[sig-nuh-cher, -choo r]
See more synonyms for signature on
  1. a person's name, or a mark representing it, as signed personally or by deputy, as in subscribing a letter or other document.
  2. the act of signing a document.
  3. Music. a sign or set of signs at the beginning of a staff to indicate the key or the time of a piece.
  4. Radio. a song, musical arrangement, sound effect, etc., used as a theme identifying a program.
  5. any unique, distinguishing aspect, feature, or mark.
  6. Medicine/Medical. that part of a written prescription that specifies directions for use.
  7. Biology, Medicine/Medical. a distinctive characteristic or set of characteristics by which a biological structure or medical condition is recognized.
  8. Also called section. Bookbinding. a printed sheet folded to page size for binding together, with other such sheets, to form a book, magazine, etc.
  9. Printing.
    1. a letter or other symbol generally placed by the printer at the foot of the first page of every sheet to guide the binder in folding the sheets and in gathering them in sequence.
    2. a sheet so marked.
  10. Chemistry, Physics. a characteristic trace or sign that indicates the presence of a substance or the occurrence of a physical process or event: The satellite recorded a spectrum that is the signature of a nuclear explosion.
  1. serving to identify or distinguish a person, group, etc.: a signature tune.

Origin of signature

1525–35; < Medieval Latin signātūra a signing, equivalent to Latin signāt(us) past participle of signāre to mark (see sign, -ate1) + -ūra -ure
Related formssig·na·ture·less, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for signature

Contemporary Examples of signature

Historical Examples of signature

  • He cannot deny having had the book, for you have his own signature to prove it.

  • The nicest inspection could not discover any difference in the signature or seal.

  • The signature was extended in full, with the surname blackly underlined.

    The Cavalier

    George Washington Cable

  • Suddenly he opened his eyes again, and stared hard at the signature.

    The Mystery of Murray Davenport

    Robert Neilson Stephens

  • I went through it all, until I made 'em understand they must have my signature at my own price.

    People of Position

    Stanley Portal Hyatt

British Dictionary definitions for signature


  1. the name of a person or a mark or sign representing his name, marked by himself or by an authorized deputy
  2. the act of signing one's name
    1. a distinctive mark, characteristic, etc, that identifies a person or thing
    2. (as modifier)a signature fragrance
  3. music See key signature, time signature
  4. US the part of a medical prescription that instructs a patient how frequently and in what amounts he should take a drug or agentAbbreviation: Sig, S
  5. printing
    1. a sheet of paper printed with several pages that upon folding will become a section or sections of a book
    2. such a sheet so folded
    3. a mark, esp a letter, printed on the first page of a signature

Word Origin for signature

C16: from Old French, from Medieval Latin signātura, from Latin signāre to sign
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

Word Origin and History for signature

1530s, a kind of document in Scottish law, from Middle French signature (16c.) or directly from Medieval Latin signatura "signature, a rescript," in classical Latin "the matrix of a seal," from signatus, past participle of signare "to mark with a stamp, sign" (see sign (v.)).

Meaning "one's own name written in one's own hand" is from 1570s, replacing sign-manual (early 15c.) in this sense. Musical sense of "signs placed it the beginning of a staff to indicate the key and rhythm" is from 1806. Meaning "a distinguishing mark of any kind" is from 1620s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

signature in Medicine


  1. The part of a physician's prescription containing directions to the patient.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.