sign

A sign is a clue something happened, or a display that communicates a message, like a stop sign that tells you stop. To sign also means to write your signature.

The word sign has many senses, but in a general, it usually has something to say. It may be a symptom that tells about a problem, or it may just be a symbol, like the plus and minus signs in math. Sign language uses hand signals to represent words and letters. And if thunder rumbles whenever you open that book, you may take it as a sign not to read it.

PRIMARY MEANINGS OF: sign

1
n
a perceptible indication of something not immediately apparent (as a visible clue that something has happened)
2
nvadj
a fundamental linguistic unit linking a signifier to that which is signified
communicate silently and non-verbally by signals or signs
used of the language of the deaf
3
nv
a public display of a message
place signs, as along a road
4
v
mark with one's signature; write one's name (on)
5
n
(astrology) one of 12 equal areas into which the zodiac is divided
6
n
having an indicated pole (as the distinction between positive and negative electric charges)
7
v
make the sign of the cross over someone in order to call on God for protection; consecrate
FULL DEFINITIONS OF: sign
1

n a perceptible indication of something not immediately apparent (as a visible clue that something has happened)

“he showed signs of strain”
“they welcomed the signs of spring”
Synonyms:
mark
Types:
token
something serving as a sign of something else
Type of:
clew, clue, cue
evidence that helps to solve a problem

n a character indicating a relation between quantities

“don't forget the minus sign
Types:
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equal sign
a sign indicating that the quantities on either side are equal
plus sign
a sign indicating the operation of addition
minus sign
a sign indicating the operation of subtraction
radical sign
a sign indicating the extraction of a root
Type of:
mathematical notation
a notation used by mathematicians

n (medicine) any objective evidence of the presence of a disorder or disease

“there were no signs of asphyxiation”
Types:
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vital sign
sign of life; usually an indicator of a person's general physical condition
blood heat, body temperature
temperature of the body; normally 98.6 F or 37 C in humans; usually measured to obtain a quick evaluation of a person's health
blood pressure
the pressure of the circulating blood against the walls of the blood vessels; results from the systole of the left ventricle of the heart; sometimes measured for a quick evaluation of a person's health
heart rate, pulse, pulse rate
the rate at which the heart beats; usually measured to obtain a quick evaluation of a person's health
rate of respiration, respiratory rate
the rate at which a person inhales and exhales; usually measured to obtain a quick evaluation of a person's health
Type of:
evidence, grounds
your basis for belief or disbelief; knowledge on which to base belief

n an event that is experienced as indicating important things to come

“it was a sign from God”
Synonyms:
augury, foretoken, preindication
Types:
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war cloud
an ominous sign that war threatens
omen, portent, presage, prodigy, prognostic, prognostication
a sign of something about to happen
auspice
a favorable omen
foreboding
an unfavorable omen
death knell
an omen of death or destruction
Type of:
experience
an event as apprehended
2

n a fundamental linguistic unit linking a signifier to that which is signified

Type of:
language unit, linguistic unit
one of the natural units into which linguistic messages can be analyzed

n a gesture that is part of a sign language

Type of:
gesture, motion
the use of movements (especially of the hands) to communicate familiar or prearranged signals

