Pronunciation Noun


  1. (sometimes, also used uncountably) A visible indication.
    Their angry expressions were a clear sign they didn't want to talk.
    Those clouds show signs of raining soon.
    Those clouds show little sign of raining soon.
    Signs of disease are objective, whereas symptoms are subjective.
    The sharp sign indicates that the pitch of the note is raised a half step.
    I gave them a thumbs-up sign.
  2. (North America, AU, uncountable) Physical evidence left by an animal.
    The hunters found deer sign at the end of the trail.
  3. A clearly visible object, generally flat, bearing a short message in words or pictures.
    The sign in the window advertised a room for rent.
    • 18, Thomas Babington Macaulay, chapter 3, in The History of England from the Accession of James the Second, volume (please specify ), London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, OCLC 1069526323 ↗:
    I missed the sign at the corner so I took the wrong turn.
  4. A wonder; miracle; prodigy.
    • 1611, King James Version, Exodus 4:17:
      And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs.
  5. (astrology) An astrological sign.
    Your sign is Taurus? That's no surprise.
  6. (mathematics) Positive or negative polarity, as denoted by the + or - sign.
    I got the magnitude right, but the sign was wrong.
  7. A specific gesture or motion used to communicate by those with speaking or hearing difficulties; now specifically, a linguistic unit in sign language equivalent to word in spoken languages.
    • 1603, Michel de Montaigne, chapter 12, in John Florio, transl., The Essayes, […], book II, printed at London: By Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount […], OCLC 946730821 ↗:
      And why not, as well as our dumbe men dispute, argue and tell histories by signes?
    • 2007, Marcel Danesi, The Quest for Meaning:
      In American Sign Language (ASL), for instance, the sign for 'catch' is formed with one hand (in the role of agent) moving across the body (an action) to grasp the forefinger of the other hand (the patient).
  8. (uncountable) Sign language in general.
    Sorry, I don't know sign very well.
  9. An omen.
    "It's a sign of the end of the world," the doom prophet said.
  10. (medicine) A property of the body that indicates a disease and, unlike a symptom, is unlikely to be noticed by the patient.
  11. A military emblem carried on a banner or standard.
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  • Russian: признак
Translations Translations Verb

sign (signs, present participle signing; past and past participle signed)

  1. To make a mark
    1. (transitive, now rare) To seal (a document etc.) with an identifying seal or symbol. [from 13th c.]
      The Queen signed her letter with the regal signet.
    2. (transitive) To mark, to put or leave a mark on. [from 14th c.]
      • 1726, Elijah Fenton, The Odyssey of Homer:
        Meantime revolving in his thoughtful mind / The scar, with which his manly knee was sign'd […].
    3. (transitive) To validate or ratify (a document) by writing one's signature on it. [from 15th c.]
      • c. 1597, William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice:
        Enquire the Iewes house out, giue him this deed, / And let him signe it […].
    4. (transitive) More generally, to write one's signature on (something) as a means of identification etc. [from 15th c.]
      I forgot to sign that letter to my aunt.
    5. (transitive or reflexive) To write (one's name) as a signature. [from 16th c.]
      Just sign your name at the bottom there.
      I received a letter from some woman who signs herself ‘Mrs Trellis’.
    6. (intransitive) To write one's signature. [from 17th c.]
      Please sign on the dotted line.
    7. (intransitive) To finalise a contractual agreement to work for a given sports team, record label etc. [from 19th c.]
      • 2011, The Guardian, (headline), 18 Oct 2011:
        Agents say Wales back Gavin Henson has signed for Cardiff Blues.
    8. (transitive) To engage (a sports player, musician etc.) in a contract. [from 19th c.]
      It was a great month. I managed to sign three major players.
  2. To make the sign of the cross
    1. (transitive) To bless (someone or something) with the sign of the cross; to mark with the sign of the cross. [from 14th c.]
      • We receive this child into the congregation of Christ's flock, and do sign him with the sign of the cross.
      • 1971, Keith Thomas (historian), Religion and the Decline of Magic, Folio Society 2012, p. 34:
        At the baptismal ceremony the child was […] signed with the cross in holy water.
    2. (reflexive) To cross oneself. [from 15th c.]
      • 1855, Robert Browning, Men and Women:
        Shaking a fist at him with one fierce arm, / Signing himself with the other because of Christ.
  3. To indicate
    1. (intransitive) To communicate using a gesture or signal. [from 16th c.]
      • 1815 February 23, [Walter Scott], Guy Mannering; or, The Astrologer. [...] In Three Volumes, volume (please specify ), Edinburgh: Printed by James Ballantyne and Co. for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, […]; and Archibald Constable and Co., […], OCLC 742335644 ↗:
    2. (transitive) To communicate or make known (a meaning, intention, etc.) by a sign.
    3. (transitive) To communicate using gestures to (someone). [from 16th c.]
      He signed me that I should follow him through the doorway.
    4. (intransitive) To use sign language. [from 19th c.]
    5. (transitive) To furnish (a road etc.) with signs. [from 20th c.]
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  • French: faire signer
Translations Translations

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