sign meaning

[ sain ] Pronunciation:   "sign" in a sentence
Verb: sign  sIn
  1. Mark with one's signature; write one's name (on)
    "She signed the letter and sent it off"; "Please sign here"
    - subscribe 
  2. Approve and express assent, responsibility, or obligation
    "Have you signed your contract yet?"
    - ratify 
  3. Be engaged by a written agreement
    "He signed to play the casino on Dec. 18"; "The soprano signed to sing the new opera" 
  4. Engage by written agreement
    "They signed two new pitchers for the next season"
    - contract, sign on, sign up 
  5. Communicate silently and non-verbally by signals or signs
    "He signed his disapproval with a dismissive hand gesture"
    - signal, signalize, signalise [Brit] 
  6. Place signs, as along a road
    "sign an intersection"; "This road has been signed" 
  7. Communicate in sign language
    "I don't know how to sign, so I could not communicate with my deaf cousin" 
  8. Make the sign of the cross over someone in order to call on God for protection; consecrate
    - bless
Noun: sign  sIn
  1. 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"
    - mark 
  2. A public display of a message
    "he posted signs in all the shop windows" 
  3. Any nonverbal action or gesture that encodes a message
    - signal, signaling [US], signalling 
  4. Structure displaying a board on which advertisements can be posted
    - signboard 
  5. (astrology) one of 12 equal areas into which the zodiac is divided
    - sign of the zodiac, star sign, mansion, house, planetary house 
  6. (medicine) any objective evidence of the presence of a disorder or disease
    "there were no signs of asphyxiation" 
  7. Having an indicated pole (as the distinction between positive and negative electric charges)
    "charges of opposite sign"
    - polarity 
  8. An event that is experienced as indicating important things to come
    "it was a sign from God"
    - augury, foretoken, preindication 
  9. A gesture that is part of a sign language 
  10. A fundamental linguistic unit linking a signifier to that which is signified 
  11. A character indicating a relation between quantities
    "don't forget the minus sign"
Adjective: sign  sIn
  1. Used of the language of the deaf
    - gestural, signed, sign-language

Sounds like: sine, syne

Derived forms: signed, signs, signing

See also: communicative, communicatory, sign away, sign in, signature, signer, signify, signing

Type of: clew, clue, communicate, communication, construction, contract, cue, employ, engage, evidence, experience, formalise [Brit], formalize, gesticulate, gesture, grounds, hire, intercommunicate, language unit, lay, linguistic unit, mathematical notation, motion, oppositeness, opposition, part, place, pose, position, put, region, set, structure, undertake, validate, write

Part of: disease, sign language, signing, zodiac

Encyclopedia: Sign

noun, verb

noun [C]


a piece of paper, wood, metal, etc. that has writing or a picture on it that gives you information, instructions, a warning, etc:

There is a sign displaying the name of the company on the roof of the building.

flashing neon signs

a sign board


a mark used to represent sth:

a plus/minus sign (+/-)

a euro/dollar sign (€/$)

verb [+ obj or no obj]

to write your name on a document, letter, etc. to show that you have written it, that you agree with what it says, or that it is genuine:

Sign here, please.

Sign your name here, please.

You haven't signed the letter.

to sign a deal/contract/cheque


signed and sealed; signed, sealed and delivered

definite, because all the legal documents have been signed

sign on the dotted line (informal)

to sign a document to show that you have agreed to do sth or buy sth:

Always read the small print before you sign on the dotted line.


sign for sth

to sign a document to show that you have received sth:

Who signed for the package?

sign in/out; sign sb in/out

to write your name or the name of a guest when you arrive at or leave an office:

All visitors must sign in on arrival.

sign off; sign sth off

to end a letter, etc:

I usually sign off an email with 'regards'.

sign sth off

to give your formal approval to sth, by signing your name:

The accounts have not yet been signed off by the auditors.

sign off on sth (AmE) (informal)

to express your approval of sth formally and definitely:

Investors have finally signed off on the deal.

sign on (BrE) (informal)

to sign a form stating that you are unemployed so that you can receive payment from the government

sign on/up; sign sb on/up

to sign a form or contract which says that you agree to work for sb, do a deal, etc.; to persuade sb to sign a form or contract like this:

She signed on as a customer-support officer.

We have signed on three major home builders as partners.

sign out; sign sb out


sign up (for sth); sign sb up (for sth)


to arrange to receive or do sth:

Sign up for our monthly email newsletter.

