charges )

    18. charges of opposite sign
    19. any objective evidence of the presence of a disorder or disease

    20. there were no signs of asphyxiation

    Definition of sign by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Sign n. [F. signe, L. signum; cf. AS. segen, segn, a sign, standard, banner, also fr. L. signum. Cf. Ensign, Resign, Seal a stamp, Signal, Signet.] That by which anything is made known or represented; that which furnishes evidence; a mark; a token; an indication; a proof. Specifically: A remarkable event, considered by the ancients as indicating the will of some deity; a prodigy; an omen. An event considered by the Jews as indicating the divine will, or as manifesting an interposition of the divine power for some special end; a miracle; a wonder.

      Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God. Rom. xv. 19.

      It shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign. Ex. iv. 8.

      Something serving to indicate the existence, or preserve the memory, of a thing; a token; a memorial; a monument.

      What time the fire devoured two hundred and fifty men, and they became a sign. Num. xxvi. 10.

      Any symbol or emblem which prefigures, typifles, or represents, an idea; a type; hence, sometimes, a picture.

      The holy symbols, or signs, are not barely significative; but what they represent is as certainly delivered to us as the symbols themselves. Brerewood.

      Saint George of Merry England, the sign of victory. Spenser.

      A word or a character regarded as the outward manifestation of thought; as, words are the sign of ideas. A motion, an action, or a gesture by which a thought is expressed, or a command or a wish made known.

      They made signs to his father, how he would have him called. Luke i. 62.

      Hence, one of the gestures of pantomime, or of a language of a signs such as those used by the North American Indians, or those used by the deaf and dumb.

      ☞ Educaters of the deaf distinguish between natural signs, which serve for communicating ideas, and methodical, or systematic, signs, adapted for the dictation, or the rendering, of written language, word by word; and thus the signs are to be distinguished from the manual alphabet, by which words are spelled on the fingers.

      A military emblem carried on a banner or a standard. Milton. A lettered board, or other conspicuous notice, placed upon or before a building, room, shop, or office to advertise the business there transacted, or the name of the person or firm carrying it on; a publicly displayed token or notice.

      The shops were, therefore, distinguished by painted signs, which gave a gay and grotesque aspect to the streets. Macaulay.

      ( Astron. ) The twelfth part of the ecliptic or zodiac.

      ☞ The signs are reckoned from the point of intersection of the ecliptic and equator at the vernal equinox, and are named, respectively, Aries ( ), Taurus ( ), Gemini ( II ), Cancer ( ), Leo ( ), Virgo ( ), Libra ( ), Scorpio ( ), Sagittarius ( ), Capricornus ( ), Aquarius ( ), Pisces ( ). These names were originally the names of the constellations occupying severally the divisions of the zodiac, by which they are still retained; but, in consequence of the procession of the equinoxes, the signs have, in process of time, become separated about 30 degrees from these constellations, and each of the latter now lies in the sign next in advance, or to the east of the one which bears its name, as the constellation Aries in the sign Taurus, etc.

      ( Alg. ) A character indicating the relation of quantities, or an operation performed upon them; as, “the sign + ( plus ); the sign -- ( minus ); the sign of division ÷, and the like”. ( Med. ) An objective evidence of disease; that is, one appreciable by some one other than the patient.

      ☞ The terms symptom and and sign are often used synonymously; but they may be discriminated. A sign differs from a symptom in that the latter is perceived only by the patient himself. The term sign is often further restricted to the purely local evidences of disease afforded by direct examination of the organs involved, as distinguished from those evidence of general disturbance afforded by observation of the temperature, pulse, etc. In this sense it is often called physical sign.

      ( Mus. ) Any character, as a flat, sharp, dot, etc. ( Theol. ) That which, being external, stands for, or signifies, something internal or spiritual; -- a term used in the Church of England in speaking of an ordinance considered with reference to that which it represents.

      An outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. Bk. of Common Prayer.

      ☞ See the Table of Arbitrary Signs, p. 1924.

      Sign manual. ( Eng. Law ) The royal signature superscribed at the top of bills of grants and letter patent, which are then sealed with the privy signet or great seal, as the case may be, to complete their validity. The signature of one's name in one's own handwriting. Craig. Tomlins. Wharton.

      Syn. -- Token; mark; note; symptom; indication; signal; symbol; type; omen; prognostic; presage; manifestation. See Emblem.

    2. Sign v. t. [imp. & p. p. Signed ; p. pr. & vb. n. Signing.] [OE. seinen to bless, originally, to make the sign of the cross over; in this sense fr. ASS. segnian ( from segn, n. ), or OF. seignier, F. signer, to mark, to sign ( in sense 3 ), fr. L. signare to mark, set a mark upon, from signum. See Sign, n.]
      1. To represent by a sign; to make known in a typical or emblematic manner, in distinction from speech; to signify.

      I signed to Browne to make his retreat. Sir W. Scott.

      2. To make a sign upon; to mark with a sign.

      We receive this child into the congregation of Christ's flock, and do sign him with the sign of the cross. Bk. of Com Prayer.

      3. To affix a signature to; to ratify by hand or seal; to subscribe in one's own handwriting.

      Inquire the Jew's house out, give him this deed,

      And let him sign it. Shak.

      4. To assign or convey formally; -- used with away.

      5. To mark; to make distinguishable. Shak.

    3. Sign v. i.
      1. To be a sign or omen. [Obs.] Shak.

      2. To make a sign or signal; to communicate directions or intelligence by signs.

      3. Especially: To communicate in sign language.

      4. To write one's name, esp. as a token of assent, responsibility, or obligation; as, “he signed in red ink”.