n any nonverbal action or gesture that encodes a message

Synonyms:
signal, signaling
Examples:
British Crown
the symbol of the power of the British monarchy
Types:
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recording
a signal that encodes something (e.g., picture or sound) that has been recorded
number, phone number, telephone number
the number is used in calling a particular telephone
start, starting signal
a signal to begin (as in a race)
storm signal
a signal announcing the approach of a storm (particularly a storm of marked violence)
beam, radio beam
a signal transmitted along a narrow path; guides airplane pilots in darkness or bad weather
ticktack
system of signalling by hand signs used by bookmakers at racetracks
time signal
a signal (especially electronic or by radio) indicating the precisely correct time
dog-ear
a corner of a page turned down to mark your place
animal communication
communication between animals (of the same species)
alarm, alarum, alert, warning signal
an automatic signal (usually a sound) warning of danger
distress call, distress signal
an internationally recognized signal sent out by a ship or plane indicating that help is needed
all clear
a signal (usually a siren) that danger is over
bugle call
a signal broadcast by the sound of a bugle
curfew
a signal (usually a bell) announcing the start of curfew restrictions
retreat
(military) a signal to begin a withdrawal from a dangerous position
drumbeat
(military) the beating of a drum as a signal for lowering the flag at sundown
radiotelegraphic signal, telegraphic signal
a signal transmitted by telegraphy
whistle, whistling
the act of signalling (e.g., summoning) by whistling or blowing a whistle
high sign
a silent signal of warning or recognition
symbol
an arbitrary sign (written or printed) that has acquired a conventional significance
visual signal
a signal that involves visual communication
indicator
a signal for attracting attention
electronic signal
a signal generated by electronic means
radio beacon
a characteristic signal emitted by a transmitter used for navigation
input, input signal
signal going into an electronic system
output, output signal
signal that comes out of an electronic system
bologram, bolograph
record or recording made by a bolometer
chromatogram
the recording (column or paper strip) on which the constituents of a mixture are adsorbed in chromatography
oscillogram
the recording produced by an oscillograph
spirogram
a recording of breathing made with a spirograph
torpedo
a small explosive device that is placed on a railroad track and fires when a train runs over it; the sound of the explosion warns the engineer of danger ahead
stock symbol
the letters used to identify listed companies on the securities exchanges where they are traded
accolade, award, honor, honour, laurels
a tangible symbol signifying approval or distinction
storm cone
a canvas cone hoisted to warn of high winds
brand, mark, stain, stigma
a symbol of disgrace or infamy
item, token
an individual instance of a type of symbol
type
all of the tokens of the same symbol
birdcall, birdsong, call, song
the characteristic sound produced by a bird
air alert
the warning signal that begins a period of preparation for an enemy air attack
burglar alarm
a loud warning signal produced by a burglar alarm
SOS
an internationally recognized distress signal in radio code
Mayday
an internationally recognized distress signal via radiotelephone (from the French m'aider)
recall
a bugle call that signals troops to return
lights-out, taps
(military) signal to turn the lights out
reveille, wake-up signal
(military) signal to wake up
retreat
(military) a bugle call signaling the lowering of the flag at sunset
tattoo
a drumbeat or bugle call that signals the military to return to their quarters
dit, dot
the shorter of the two telegraphic signals used in Morse code
dah, dash
the longer of the two telegraphic signals used in Morse code
nose
a symbol of inquisitiveness
number, numeral
a symbol used to represent a number
symbolism
a system of symbols and symbolic representations
lingam
the Hindu phallic symbol of Siva
pound, pound sign
a symbol for a unit of currency (especially for the pound sterling in Great Britain)
printed symbol, written symbol
a written or printed symbol
dollar, dollar mark, dollar sign
a symbol of commercialism or greed
monogram
a graphic symbol consisting of 2 or more letters combined (usually your initials); printed on stationery or embroidered on clothing
impression, stamp
a symbol that is the result of printing or engraving
watch fire
a fire lighted at night as a signal
light
a visual warning signal
red light, warning light
a cautionary sign of danger
flare, flash
a burst of light used to communicate or illuminate
flag, signal flag
a rectangular piece of fabric used as a signalling device
mantle
the cloak as a symbol of authority
Crown
the Crown (or the reigning monarch) as the symbol of the power and authority of a monarchy
air sock, air-sleeve, drogue, sock, wind cone, wind sleeve, wind sock, windsock
a truncated cloth cone mounted on a mast; used (e.g., at airports) to show the direction of the wind
post, stake
a pole or stake set up to mark something (as the start or end of a race track)
point of reference, reference, reference point
an indicator that orients you generally
blinker, trafficator, turn indicator, turn signal
a blinking light on a motor vehicle that indicates the direction in which the vehicle is about to turn
armband
worn around arm as identification or to indicate mourning
rocket, skyrocket
propels bright light high in the sky, or used to propel a lifesaving line or harpoon
radar echo
an electronic signal that has been reflected back to the radar antenna; contains information about the location and distance of the reflecting object
racon, radar beacon
a device that, on receiving radar signals, transmits coded signals in response to help navigators determine their position
beacon, beacon fire
a fire (usually on a hill or tower) that can be seen from a distance
printout
the output of a computer in printed form
read-out, readout
the output of a computer in readable form
fire alarm
a shout or bell to warn that fire has broken out
foghorn, fogsignal
a loud low warning signal that can be heard by fogbound ships
horn
a noise made by the driver of an automobile to give warning;
red flag
a flag that serves as a warning signal
siren
a warning signal that is a loud wailing sound
alarm bell, tocsin
the sound of an alarm (usually a bell)
brake light, stoplight
a red light on the rear of a motor vehicle that signals when the brakes are applied to slow or stop
barber's pole
striped pole outside a barbershop
staff
a rod carried as a symbol
icon
(computer science) a graphic symbol (usually a simple picture) that denotes a program or a command or a data file or a concept in a graphical user interface
mark, marker, marking
a distinguishing symbol
identifier
a symbol that establishes the identity of the one bearing it
variable
a symbol (like x or y) that is used in mathematical or logical expressions to represent a variable quantity
Type of:
communication
something that is communicated by or to or between people or groups

v communicate silently and non-verbally by signals or signs

“He signed his disapproval with a dismissive hand gesture”
Synonyms:
signal, signalise, signalize
Types:
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wigwag
signal by or as if by a flag or light waved according to a code
semaphore
send signals by or as if by semaphore
heliograph
signal by means of a mirror and the using the sun's rays
flag
communicate or signal with a flag
whistle
give a signal by whistling
Type of:
communicate, intercommunicate
transmit thoughts or feelings

