What does sign mean?

Definitions for sign

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word sign.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. sign, marknoun

    a perceptible indication of something not immediately apparent (as a visible clue that something has happened)

    "he showed signs of strain"; "they welcomed the signs of spring"

  2. signnoun

    a public display of a message

    "he posted signs in all the shop windows"

  3. signal, signaling, signnoun

    any nonverbal action or gesture that encodes a message

    "signals from the boat suddenly stopped"

  4. signboard, signnoun

    structure displaying a board on which advertisements can be posted

    "the highway was lined with signboards"

  5. sign of the zodiac, star sign, sign, mansion, house, planetary housenoun

    (astrology) one of 12 equal areas into which the zodiac is divided

  6. signnoun

    (medicine) any objective evidence of the presence of a disorder or disease

    "there were no signs of asphyxiation"

  7. polarity, signnoun

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

    "he got the polarity of the battery reversed"; "charges of opposite sign"

  8. augury, sign, foretoken, preindicationnoun

    an event that is experienced as indicating important things to come

    "he hoped it was an augury"; "it was a sign from God"

  9. signnoun

    a gesture that is part of a sign language

  10. signnoun

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

    "The bond between the signifier and the signified is arbitrary"--de Saussure

  11. signadjective

    a character indicating a relation between quantities

    "don't forget the minus sign"

  12. gestural, sign(a), signed, sign-language(a)verb

    used of the language of the deaf

  13. sign, subscribeverb

    mark with one's signature; write one's name (on)

    "She signed the letter and sent it off"; "Please sign here"

  14. sign, ratifyverb

    approve and express assent, responsibility, or obligation

    "All parties ratified the peace treaty"; "Have you signed your contract yet?"

  15. signverb

    be engaged by a written agreement

    "He signed to play the casino on Dec. 18"; "The soprano signed to sing the new opera"

  16. sign, contract, sign on, sign upverb

    engage by written agreement

    "They signed two new pitchers for the next season"

  17. sign, signal, signalize, signaliseverb

    communicate silently and non-verbally by signals or signs

    "He signed his disapproval with a dismissive hand gesture"; "The diner signaled the waiters to bring the menu"

  18. signverb

    place signs, as along a road

    "sign an intersection"; "This road has been signed"

  19. signverb

    communicate in sign language

    "I don't know how to sign, so I could not communicate with my deaf cousin"

  20. bless, signverb

    make the sign of the cross over someone in order to call on God for protection; consecrate


  1. Signverb

    Especially: To communicate in sign language.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Signnoun

    Etymology: signe, French; signum, Latin.

    Signs must resemble the things they signify. Richard Hooker.

    Signs for communication may be contrived from any variety of objects of one kind appertaining to either sense. William Holder.

    To express the passions which are seated in the heart by outward signs, is one great precept of the painters, and very difficult to perform. John Dryden, Dufresnoy.

    When any one uses any term, he may have in his mind a determined idea which he makes it the sign of, and to which he should keep it steadily annexed. John Locke.

    If they will not hearken to the voice of the first sign, they will not believe the latter sign. Ex. iv. 8.

    Cover thy face that thou see not; for I have set thee for a sign unto Israel. Ezek. xii. 6.

    Compell’d by signs and judgments dire. John Milton.

    I found my miss, struck hands, and pray’d him tell,
    To hold acquaintance still, where he did dwell;
    He barely nam’d the street, promis’d the wine;
    But his kind wife gave me the very sign. John Donne.

    Underneath an alehouse’ paltry sign. William Shakespeare, H. VI.

    True sorrow’s like to wine,
    That which is good does never need a sign. John Suckling.

    Wit and fancy are not employed in any one article so much as that of contriving signs to hang over houses. Jonathan Swift.

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

    There stay until the twelve celestial signs
    Have brought about their annual reckoning. William Shakespeare.

    Now did the sign reign, and the constellation was come, under which Perkin should appear. Francis Bacon, Henry VII.

    After ev’ry foe subdu’d, the sun
    Thrice through the signs his annual race shall run. Dryden.

    The ensign of Messiah blaz’d,
    Aloft by angels borne, his sign in heaven. John Milton.

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

  2. To Signverb

    Etymology: signo, Latin.

    You sign your place and calling in full seeming
    With meekness and humility; but your heart
    Is cramm’d with arrogancy. William Shakespeare, Henry VIII.

    Be pleas’d to sign these papers: they are all
    Of great concern! John Dryden, Cleomenes.

    The sacraments and symbols are just such as they seem; but because they are made to be signs of a secret mystery, they receive the names of what themselves do sign. Taylor.


