[ sahyn ]
See synonyms for: signsignedsigningsigns on

  1. a token or indication; a piece of evidence: The smoke curling from the chimney was a sign that someone was in the cabin.

  2. any object, action, event, pattern, etc., that is taken as conveying a meaning: I took her silence and fidgeting as a sign of disagreement.Rising sales of disaster survival kits are a sign of the times.

  1. a conventional or arbitrary mark, figure, or symbol used as an abbreviation for the word or words it represents.

  2. a motion or gesture used to express or convey an idea, command, decision, etc.: Her nod was a sign that it was time to leave.

  3. a notice, bearing a name, direction, warning, or advertisement, that is displayed or posted for public view: a traffic sign;a store sign.

  4. a trace; vestige: There wasn't a sign of them.

  5. an arbitrary or conventional symbol used in musical notation to indicate tonality, tempo, etc.

  6. Medicine/Medical. the objective indications of a disease.

  7. any meaningful gestural unit belonging to a sign language.

  8. an omen; portent: The general unrest was a sign of the approaching revolution.

  9. Usually signs. traces, such as footprints or scat, of a wild animal.

  10. Mathematics.

    • a plus sign or minus sign used as a symbol for indicating addition or subtraction.

    • a plus sign or minus sign used as a symbol for indicating the positive or negative value of a quantity, as an integer.

    • a symbol, as  or !, used to indicate a radical or factorial operation.

verb (used with object)
  1. to affix a signature to: to sign a letter.

  2. to write as a signature: to sign one's name.

  1. to engage by written agreement: to sign a new player.

  2. to mark with a sign, especially the sign of the cross.

  3. to communicate by means of a sign; signal: He signed his wish to leave.

  4. to convey (a message) in a sign language.

  5. Obsolete. to direct or appoint by a sign.

verb (used without object)
  1. to write one's signature, as a token of agreement, obligation, receipt, etc.: to sign for a package.

  2. to make a sign or signal: He signed to her to go away.

  1. to employ a sign language for communication.

  2. to obligate oneself by signature: He signed with another team for the next season.

Verb Phrases
  1. sign away / over to assign or dispose of by affixing one's signature to a document:She signed over her fortune to the church.

  2. sign in, to record or authorize one's arrival (or departure) by signing a register.: Also sign out.

  1. sign off,

    • to withdraw, as from some responsibility or connection.

    • to cease radio or television broadcasting, especially at the end of the day.

    • Informal. to become silent: He had exhausted conversation topics and signed off.

    • to indicate one's approval explicitly if not formally: The president is expected to sign off on the new agreement.

  2. sign on,

    • to employ; hire.

    • to bind oneself to work, as by signing a contract: He signed on as a pitcher with a major-league team.

    • to start radio or television broadcasting, especially at the beginning of the day.

    • Computers. log1 (def. 18a).

  3. sign up, to enlist, as in an organization or group; to register or subscribe: to sign up for the navy;to sign up for class.

Origin of sign

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English noun signe, sign, from Old French and Latin signum “mark, sign, ensign, signal, image”; verb ultimately from the noun

synonym study For sign

10. Sign, omen, portent name that which gives evidence of a future event. Sign is a general word for whatever gives evidence of an event—past, present, or future: Dark clouds are a sign of rain or snow. An omen is an augury or warning of things to come; it is used only of the future, in general, as good or bad: birds of evil omen. Portent, limited, like omen, to prophecy of the future, may be used of a specific event, usually a misfortune: portents of war.

Other words for sign

Other words from sign

  • sign·less, adjective
  • sign·like, adjective
  • post·sign, verb (used with object)
  • un·signed, adjective

Words that may be confused with sign

Words Nearby sign Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use sign in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for sign


/ (saɪn) /

  1. something that indicates or acts as a token of a fact, condition, etc, that is not immediately or outwardly observable

  2. an action or gesture intended to convey information, a command, etc

    • a board, placard, etc, displayed in public and inscribed with words or designs intended to inform, warn, etc

    • (as modifier): a sign painter

  1. an arbitrary or conventional mark or device that stands for a word, phrase, etc

  2. maths logic

    • any symbol indicating an operation: a plus sign; an implication sign

    • the positivity or negativity of a number, quantity, or expression: subtraction from zero changes the sign of an expression

  3. an indication or vestige: the house showed no signs of being occupied

  4. a portentous or significant event

  5. an indication, such as a scent or spoor, of the presence of an animal

  6. med any objective evidence of the presence of a disease or disorder: Compare symptom (def. 1)

  7. astrology Compare sign of the zodiac

  1. to write (one's name) as a signature to (a document, etc) in attestation, confirmation, ratification, etc

  2. (intr often foll by to) to make a sign; signal

  1. to engage or be engaged by written agreement, as a player for a team, etc

  2. (tr) to outline in gestures a sign over, esp the sign of the cross

  3. (tr) to indicate by or as if by a sign; betoken

  4. (intr) to use sign language

Origin of sign

C13: from Old French signe, from Latin signum a sign

Derived forms of sign

  • signable, adjective

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for sign


[ sīn ]

  1. A body manifestation, usually detected on physical examination or through laboratory tests or xrays, that indicates the presence of abnormality or disease. Compare symptom.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with sign


In addition to the idioms beginning with sign

  • sign in
  • sign off
  • sign on
  • sign one's own death warrant
  • sign on the dotted line
  • sign out
  • sign over
  • sign up

, see

  • high sign
  • show signs of

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.