I've signed up for an accounting course.

Shall I sign you up for the workshop too?


She's signed up with an employment agency.

1. Any indicator denoting whether a value is positive or negative.
2. A graphic device indicating an operation. Examples: + (addition), × (multiplication).
3. Any symbol. An ampersand, for example, is an “and” sign.
4. A characteristic symptom of malfunction or improper operation (e.g., a high standing-wave ratio in an antenna system is a sign of an impedance mismatch).

A token of anything; a note or token given without words.

To sign a judgment, is to enter a judgment for want of something which was required to be done; as, for example, in the English practice, if he who is bound to give oyer does not give it within the time required, in such cases, the adverse party may sign judgment against him.

Contracts are express or implied. The express are manifested viva voce, or by writing; the implied are shown by silence, by acts, or by signs.

Among all nations find and at all times, certain signs have been considered as proof of assent or dissent; for example, the nodding of the head, and the shaking of hands, silence and inaction, facts and signs are sometimes very strong evidence of cool reflection, when following a question. I ask you to lend me one hundred dollars, without saying a word you put your hand in your pocket, and deliver me the money. I go into a hotel and I ask the landlord if he can accommodate me and take care of my trunk; without speaking he takes it out of my hands and sends it into his chamber. By this act he doubtless becomes responsible to me as a bailee. At the expiration of a lease, the tenant remains in possession, without any objection from the landlord; this may be fairly interpreted as a sign of a consent that the lease shall be renewed.

4, The author of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire remarks, "Among savage nations, the want of letters is imperfectly supplied by the use of visible signs, which awaken attention, and perpetuate the remembrance of any public or private transaction. The jurisprudence of the first Romans exhibited the scenes of a pantomime; the words were adapted to the gestures, and the slightest error or neglect in the forms of proceeding was sufficient to annul the substance of the fairest claim. The communion of the marriage-life was denoted by the necessary elements of fire and water: and the divorced wife resigned, the bunch of keys, by the delivery of which she had been invested with the government of the family. The manumission of a son, or a slave, was performed by turning him round with a gentle blow on the cheek: a work was prohibited by the casting of a stone; prescription was interrupted by the breaking of a branch; the clenched fist was the symbol of a pledge or deposits; the right hand was the gift of faith and confidence. The indenture of covenants was a broken straw; weights and, scales were introduced into every payment, and the heir who accepted a testament, was sometimes obliged to snap his fingers, to cast away his garments, and to leap and dance with real or affected transport. If a citizen pursued any stolen goods into a neighbor's house, he concealed his nakedness with a linen towel, and hid his. face with a mask or basin, lest he should encounter the eyes of a virgin or a matron. In a civil action, the plaintiff touched the ear of his witness seized his reluctant adversary by the neck and implored, in solemn lamentation, the aid of his fellow-citizens. The two competitors grasped each other's hand, as if they stood prepared for combat before the tribunal of the praetor: he commanded them to produce the object of the dispute; they went, they returned with measured steps, and a clod of earth was cast at his feet to represent the field for which they contended. This occult science of the words and actions of law, was the inheritance of the pontiffs and patricians. Like the Chaldean astrologers, they announced to their clients the days of business and repose; these important trifles wore interwoven with the religion of Numa; and, after the publication of the Twelve Tables, the Roman people were still enslaved by the ignorance of judicial proceedings. The treachery of some plebeian officers at length revealed the profitable mystery: in a more enlightened age, the legal actions were derided and observed; and the same antiquity which sanctified the practice, obliterated the use and meaning, of this primitive language."

measures. In angular measures, a sign is equal to thirty degrees.

mer. law. A board, tin or other substance, on which is painted the name and business of a merchant or tradesman.

Every man has a right to adopt such a sign as he may please to select, but he has no right to use another's name, without his consent. See mot Propriete Industrielle, and the article Trade marks.

1 : one of a set of gestures used to represent language
2 : an objective evidence of disease esp. 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
  • at sign:    [Computer]<char ...
  • sign for:    1. sign for sth to ...
  • sign in:    Verb: sign inAnnou ...


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  1. there is no sign of him mending his ways.
  2. can you make out what that sign says?
  3. buds on the trees are a sign of spring.
  4. can i sign up for this course in advance?
  5. congestion of the mucosa is a variable sign.

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