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Borrowed from Middle French signature, or from Medieval Latin signātūra, future active periphrastic of verb signāre (to sign) from signum (sign), + -tūra, feminine of -tūrus, future active periphrastic suffix. Displaced native Old English handseten (literally hand setting).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈsɪɡnət͡ʃə(ɹ)/, /ˈsɪɡnɪt͡ʃə(ɹ)/
    • (file)
  • (US) enPR: sĭg′nəchər, sĭg′nĭchər, IPA(key): /ˈsɪɡnət͡ʃɚ/, /ˈsɪɡnɪt͡ʃɚ/
  • (General Australian) IPA(key): /ˈsɪɡnɪt͡ʃə(ɹ)/


signature (plural signatures)

  1. A person's name, written by that person, used as identification or to signify approval of accompanying material, such as a legal contract.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, “Prologue: Who is Edmund Gray?”, in The Ivory Gate [], New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, [], →OCLC:
      Thus, when he drew up instructions in lawyer language [] his clerks [] understood him very well. If he had written a love letter, or a farce, or a ballade, or a story, no one, either clerks, or friends, or compositors, would have understood anything but a word here and a word there. For his signature, however, that was different.
  2. An act of signing one's name; an act of producing a signature.
    • 1977, Illinois Information Service, Press Summary - Illinois Information Service, page 4287:
      IN COMMENTS during signature of the bill yesterday during “Agriculture Day” at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, Thompson agreed with farmers that land needs to be protected.
    • 2011, Winifred Holtby, The Crowded Street, Virago, →ISBN:
      [She ate with herself] during the whole evening, during supper, during her signature of unintelligible papers at her father's desk, when he told her gruffly that she would now have an income of £350 a year minus income tax, which would return to her in some mysterious way  []
    • For more quotations using this term, see Citations:signature.
  3. (medicine) The part of a doctor’s prescription containing directions for the patient.
  4. (music) Signs on the stave indicating key and tempo, composed of the key signature and the time signature.
  5. (printing) A group of four (or a multiple of four) sheets printed such that, when folded, they become a section of a book.
  6. (computing) A pattern used for matching the identity of a virus, the parameter types of a method, etc.
  7. (cryptography) Data attached to a message that guarantees that the message originated from its claimed source.
  8. (figurative) A mark or sign of implication.
    • 1692, Richard Bentley, [A Confutation of Atheism] (please specify the sermon), London: [Thomas Parkhurst; Henry Mortlock], published 1692–1693:
      the natural and indelible signature of God, which human souls [] are supposed to be stamped with
    • 1975, United States. Office of Noise Abatement and Control, First Report on Status and Progress of Noise Research and Control Programs in the Federal Government, volume 1, pages 6–13:
      The TACOM Vehicle Signature Reduction program is concerned with reducing the noise signature detectability of military vehicles in combat.
    • 1997, Chris Horrocks, Introducing Foucault, Totem Books, Icon Books, →ISBN, The Renaissance Episteme, page 67:
      A “signature” was placed on all things by God to indicate their affinities — but it was hidden, hence the search for arcane knowledge. Knowing was guessing and interpreting, not observing or demonstrating.
  9. A dish that is characteristic of a particular chef.
    • 2000, Darwin Porter, Danforth Prince, Frommer's Rome 2001, page 97:
      A great beginning is the goose-liver terrine with truffles, one of the chef's signatures.
  10. (mathematics) A tuple specifying the sign of coefficients in any diagonal form of a quadratic form.
  11. (medicine, obsolete) A resemblance between the external character of a disease and those of some physical agent, for instance, that existing between the red skin of scarlet fever and a red cloth; supposed to indicate this agent in the treatment of the disease.
  12. (Internet) Text (or images, etc.) appended to a user's emails, newsgroup posts, forum posts, etc. as a way of adding a personal touch or including contact details.
    Synonyms: sig, siggy
    Your signature must not exceed three lines of text, or 600 pixels in height.
    forum signature generator


Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also[edit]


signature (not generally comparable, comparative more signature, superlative most signature)

  1. Distinctive, characteristic, indicative of identity.
    Synonym: iconic
    Rabbit in mustard sauce is my signature dish.
    The signature route of the airline is its daily flight between Buenos Aires and Madrid.
    • 2001, Lawrence J. Vale, Sam Bass Warner, Imaging the city: continuing struggles and new directions:
      Consider Las Fallas of Valencia, Spain, arguably the most signature of signature ephemera.
    • 2005, Paul Duchscherer, Linda Svendsen, Beyond the bungalow: grand homes in the arts & crafts tradition:
      Considered the most signature effect of the Tudor Revival style, half-timbering derived its distinctive [] .
    • 2005, Brett Dawson, Tales from the 2004-05 Fighting Illini:
      But it was perhaps the most signature shot Williams ever made in an Illinois uniform, a bullying basket in which he used his power to pound Stoudamire, [] .
    • 2005, CBS News website, Paul Winchell Dead At Age 82:
      He credited his wife, who is British, for giving him the inspiration for Tigger’s signature phrase: TTFN. TA-TA for now.



  • signature”, in OneLook Dictionary Search.




From signer +‎ -ture; cf. Medieval Latin signatura.



signature f (plural signatures)

  1. signature (a person's name written in their own handwriting)
    désavouer sa signature
  2. the act of signing
    Le décret est à la signature.
    (please add an English translation of this usage example)

Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]




  1. vocative masculine singular of signātūrus