v communicate in sign language

“I don't know how to sign, so I could not communicate with my deaf cousin”
Type of:
communicate, intercommunicate
transmit thoughts or feelings

adj used of the language of the deaf

Synonyms:
gestural, sign-language, signed
communicative, communicatory
able or tending to communicate
3

n a public display of a message

“he posted signs in all the shop windows”
Types:
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bill, card, notice, placard, poster, posting
a sign posted in a public place as an advertisement
street sign
a sign visible from the street
guidepost, signpost
a post bearing a sign that gives directions or shows the way
show bill, show card, theatrical poster
a poster advertising a show or play
flash card, flashcard
a card with words or numbers or pictures that is flashed to a class by the teacher
address
a sign in front of a house or business carrying the conventional form by which its location is described
fingerboard, fingerpost
a guidepost resembling a hand with a pointing index finger
Type of:
communication
something that is communicated by or to or between people or groups

n structure displaying a board on which advertisements can be posted

Synonyms:
signboard
Types:
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billboard, hoarding
large outdoor signboard
sandwich board
signboard consisting of two hinged boards that hang front and back from the shoulders of a walker and are used to display advertisements
scoreboard
a large board for displaying the score of a contest (and some other information)
shingle
a small signboard outside the office of a lawyer or doctor, e.g.
Type of:
construction, structure
a thing constructed; a complex entity constructed of many parts

v place signs, as along a road

sign an intersection”
“This road has been signed
Type of:
lay, place, pose, position, put, set
put into a certain place or abstract location
4

v mark with one's signature; write one's name (on)

“She signed the letter and sent it off”
“Please sign here”
Synonyms:
subscribe
Types:
rubricate
sign with a mark instead of a name
Type of:
write
communicate or express by writing

v approve and express assent, responsibility, or obligation

“Have you signed your contract yet?”
Synonyms:
ratify
Type of:
formalise, formalize, validate
declare or make legally valid

v engage by written agreement

“They signed two new pitchers for the next season”
Synonyms:
contract, sign on, sign up
Types:
contract out
assign a job to someone outside one's own business
Type of:
employ, engage, hire
engage or hire for work

v be engaged by a written agreement

“He signed to play the casino on Dec. 18”
“The soprano signed to sing the new opera”
Types:
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undersign
sign at the bottom of (a document)
ink
append one's signature to
autograph, inscribe
mark with one's signature
initial
mark with one's initials
countersign
add one's signature to after another's to attest authenticity
execute
sign in the presence of witnesses
endorse, indorse
sign as evidence of legal transfer
co-sign, cosign
sign and endorse (another person's signature), as for a loan
visa
provide (a passport) with a visa
Type of:
contract, undertake
enter into a contractual arrangement
5

n (astrology) one of 12 equal areas into which the zodiac is divided

Synonyms:
house, mansion, planetary house, sign of the zodiac, star sign
Examples:
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Aries the Ram
the first sign of the zodiac which the sun enters at the vernal equinox; the sun is in this sign from about March 21 to April 19
Taurus the Bull
the second sign of the zodiac; the sun is in this sign from about April 20 to May 20
Gemini the Twins
the third sign of the zodiac; the sun is in this sign from about May 21 to June 20
Cancer the Crab
the fourth sign of the zodiac; the sun is in this sign from about June 21 to July 22
Leo the Lion
the fifth sign of the zodiac; the sun is in this sign from about July 23 to August 22
Virgo the Virgin
the sixth sign of the zodiac; the sun is in this sign from about August 23 to September 22
Libra the Balance
the seventh sign of the zodiac; the sun is in this sign from about September 23 to October 22
Scorpio the Scorpion
the eighth sign of the zodiac; the sun is in this sign from about October 23 to November 21
Sagittarius the Archer
the ninth sign of the zodiac; the sun is in this sign from about November 22 to December 21
Capricorn the Goat
the tenth sign of the zodiac; the sun is in this sign from about December 22 to January 19
Aquarius the Water Bearer
the eleventh sign of the zodiac; the sun is in this sign from about January 20 to February 18
Pisces the Fishes
the twelfth sign of the zodiac; the sun is in this sign from about February 19 to March 20
Type of:
part, region
the extended spatial location of something
6

n having an indicated pole (as the distinction between positive and negative electric charges)

“charges of opposite sign
Synonyms:
polarity
Types:
positiveness, positivity
the character of the positive electric pole
negativeness, negativity
the character of the negative electric pole
Type of:
oppositeness, opposition
the relation between opposed entities
7

v make the sign of the cross over someone in order to call on God for protection; consecrate

Synonyms:
bless
Type of:
gesticulate, gesture, motion
show, express or direct through movement
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