Definition of signature in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsɪɡnətʃə/


1A person’s name written in a distinctive way as a form of identification in authorizing a cheque or document or concluding a letter: the signature of a senior manager
More example sentences
  • The analysis concluded that the signature on the document was ‘very similar’ to Chen's.
  • A petition is nothing more than a list of names, addresses and signatures with your cause written at the top of each page.
  • The group began with the signed letter of September 5 with more than 800 signatures and verified the names and identification.
1.1 [mass noun] The action of signing a document: the licence was sent to the customer for signature
More example sentences
  • Its international credit card follows the international tradition, that only signature is needed and customers don't need to input a PIN.
  • Shortly afterwards, a supply agreement would be sent to the Access Customer for signature.
  • Mr. Pierson would send to each Academy member a document for signature.
1.2A distinctive pattern, product, or characteristic by which someone or something can be identified: the chef produced the pâté that was his signature [as modifier]: his signature dish
More example sentences
  • To give you something of the flavour, bangers and mash with onion gravy is the signature dish among the 12 main courses, which also include steak and kidney pie, and grilled sea bass with lemon butter.
  • It began developing its signature brand of dairy products in 1984.
  • The final movement begins with a jaunty feel to it, before moving into more reserved territory with the short repetitive bursts of melody that became such a signature of Glass style.
2 Music short for key signature or time signature.
Example sentences
  • Sharps in signatures did not become common until the 17th century.
  • Robert Beaser's ‘Landscape with Bells’ incorporates both shifting and asymmetrical meter signatures.
  • The harmonic signature of the system is different from point to point and changes with time in most of applications.
3 Printing A letter or figure printed at the foot of one or more pages of each sheet of a book as a guide in binding.
Example sentences
  • The signature ensured that a large sheet of paper printed on a press could be folded, gathered, bound, and cut with the leaves in the proper order.
3.1A printed sheet after being folded to form a group of pages.
Example sentences
  • To make the inside signatures fold copy paper in half the long way.
  • This format once was regarded as forgivable, back when illustrations were printed in separate signatures on better paper, which these are not.
  • I spilled a whole pot of glue on a stack of signatures, spoiling the pages.
4North American The part of a medical prescription that gives instructions about the use of the medicine or drug prescribed.
Example sentences
  • If famotidine is used for reasons other than the two criteria described below, the attending physician will also need to provide a signature and an explanation for the use of famotidine.


Mid 16th century (as a Scots legal term, denoting a document presented by a writer to the Signet): from medieval Latin signatura 'sign manual' (in late Latin denoting a marking on sheep), from Latin signare 'to sign, mark'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: sig¦na|ture

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