I. noun Etymology: Middle English signe, from Anglo-French, from Latin signum mark, token, sign, image, seal; perhaps akin to Latin secare to cut — more at saw Date: 13th century 1. a. a motion or gesture by which a thought is expressed or a command or wish made known b. signal 2a c. a fundamental linguistic unit that designates an object or relation or has a purely syntactic function <
signs include words, morphemes, and punctuation
d. one of a set of gestures used to represent language; also sign language 2. a mark having a conventional meaning and used in place of words or to represent a complex notion 3. one of the 12 divisions of the zodiac 4. a. (1) a character (as a flat or sharp) used in musical notation (2) segno b. a character (as ÷) indicating a mathematical operation; also one of two characters + and - that form part of the symbol of a number and characterize it as positive or negative 5. a. a display (as a lettered board or a configuration of neon tubing) used to identify or advertise a place of business or a product b. a posted command, warning, or direction c. signboard 6. a. something material or external that stands for or signifies something spiritual b. something indicating the presence or existence of something else <
signs of success
a sign of the times
c. presage, portent <
signs of an early spring
d. an objective evidence of plant or animal disease 7. plural usually sign traces of a usually wild animal <
red fox sign
Synonyms: sign, mark, token, note, symptom mean a discernible indication of what is not itself directly perceptible. sign applies to any indication to be perceived by the senses or the reason <
encouraging signs for the economy
. mark suggests something impressed on or inherently characteristic of a thing often in contrast to general outward appearance <
a mark of a good upbringing
. token applies to something that serves as a proof of something intangible <
this gift is a token of our esteem
. note suggests a distinguishing mark or characteristic <
a note of irony in her writing
. symptom suggests an outward indication of an internal change or condition <
rampant crime is a symptom of that city's decay
. II. verb Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French signer, from Latin signare to mark, sign, seal, from signum Date: 13th century transitive verb 1. a. cross 2 b. to place a sign on or mark by signs <
sign a trail
c. to represent or indicate by a sign 2. a. to affix a signature to ; ratify or attest by hand or seal <
sign a bill into law
sign a confession
b. to assign or convey formally <
signed over his property to his brother
c. to write down (one's name) d. to affix one's name to <
a signed review
3. to communicate by making a sign or by sign language 4. to engage or hire by securing the signature of on a contract of employment — often used with up or on intransitive verb 1. to write one's name in token of assent, responsibility, or obligation <
signed for the packages
signed with the team for one season
2. a. to make a sign or signal b. to use sign language • signee nounsigner noun

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • sign — [sīn] n. [ME signe < OFr < L signum, a mark, token, prob. < base of secare, to cut (see SAW1): orig. sense prob. “incised mark”] 1. something that indicates a fact, quality, etc.; indication; token [black as a sign of mourning] 2. a) a… …   English World dictionary

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  • sign — n 1 Sign, mark, token, badge, note, symptom can denote a sensible and usually visible indication by means of which something not outwardly apparent or obvious is made known or revealed. Sign is the most comprehensive of these terms, being… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

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  • Sign — Sign, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Signed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Signing}.] [OE. seinen to bless, originally, to make the sign of the cross over; in this sense fr. ASS. segnian (from segn, n.), or OF. seignier, F. signer, to mark, to sign (in sense 3), fr. L …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • sign — ► NOUN 1) a thing whose presence or occurrence indicates the probable presence, occurrence, or advent of something else. 2) a signal, gesture, or notice conveying information or an instruction. 3) a symbol or word used to represent something in… …   English terms dictionary

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  • Sign — Sign, v. i. 1. To be a sign or omen. [Obs.] Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. To make a sign or signal; to communicate directions or intelligence by signs. [1913 Webster] 3. To write one s name, esp. as a token of assent, responsibility, or obligation.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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