1 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" [syn: mark]
2 a public display of a (usually written) message; "he posted signs in all the shop windows"
3 any communication that encodes a message; "signals from the boat suddenly stopped" [syn: signal, signaling]
4 structure displaying a board on which advertisements can be posted; "the highway was lined with signboards" [syn: signboard]
5 (astrology) one of 12 equal areas into which the zodiac is divided [syn: sign of the zodiac, star sign, mansion, house, planetary house]
6 (medicine) any objective evidence of the presence of a disorder or disease; "there were no signs of asphixiation"
7 having an indicated pole (as the distinction between positive and negative electric charges); "he got the polarity of the battery reversed"; "charges of opposite sign" [syn: polarity]
8 an event that is experienced as indicating important things to come; "he hoped it was an augury"; "it was a sign from God" [syn: augury, foretoken, preindication]
9 a gesture that is part of a sign language
10 a fundamental linguistic unit linking a signifier to that which is signified; "The bond between the signifier and the signified is arbitrary"--de Saussure
11 a character indicating a relation between quantities; "don't forget the minus sign"
1 mark with one's signature; write one's name (on); "She signed the letter and sent it off"; "Please sign here" [syn: subscribe]
2 approve and express assent, responsibility, or obligation; "All parties ratified the peace treaty"; "Have you signed your contract yet?" [syn: ratify]
3 be engaged by a written agreement; "He signed to play the casino on Dec. 18"; "The soprano signed to sing the new opera"
4 engage by written agreement; "They signed two new pitchers for the next season" [syn: contract, sign on, sign up]
5 communicate silently and non-verbally by signals or signs; "He signed his disapproval with a dismissive hand gesture"; "The diner signaled the waiters to bring the menu" [syn: signal, signalize, signalise]
6 place signs, as along a road; "sign an intersection"; "This road has been signed"
7 communicate in sign language; "I don't know how to sign, so I could not communicate with my deaf cousin"
8 make the sign of the cross over someone in order to call on God for protection; consecrate [syn: bless]
- Rhymes: -aɪn
- (sometimes also used uncountably) A visible indication.
- Their angry expressions were a clear sign they didn't want to
- Those clouds show signs of raining soon.
- Those clouds show little sign of raining soon.
- Those clouds show signs of raining soon.
- Their angry expressions were a clear sign they didn't want to talk.
- A clearly visible object, generally flat, bearing a short
message in words or pictures.
- The sign in the window said "for rent".
- A traffic
- I missed the sign at the corner so I took the wrong turn.
- A meaningful gesture.
- I gave them a thumbs-up sign.
- Any of several specialized non-alphabetic symbols.
- The sharp sign indicates that the pitch of the note is raised a half step.
- An astrological
- Your sign is Taurus? That's no surprise.
- Positive or negative polarity.
- I got the magnitude right, but the sign was wrong.
- A linguistic unit in sign
language equivalent to word in spoken languages.
- What's the sign for "computer"?
language in general
- Sorry, I don't know sign very well.
- An omen.
- "It's a sign of the end of the world," the doom prophet said.
A visible indication
- Chinese: 標誌, 标志 (biǎozhì)
- Dutch: teken
- Esperanto: signo
- Ewe: dzesi
- Finnish: merkki, osoitus
- French: signe
- German: Zeichen , Anzeichen
- Hungarian: jel
- Italian: segno
- Japanese: 印 (shirushi)
- Korean: 신호 (sinho)
- Old English: mǣl
- Portuguese: sinal
- Russian: знак (znak)
- Spanish: signo , muestra
- Swedish: tecken
- Telugu: సూచన (soocana)
A clearly visible object
A traffic sign
A meaningful gesture
Any of several specialized non-alphabetic symbols
An astrological sign
Positive or negative polarity
A linguistic unit in sign language
- To write one's
signature on (a
document), thus showing authorship.
- I forgot to sign that letter to my aunt.
- To give legal consent by writing one's signature.
- I'm not signing anything without my lawyer present.
- To persuade to sign
- It was a great month. I managed to sign three major players.
- To write one's signature somewhere.
- Please sign on the dotted line.
- To give autographs.
- I'm sorry, I don't sign.
- To communicate using sign
- I'm learning to sign so I can talk to my new neighbor.
to give legal consent by writing one's signature
to persuade to sign a contract.
- Finnish: rekrytoida
to write one's signature somewhere
to communicate using sign language
- Finnish: viittoa
A sign is an entity which signifies another entity. A natural sign is an entity which bears a causal relation to the signified entity, as thunder is a sign of storm. A conventional sign signifies by agreement, as a full stop signifies the end of a sentence. (Contrast a symbol which stands for another thing, as a flag may be a symbol of a nation)
The way in which a sign signifies is a topic in philosophy of language, see also Meaning (linguistic).
Any given signifier or symbol is dependent upon that which is intended, expressed, or signified in a semiotic relationship of signification, significance, meaning, or import. Thus, for example, people may speak of the significance of events, the signification of characters, the meaning of sentences, or the import of a communication. These different relationships that exist between sorts of signs can help people and sorts of things that are signified can be called the modes of signification.
The range of uses of signs are varied. They might include: the indication or mark of something, a display of a message, a signal to draw attention, evidence of an underlying cause (for instance, the symptoms of a disease are signs of the disease), a character for a mathematical operation, a body gesture, etc.
Nature of signs
Semiotics, epistemology, logic, and philosophy of language are concerned about the nature of signs, what they are and how they signify. The nature of signs and symbols and significations, their definition, elements, and types, is mainly established by Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas. According to these classic sources, significance is a relationship between two sorts of things: signs and the kinds of things they signify (intend, express or mean), where one term necessarily causes something else to come to the mind. Distinguishing natural signs and conventional signs, the traditional theory of signs sets the following threefold partition of things:
- There are things that are just things, not any sign at all;
- There are things that are also signs of other things (as natural signs of the physical world and mental signs of the mind);
- There are things that are always signs, as languages (natural and artificial) and other cultural nonverbal symbols, as documents, money, ceremonies, and rites.
Thus there are things which may act as signs without any respect to the human agent (the things of the external world, all sorts of indications, evidences, symptoms, and physical signals), there are signs which are always signs (the entities of the mind as ideas and images, thoughts and feelings, constructs and intentions); and there are signs that have to get their signification (as linguistic entities and cultural symbols). So, while natural signs serve as the source of signification, the human mind is the agency through which signs signify naturally occurring things, such as objects, states, qualities, quantities, events, processes, or relationships. Human language and discourse, communication, philosophy, science, logic, mathematics, poetry, theology, and religion are only some of fields of human study and activity where grasping the nature of signs and symbols and patterns of signification may have a decisive value.
Types of signs
A sign can denote any of the following:
- Sign, in astrology: often used to mean the Sun sign
- Sign or signing, in communication: communicating via hand gestures, such as in sign language.
- Gang signal
- A signboard.
- A sign, in common use, is an indication that a previously observed event is about to occur again
- Sign, in divination and religion: an omen, an event or occurrence believed to foretell the future
- Sign, in ontology and spirituality: a coincidence; see synchronicity
- Sign (linguistics): a combination of a concept and a sound-image described by Ferdinand de Saussure
- In mathematics, the sign of a number tells whether it is positive or negative
- Signedness, in computing, is the property that a representation of a number has one bit, the sign bit, which denotes whether the number is non-negative or negative. A number is called signed if it contains a sign bit, otherwise unsigned. See also signed number representation
- In mathematics, the sign of a permutation tells whether it is the product of an even or odd number of transpositions
- Sign, in biology: an indication of some living thing's presence
- Medical sign, in medicine: objective evidence of the presence of a disease or disorder, as opposed to a symptom, which is subjective
- Sign (semiotics): the basic unit of meaning
- Information sign: a notice that instructs, advises, informs or warns people
- Traffic sign: a sign that instructs drivers; see also stop sign, speed limit sign, cross walk sign
- Sign, in a writing system: a basic unit. Similar terms which are more specific are character, letter or grapheme
- Commercial signage, including flashing signs, such as on a retail store, factory, or theatre
- Signature, in history: a handwritten depiction observed on a document to show authorship and will
- Commercial signage
- Neon sign
- Charles Sanders Peirce
- Claude Levi-Strauss
- Edmund Leach
- Ferdinand de Saussure
- Icon (computing)
- Interpretation of dreams
- List of symbols
- Map-territory relation
- Mary Douglas
- National symbol
- Religious symbolism
- Roland Barthes
- Traffic sign
sign in Czech: Znak
sign in Danish: Tegn
sign in German: Zeichen (Begriffsklärung)
sign in Spanish: Signo
sign in Estonian: Märk
sign in Esperanto: Signo
sign in French: Signe
sign in Croatian: Znak
sign in Ido: Signo
sign in Lithuanian: Ženklas
sign in Dutch: Sein
sign in Japanese: 記号
sign in Polish: Znak
sign in Portuguese: Signo
sign in Russian: Знак
sign in Simple English: Sign
sign in Slovenian: Znak
sign in Finnish: Merkki
sign in Swedish: Tecken
sign in Chinese: 表意文字
sign in Yiddish: צייכן
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