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Borrowed from Middle French consigner or directly from Latin cōnsignō (furnish with a seal), from con- + signō (mark, sign).


  • IPA(key): /kənˈsaɪn/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪn
  • Hyphenation: con‧sign


consign (third-person singular simple present consigns, present participle consigning, simple past and past participle consigned)

  1. (transitive, business) To transfer to the custody of, usually for sale, transport, or safekeeping.
  2. (transitive) To entrust to the care of another.
    • 1726, Homer, translated by Alexander Pope, William Broome, and Elijah Fenton, Odyssey, new edition, volume I, London: T. Longman et al., translation of original in Ancient Greek, published 1796, book III, pages 147–8, lines 332–5:
      For virtue’s image yet poſſeſt her mind, / Taught by a maſter of the tuneful kind : / Atrides, parting for the Trojan war, / Conſign’d the youthful conſort to his care.
  3. (transitive) To send to a final destination.
    to consign the body to the grave
    • 1707 April 7, Francis Atterbury, “A Spittal-Sermon Preach’d at St. Bridget’s Church, before the Right Honourable the Lord-Mayor, &c.”, in Sermons and Discourses on Several Subjects and Occasions, 5th edition, volume II, London: T. Woodward and C. Davis, published 1740, page 151:
      And this remarkable Property of Love will ſuggeſt to us one Reaſon, why Acts of Charity ſhall be enquir’d after ſo particularly, at the Day of general Account ; becauſe Good Men are then to be conſign’d over to another State, a State of everlaſting Love and Charity []
    • 1961 September, B. Perren, “The Tilbury Line serves industrial North Thameside”, in Modern Railways, page 359:
      This firm regularly consigns margarine in palletised wagon-loads to a wide variety of destinations.
    • 2011 December 15, Felicity Cloake, “How to cook the perfect nut roast”, in Guardian[1]:
      If there's such a thing as pariah food – a recipe shunned by mainstream menus, mocked to near extinction and consigned to niche hinterlands for evermore – then the nut roast, a dish whose very name has become a watchword for sawdusty disappointment, is surely a strong contender.
    • 2021 October 20, Paul Stephen, “Leisure and pleasure on the Far North Line”, in RAIL, number 942, page 49:
      This controversial decision has consigned rail passengers to a considerable time penalty, when the direct route would have cut 45 minutes from Far North journey times.
  4. To assign; to devote; to set apart.
    • a. 1700, John Dryden, “Dedication”, in The British Poets, volume XI, Edinburgh: A. Kincaid and W. Creech, and J. Balfour, published 1773, page 13:
      The French commander, charmed with the greatneſs of your ſoul, accordingly conſign’d it [a donation] to the uſe for which it was intended by the donor []
  5. To stamp or impress; to affect.
    • 1650, Jeremy Taylor, “Devotions for ordinary days”, in The Rule and Exercises of Holy Living, 19th edition, London: J. Hepinstall, published 1703, page 44:
      Ennoble my ſoul with great degrees of love to thee, and conſign my ſpirit with great fear, religion and veneration of thy holy name and laws []

Derived terms[edit]