from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A language that uses a system of manual, facial, and other body movements as the means of communication, especially among deaf people.
  • n. A method of communication, as between speakers of different languages, that uses hand movements and other gestures.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One of several natural languages, typically used by the deaf, where the words and phrases consist of hand shapes, motions, positions, and facial expressions.
  • n. The sign language (sense 1) that is used locally or that is mistakenly believed to be the only one.
  • n. Sign languages (sense 1) considered collectively.
  • n. Communication through gestures used when speech is impossible, for example, between monks under a vow of silence or people speaking different languages.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. language expressed by visible hand gestures


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • The day-school, the Sunday-school, and all libraries for the young, demand the influence that shall teach the reader how to live in sympathy with the animal world; how to understand the languages of the creatures that we have long been accustomed to call "dumb," and the sign language of the lower orders of these dependent beings.

    Beautiful Joe: An Autobiography

  • Indeed, at one time it was believed that the best way for them to communicate was through systematized gestures, the sign language invented by the Abbé de l'Epée.

    The Story of My Life

  • The deaf child who has only the sign language of De l'Épée is an intellectual Philip Nolan, an alien from all races, and his thoughts are not the thoughts of an Englishman, or a Frenchman, or a Spaniard.

    The Story of My Life

  • The other remembered Bones 'experience with the Nomads for the last several years; it knew Earrin and Kahvi and their child; it would, on meeting any of them, be able to use the sign language which they and Bones had worked out to supplement oral speech, and it would understand human words as well as Bones, with the same auditory limitations, could.

    The Nitrogen Fix

  • Judy always wore it…a gold chain with a charm displaying the two-finger-and-thumb sign language symbol for “I love you.”

    Riding Rockets


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  • We use Auslan. You're right, it's more closely related to British than anything else.

    September 14, 2009

  • You might like this one better, bilby.

    Is ASL used in Australia? I'd thought Australians used a two-handed alphabet similar to that of Britain.

    September 14, 2009

  • Online ASL dictionary. I find the animations hard to follow but it's something.

    September 13, 2009