FATHER in sign language

How do you say 'father' in American Sign Language? There are two common variations which can be interchangeable in some contexts and which are not interchangeable in other contexts.

Definition: A man in relation to his natural child or children; dad; male parent.

Pronunciation (sign description): Thumb of dominant "5" hand near the side of upper head or side of forehead taps twice on it. The palm is loosely facing left if right-handed. The thumb tapping on the middle of the forehead is a mispronunciation, at least in formal citation. But, not when a native signers or deaf people use it in informal register (e.g. mumbling).

Usage examples: "my father" in general, "dad".

Variation: Same as above except for the movement. Fingers of the dominant "5" hand with the thumb on the side of the deaf wiggle.

Usage examples: also "my father" in general, "my godfather" (GOD+FATHER as a ASL compound word).

Another variation (least common): Dominant horizontal "A" handshape with the thumb on the side of upper head/forehead and palm facing loosely outward/left moves a bit outward while opening the hand into "5" handshape.

Usage examples: "heavenly father" (sometimes two-handed), "the father of [something]". E.g. Dr. William Stokoe is the father of sign language linguistics. But, one can also sign (what is glossed as) "FIRST INVENT", "FIRST DISCOVER/FIND" or "FIRST FOUND/ESTABLISH".

Related signs

Is there a version of the ASL sign/word for DADDY? How do you say FATHER-IN-LAW, FATHER's DAY, GRANDFATHER, STEPFATHER, FAMILY?

Opposite: MOTHER, SON.

Father's Day

How to sign "Father's Day"

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