Sign Sign, n. [F. signe, L. signum; cf. AS. segen, segn, a sign, standard, banner, also fr. L. signum. Cf. {Ensign}, {Resign}, {Seal} a stamp, {Signal}, {Signet}.] That by which anything is made known or represented; that which furnishes evidence; a mark; a token; an indication; a proof. Specifically: (a) A remarkable event, considered by the ancients as indicating the will of some deity; a prodigy; an omen. (b) An event considered by the Jews as indicating the divine will, or as manifesting an interposition of the divine power for some special end; a miracle; a wonder. [1913 Webster]

Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God. --Rom. xv. 19. [1913 Webster]

It shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign. --Ex. iv. 8. [1913 Webster] (c) Something serving to indicate the existence, or preserve the memory, of a thing; a token; a memorial; a monument. [1913 Webster]

What time the fire devoured two hundred and fifty men, and they became a sign. --Num. xxvi. 10. [1913 Webster] (d) Any symbol or emblem which prefigures, typifles, or represents, an idea; a type; hence, sometimes, a picture. [1913 Webster]

The holy symbols, or signs, are not barely significative; but what they represent is as certainly delivered to us as the symbols themselves. --Brerewood. [1913 Webster]

Saint George of Merry England, the sign of victory. --Spenser. [1913 Webster] (e) A word or a character regarded as the outward manifestation of thought; as, words are the sign of ideas. (f) A motion, an action, or a gesture by which a thought is expressed, or a command or a wish made known. [1913 Webster]

They made signs to his father, how he would have him called. --Luke i. 62. [1913 Webster] (g) Hence, one of the gestures of pantomime, or of a language of a signs such as those used by the North American Indians, or those used by the deaf and dumb. [1913 Webster]

Note: Educaters of the deaf distinguish between natural signs, which serve for communicating ideas, and methodical, or systematic, signs, adapted for the dictation, or the rendering, of written language, word by word; and thus the signs are to be distinguished from the manual alphabet, by which words are spelled on the fingers. [1913 Webster] (h) A military emblem carried on a banner or a standard. --Milton. (i) A lettered board, or other conspicuous notice, placed upon or before a building, room, shop, or office to advertise the business there transacted, or the name of the person or firm carrying it on; a publicly displayed token or notice. [1913 Webster]

The shops were, therefore, distinguished by painted signs, which gave a gay and grotesque aspect to the streets. --Macaulay. [1913 Webster] (j) (Astron.) The twelfth part of the ecliptic or zodiac. [1913 Webster]

Note: The signs are reckoned from the point of intersection of the ecliptic and equator at the vernal equinox, and are named, respectively, {Aries} ([Aries]), {Taurus} ([Taurus]), {Gemini} (II), {Cancer} ([Cancer]), {Leo} ([Leo]), {Virgo} ([Virgo]), {Libra} ([Libra]), {Scorpio} ([Scorpio]), {Sagittarius} ([Sagittarius]), {Capricornus ([Capricorn]), {Aquarius} ([Aquarius]), {Pisces} ([Pisces]). These names were originally the names of the constellations occupying severally the divisions of the zodiac, by which they are still retained; but, in consequence of the procession of the equinoxes, the signs have, in process of time, become separated about 30 degrees from these constellations, and each of the latter now lies in the sign next in advance, or to the east of the one which bears its name, as the constellation Aries in the sign Taurus, etc. [1913 Webster] (k) (Alg.) A character indicating the relation of quantities, or an operation performed upon them; as, the sign + (plus); the sign -- (minus); the sign of division /, and the like. (l) (Med.) An objective evidence of disease; that is, one appreciable by some one other than the patient. [1913 Webster]

Note: The terms symptom and and sign are often used synonymously; but they may be discriminated. A sign differs from a symptom in that the latter is perceived only by the patient himself. The term sign is often further restricted to the purely local evidences of disease afforded by direct examination of the organs involved, as distinguished from those evidence of general disturbance afforded by observation of the temperature, pulse, etc. In this sense it is often called physical sign. [1913 Webster] (m) (Mus.) Any character, as a flat, sharp, dot, etc. (n) (Theol.) That which, being external, stands for, or signifies, something internal or spiritual; -- a term used in the Church of England in speaking of an ordinance considered with reference to that which it represents. [1913 Webster]

An outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. --Bk. of Common Prayer. [1913 Webster]

Note: See the Table of {Arbitrary Signs}, p. 1924. [1913 Webster]

{Sign manual}. (a) (Eng. Law) The royal signature superscribed at the top of bills of grants and letter patent, which are then sealed with the privy signet or great seal, as the case may be, to complete their validity. (b) The signature of one's name in one's own handwriting. --Craig. Tomlins. Wharton. [1913 Webster]

Syn: Token; mark; note; symptom; indication; signal; symbol; type; omen; prognostic; presage; manifestation. See {Emblem}. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


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