- a token; indication.
- any object, action, event, pattern, etc., that conveys a meaning.
- a conventional or arbitrary mark, figure, or symbol used as an abbreviation for the word or words it represents.
- 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.
- a notice, bearing a name, direction, warning, or advertisement, that is displayed or posted for public view: a traffic sign; a store sign.
- a trace; vestige: There wasn't a sign of them.
- an arbitrary or conventional symbol used in musical notation to indicate tonality, tempo, etc.
- Medicine/Medical. the objective indications of a disease.
- any meaningful gestural unit belonging to a sign language.
- an omen; portent: a sign of approaching decadence.
- sign of the zodiac.
- sign language(def 1).
- Usually signs. traces, as footprints, of a wild animal.
- 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.
- multiplication sign.
- division sign.
- a symbol, as or !, used to indicate a radical or factorial operation.
- to affix a signature to: to sign a letter.
- to write as a signature: to sign one's name.
- to engage by written agreement: to sign a new player.
- to mark with a sign, especially the sign of the cross.
- to communicate by means of a sign; signal: He signed his wish to leave.
- to convey (a message) in a sign language.
- Obsolete. to direct or appoint by a sign.
- sign away/over, to assign or dispose of by affixing one's signature to a document: She signed over her fortune to the church.
- sign in, to record or authorize one's arrival (or departure) by signing a register.Also sign out.
- 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.
- 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 17a).
- 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
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for sign
They are always suspended over a precipice, dangling by a slender thread that shows every sign of snapping.How the PC Police Threaten Free Speech
January 9, 2015
It was hard not to take it as a sign, a personal comment on my own Jewish dating failings.My Week on Jewish Tinder
January 5, 2015
If he did, it could be a sign that our politicians are ready to resume genuine policy-making across party lines.Christie Blames Parents for Bad Economy
January 3, 2015
President Harry Truman kept a sign on his desk that read: “The Buck Stops Here.”The ‘No Child’ Rewrite Threatens Your Kids’ Future
January 3, 2015
He refused to sign the Constitution, for good reasons and bad.Forget the Resolutions; Try a Few Declarations
January 1, 2015
He had evinced not the least sign of any disposition even to criticise.
It proved to be a sign some twenty feet high and a whole block long.
No sir, not one, and I can find no sign of the Triassic period.
There was no sign of the body of Andrew Lanning among the rocks.
They remembered the rifle of Andrew and had gone on without making a sign.
- something that indicates or acts as a token of a fact, condition, etc, that is not immediately or outwardly observable
- 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
- an arbitrary or conventional mark or device that stands for a word, phrase, etc
- maths logic
- any symbol indicating an operationa plus sign; an implication sign
- the positivity or negativity of a number, quantity, or expressionsubtraction from zero changes the sign of an expression
- an indication or vestigethe house showed no signs of being occupied
- a portentous or significant event
- an indication, such as a scent or spoor, of the presence of an animal
- med any objective evidence of the presence of a disease or disorderCompare symptom (def. 1)
- astrology Compare sign of the zodiac
- to write (one's name) as a signature to (a document, etc) in attestation, confirmation, ratification, etc
- (intr often foll by to) to make a sign; signal
- to engage or be engaged by written agreement, as a player for a team, etc
- (tr) to outline in gestures a sign over, esp the sign of the cross
- (tr) to indicate by or as if by a sign; betoken
- (intr) to use sign language
Word Origin and History for sign
early 13c., "gesture or motion of the hand," especially one meant to communicate something, from Old French signe "sign, mark," from Latin signum "identifying mark, token, indication, symbol; proof; military standard, ensign; a signal, an omen; sign in the heavens, constellation," according to Watkins, literally "standard that one follows," from PIE *sekw-no-, from root *sekw- (1) "to follow" (see sequel).
Ousted native token. Meaning "a mark or device having some special importance" is recorded from late 13c.; that of "a miracle" is from c.1300. Zodiacal sense in English is from mid-14c. Sense of "characteristic device attached to the front of an inn, shop, etc., to distinguish it from others" is first recorded mid-15c. Meaning "token or signal of some condition" (late 13c.) is behind sign of the times (1520s). In some uses, the word probably is a shortening of ensign. Sign language is recorded from 1847; earlier hand-language (1670s).
c.1300, "to make the sign of the cross," from Old French signier "to make a sign (to someone); to mark," from Latin signare "to set a mark upon, mark out, designate; mark with a stamp; distinguish, adorn;" figuratively "to point out, signify, indicate," from signum (see sign (n.)). Sense of "to mark, stamp" is attested from mid-14c.; that of "to affix one's name" is from late 15c. Meaning "to communicate by hand signs" is recorded from 1700. Related: Signed; signing.
- An objective finding, usually detected on physical examination, from a laboratory test, or on an x-ray, that indicates the presence of abnormality or disease.
- A body manifestation, usually detected on physical examination or through laboratory tests or xrays, that indicates the presence of abnormality or disease. Compare symptom.
- See symbol. See Table at symbol.
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
- high sign
- show signs of