  1. Sign

    A sign is an object, quality, event, or entity whose presence or occurrence indicates the probable presence or occurrence of something else. A natural sign bears a causal relation to its object—for instance, thunder is a sign of storm, or medical symptoms signify a disease. A conventional sign signifies by agreement, as a full stop signifies the end of a sentence; similarly the words and expressions of a language, as well as bodily gestures, can be regarded as signs, expressing particular meanings. The physical objects most commonly referred to as signs (notices, road signs, etc., collectively known as signage) generally inform or instruct using written text, symbols, pictures or a combination of these. The philosophical study of signs and symbols is called semiotics; this includes the study of semiosis, which is the way in which signs (in the semiotic sense) operate.


  1. sign

    A sign can refer to a visual or auditory representation that communicates information or conveys meaning. It can be a symbol, a gesture, an object, a written word, or any other form that carries a specific message or indication. Signs are used to convey warnings, directions, information, or to express ideas, concepts, or emotions. They serve as a means of communication and allow individuals to understand and interpret their surroundings.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Signnoun

    that by which anything is made known or represented; that which furnishes evidence; a mark; a token; an indication; a proof

  2. Signnoun

    a remarkable event, considered by the ancients as indicating the will of some deity; a prodigy; an omen

  3. Signnoun

    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

  4. Signnoun

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

  5. Signnoun

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

  6. Signnoun

    a word or a character regarded as the outward manifestation of thought; as, words are the sign of ideas

  7. Signnoun

    a motion, an action, or a gesture by which a thought is expressed, or a command or a wish made known

  8. Signnoun

    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

  9. Signnoun

    a military emblem carried on a banner or a standard

  10. Signnoun

    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

  11. Signnoun

    the twelfth part of the ecliptic or zodiac

  12. Signnoun

    a character indicating the relation of quantities, or an operation performed upon them; as, the sign + (plus); the sign -- (minus); the sign of division Ö, and the like.

  13. Signnoun

    an objective evidence of disease; that is, one appreciable by some one other than the patient

  14. Signnoun

    any character, as a flat, sharp, dot, etc

  15. Signnoun

    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

  16. Signnoun

    to represent by a sign; to make known in a typical or emblematic manner, in distinction from speech; to signify

  17. Signnoun

    to make a sign upon; to mark with a sign

  18. Signnoun

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

  19. Signnoun

    to assign or convey formally; -- used with away

  20. Signnoun

    to mark; to make distinguishable

  21. Signverb

    to be a sign or omen

  22. Signverb

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

  23. Signverb

    to write one's name, esp. as a token of assent, responsibility, or obligation

  24. Etymology: [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. Sign

    A sign is a representation of an object that implies a connection between itself and its object. A natural sign bears a causal relation to its object—for instance, thunder is a sign of storm. A conventional sign signifies by agreement, as a full stop signifies the end of a sentence.. The way a sign signifies is called semiosis which is a topic of semiotics and philosophy of language. How a sign is perceived depends upon what is intended or expressed in the semiotic relationship of: ⁕Signification ⁕Significance ⁕Importance Thus, for example, people may speak of the significance of events, the signification of characters, the meaning of sentences, or the import of a communication. Different ways of relating signs to their objects are called modes of signification. Uses of conventional signs are varied. Usually the goal is to elicit a response or simply inform. That can be achieved by marking something, displaying a message, drawing attention or presenting evidence of an underlying cause, performing a bodily gesture, etc.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Sign

    sīn, n. mark, token: proof: that by which a thing is known or represented: a word, gesture, symbol, or mark, intended to signify something else: a remarkable event: an omen: a miraculous manifestation: a memorial: something set up as a notice in a public place: (math.) a mark showing the relation of quantities or an operation to be performed: (med.) a symptom: (astron.) one of the twelve parts of the zodiac, each comprising 30 degrees of the ecliptic.—v.t. to represent or make known by a sign: to attach a signature to.—v.i. to give one's signature: to make a particular sign.—adj. Sign′able, capable of being, or requiring to be, signed.—ns. Sign′board, a board with a sign telling a man's occupation or articles for sale; Sign′er; Sig′net, the privy-seal: (B.) a seal.—adj. Sig′neted, stamped or marked with a signet.—n. Sig′net-ring, a ring with a signet or private seal.—adj. Sign′less, making no sign.—ns. Sign′-man′ual, the royal signature, usually only the initial of the sovereign's name, with R. for Rex or Regina; Sign′-paint′er, one who paints signs for shops, &c.; Sign′post, a post on which a sign is hung: a direction-post. [Fr. signe—L. signum.]

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. sign

    An indication or token. In astronomy, one of the twelve divisions of the zodiac.

  2. sign

    To affix a signature; to subscribe.

Editors Contribution

  1. Sign

    A form of visual communication.

    The local sign for the garage was crystal clear.

    Submitted by MaryC on February 26, 2020  

  2. sign

    To type or write a name.

    We have to sign various documents throughout our lives.

    Submitted by MaryC on February 26, 2020  

Suggested Resources

  1. SIGN

    What does SIGN stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the SIGN acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'sign' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1779

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'sign' in Written Corpus Frequency: #1788

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'sign' in Nouns Frequency: #412

  4. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'sign' in Verbs Frequency: #247

How to pronounce sign?

