General English

  • noun something which shows that something is happening or has happened


  • verb to write your name in a special way on a document to show that you have written it or approved it


  • noun a small quantity or amount of a something which may suggest the existence of a much larger quantity
  • noun a display with letters and/or numbers, sometimes lit up
  • verb to put one’s signature on a document, a letter, etc.


  • noun a board or notice which advertises something


  • noun polarity of a number or signal, either positive or negative
  • verb to identify yourself to a computer using a personalised signature


  • A board or surface displaying directions, instructions, identification, or advertising.
  • A warning of hazard, temporarily or permanently affixed or placed at a location where a hazard exists.


  • Anything, such as a symbol, action, condition, state, or the like, intended to convey information.
  • A symbol, such as + or x, used in mathematics to denote an operation.
  • The positive or negative nature of a number. Also, the symbols, + and -, which indicate this nature.
  • To affix or append a signature, such as that in an email.

Health Economics

  • (written as Sign)
    Indications of disease that can be seen or measured by a person other than the one experiencing them (e.g. high blood pressure, fever, or skin rash).
  • acronym forScottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network
    (written as SIGN)

Information & Library Science

  • noun a piece of wood, plastic or metal with words or pictures on it giving information

Media Studies

  • noun in semiology, a term used to express the existence of a symbol (a signifier) and the existence of an object or concept which it represents (the referent or signified)
  • noun a publicly displayed structure carrying lettering or designs intended to advertise a business or product, e.g. a painted board or neon lights


  • noun a movement, mark, colouring or change which has a meaning and can be recognised by a doctor as indicating a condition
  • verb to write your name on a document such as a form or cheque, or at the end of a letter


  • noun written words or symbols painted or printed on a board or on the surface of an object, in order to convey information (such as direction, identity of a unit, location of a minefield, etc.)
  • noun a gesture designed to convey a meaning
  • noun evidence of activity or the presence of something (such as blood, discarded equipment, vehicle tracks, etc.)


  • noun a movement of the hand or head, etc. which means something
  • noun an advertising board or panel showing the name of a shop

Origin & History of “sign”

Sign comes via Old French signe from Latin signum ‘mark’. It already had the meaning ‘mark denoting something’ in Latin, and it was in this sense that it entered English, gradually ousting the native word token. The verb sign goes back ultimately to the Latin derivative signāre ‘mark’. English acquired it in the 14th century, and first used it for ‘write one’s name’ in the 15th century. other related forms in English include assign (14th c.), consign (15th c.), design, ensign (14th c.), insignia (17th c.), resign (14th c.) (in which the prefix re- has the force of ‘un-’), seal ‘wax impression, fastening’, signal, signatory (17th c.), signature (16th c.), signet (14th c.), significant (16th c.), and signify (13th c.). The ultimate source of Latin signum is uncertain. It was once assumed to go back to the Indo-European base *sek- ‘cut’ (source of English saw, section, etc), as if it denoted etymologically a ‘cut mark’, but now Indo-European *seq-‘point out’, hence ‘say, tell’ (source of English say) is viewed as a more likely ancestor.