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Borrowed from Middle French signature, or from Medieval Latin signatura, future active periphrastic of verb signare (to sign) from signum (sign), + -tura, feminine of -turus, future active periphrastic suffix.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈsɪɡnətʃə/, /ˈsɪɡnɪtʃə/
  • (US) enPR: ′sĭgnəchər, ′sĭgnĭchər, IPA(key): /ˈsɪɡnətʃɚ/, /ˈsɪɡnɪtʃɚ/
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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: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, [], OCLC 16832619:
      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 fought 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
      the natural and indelible signature of God, which human souls [] are supposed to be stamped with
    • 1997, Chris Horrocks, Introducing Foucault, page 67, The Renaissance Episteme, Totem Books, Icon Books; →ISBN,
      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. Email signatures often include extended contact information. Forum signatures often serve as a way for a user to express themselves (song lyrics, art, etc.).
    Synonyms: sig, siggy
    Your signature must not exceed three lines. (referring to the size of an email signature)
    Your signature must not exceed 600 pixels. (referring to the size of a forum signature)
    forum signature generator


Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. 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.
    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.






signer +‎ -ture; cf. Medieval Latin signatura.


  • IPA(key): /si.ɲa.tyʁ/
  • (file)


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.

Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]




  1. vocative masculine singular of sīgnātūrus