How to say sign in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of sign in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of sign in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of sign in a Sentence

  1. Sudhir Chob:

    Shameless person was talking about sign of shameless people , so deleted his thought

  2. Frank Giustra:

    Other media outlets have insinuated that I influenced the decision by the U.S. to sign a free trade agreement with Colombia, at one point, I was an investor in Pacific Rubiales, a Colombian energy company. I sold my shares in Pacific Rubiales several years before the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, which, I will note, was approved by several U.S. agencies and the White House. To theorize that I had anything to do with that is sheer conjecture.

  3. Vasily Vlassov:

    ( A) person who dies of respiratory failure from Covid often gets into the statistics as a person who died from respiratory failure, but not from Covid, high morbidity in Russia is seen as a sign of failure of the state and society.

  4. Michael Pillsbury:

    There has been no sign of progress.

  5. Patrick Oliver:

    The contract statement is an excuse the Hoover School District wants to hide behind for their horrible and unpopular decision, several emails confirmed Derrick’s appearance. I requested a $500 advance for Derrick’s travel and the check was received within seven days, a sign that an agreement was in place for Derrick’s appearance.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for sign

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • tekenAfrikaans
  • اشارة, وقعArabic
  • знакBulgarian
  • senyalCatalan, Valencian
  • znamení, znaménko, pokyn, značka, cedule, znak, podepsatCzech
  • argoel, arwyddWelsh
  • tegnDanish
  • Zeichen, Gebärde, Zeichensprache, Verkehrszeichen, Tierkreiszeichen, Schild, Vorzeichen, Sonderzeichen, Anzeichen, Sternzeichen, Verkehrsschild, Gebärdensprache, unterzeichnen, gebärden, unterschreiben, unterschriften, signierenGerman
  • dzesiEwe
  • σήμα, σημάδι, οιωνός, πρόσημο, σύμβολο, ζώδιο, υπογράφωGreek
  • signo, gesto, trafiksigno, gestlingvo, subskribiEsperanto
  • señal, presagio, lengua de señas, placa, signo del zodiaco, símbolo, muestra, signo, letrero, aviso, seña, señalización, lengua de signos, firmar, signar, hablar a señasSpanish
  • merkki, viittoma, ele, liikennemerkki, enne, kyltti, kilpi, ennusmerkki, osoitus, viittomakieli, allekirjoittaa, viittoa, rekrytoidaFinnish
  • panneau de signalisation, signe, symbole, présage, langue des signes, marqueur, faire signer, signerFrench
  • fógra, teanga chomharthaíochtaIrish
  • sinalGalician
  • סימן, סמל, אות, מזל, שלטHebrew
  • jel, aláír, jelelHungarian
  • նշանArmenian
  • signatarIdo
  • undirrita, skrifa undirIcelandic
  • indicazione, simbolo, segnale, segno, gesto, cartello, insegna, firmareItalian
  • סִימָןHebrew
  • 符号, 印, サイン, 兆候, 記号, 道路標識, 手話, 合図, 兆し, 看板, 星座, サインする, 署名する, 署名Japanese
  • ಚಿಹ್ನೆKannada
  • 신호, 서명하다Korean
  • نیشانه‌, nîşanKurdish
  • signumLatin
  • SchëldLuxembourgish, Letzeburgesch
  • знак, предзнак, ишарет, потпишуваMacedonian
  • tanda, isyaratMalay
  • tegn, skilt, stjernetegn, fortegn, tegnspråk, skrive under, signereNorwegian
  • verkeersbord, bord, voorteken, gebaar, teken, speciaal teken, gebarentaal, markering, ondertekenenDutch
  • stjerneteikn, teikn, skilt, forteikn, teiknspråk, skrive under, signereNorwegian Nynorsk
  • senh, senhagolOccitan
  • znak drogowyPolish
  • língua de sinais, sinais, sinal, símbolo, agouro, placa, signo, presságio, gesto, gesticular, assinar, gestualizar, firmarPortuguese
  • ensaina, segnRomansh
  • semn, semnaRomanian
  • знак, примета, вывеска, подписыватья, подписываться, подписаться, подписатьRussian
  • shenjëAlbanian
  • tecken, skylt, järtecken, stjärntecken, trafikskylt, omen, skriva under, skriva på, signeraSwedish
  • శకునం, రాశి, సూచన, గుర్తుTelugu
  • işaretTurkish
  • знакUkrainian

Get even more translations for sign »


Find a translation for the sign definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"sign." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 18 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/sign>.

Discuss these sign definitions with the community:


    Are we missing a good definition for sign? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Image or illustration of


    Credit »

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Browse Definitions.net


    Are you a words master?

    add details to
    A embellish
    B render
    C abhor
    D denudate

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for sign: