Date: 1200-1300
Language: Old French
Origin: signe, from Latin signum 'mark, sign, image, seal'


1 noun
sign1 S3 W2

gives information

[countable] a piece of paper, metal, or wood with words or a picture that gives people information, warnings, or instructions:
a sign on the door
Don't ignore the fog warning signs.

shows something is true

[countable] an event, fact etc that shows that something is happening or that something is true or exists [= indication]COLLOCATIONS COLLOCATIONS
sign (that) clear/obvious sign warning sign good/positive/encouraging sign bad sign outward/visible sign sure sign (=clear proof) tell-tale signs (=signs that clearly show something bad) there are signs/there are no signs show signs of (doing) something show/give every sign of doing something (=used to say that something is very likely) take/see something as a sign (that) (=understand something to mean something) at the first sign of something (=immediately)
sign of
A red morning sky is a sign of an impending storm.
Crying is seen as a sign of weakness.
A paw print in the dust was a sign that a tiger was close.
There were no obvious signs of engine wear.
Raised blood pressure is a warning sign.
If she can move her leg, that's a very good sign.
His door was closed. That was a bad sign.
She gave no outward signs of her problems.
He kept walking up and down, which was a sure sign he was worried.
The tell-tale signs of drug abuse are mainly to do with behaviour.
There are signs that the situation is improving.
There were no signs of forced entry into the house.
The economy is beginning to show signs of recovery.
The play shows every sign of being a big success.
At the first sign of trouble they had disappeared to England.

movement or sound

[countable] a movement, sound etc that you make in order to tell someone something:
the thumbs-up sign (=a sign that you make with your hand to show that something is successful)
give/make a sign
Wait until I give the sign.
sign that
Bruce made a sign that he was ready to leave.
sign for somebody to do something
Three short blasts on the whistle was the sign to begin.


[countable] a mark or shape that has a particular meaning [= symbol]:
the dollar sign
a minus sign

star sign

[countable] also star signROA a group of stars, representing one of 12 parts of the year, that some people believe influences your behaviour and your life:
What sign are you?


[uncountable]SLL a language that uses hand movements instead of spoken words, used by people who cannot hear [= sign language]

there is no sign of somebody/something

used to say that someone or something is not in a place or cannot be found:
I waited for two hours but there was still no sign of her.

sign of life

a) a movement that shows that someone is alive, or something that shows that there are people in a particular place:
She listened intently for signs of life.
b) something that shows that a situation is becoming more active:
Commercial property markets are now showing definite signs of life.

sign of the times

something that shows how people live now:
It's just a sign of the times that many children have mobile phones.

the sign of the Cross

RRC the hand movement that some Christians make in the shape of a cross, to show respect for God or to protect themselves from evil

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