- sign (n.)
- early 13c., "gesture or motion of the hand," from Old French signe "sign, mark, signature," from Latin signum "mark, token, indication, symbol," from PIE root *sekw- "point out" (see see).
Meaning "a mark or device having some special importance" is recorded from late 13c.; that of "a miracle" is from c.1300. Sense of "characteristic device attached to the front of an inn, shop, etc., to distinguish it from others" is first recorded mid-15c. Ousted native token. In some uses, the word probably is a shortening of ensign. Sign language is recorded from 1847; earlier hand-language (1670s).
- sign (v.)
- c.1300, "to make the sign of the cross," from Old French signer, from Latin signare, from signum (see sign (n.)). Sense of "to mark, stamp" is attested from mid-14c.; that of "to affix one's name" is from late 15c. Meaning "to communicate by sign language" is recorded from 1700. Related: Signed; signing.