ASL to English Reverse Dictionary

To find a meaning of the ASL sign, identify the three major paramaters: handshape, location and movement of the ASL sign and its two-handed type to find an English equivalent in this reverse dictionary.

** This is a pilot / ongoing development. It is subject to revisions or adjustments. Not all words have been updated for this reverse dictionary. If you cannot find, email me for help and/or suggestion.**

How to use ASL-English search

Use a formal citation of the ASL word. Select the prime of each parameter plus a handed type and search.

Handshape prime

Pick a handshape of the ASL word based on the dominant hand, regardless of the one-handed or two-handed production.

Example: pick "10-num", repeated, head-low. The result will show you a few similar signs associated with EVERYDAY.

Movement prime

Pick a movement of the dominant hand regardless of one-handed or two-handed.

Select the movement starting with the list from the top to the bottom in order of its estimated most common usage.

For example, start with the most common movement primes: "reduplicated" (repeated), unidirectional (non-repeated), and so on.

To identify what this ASL sign is, select "1-num" (handshape), repeated (movement), palm (location), and two-handed alternating.

To find out what this means, select "10-s" (handshape), unidirectional (movement) or maybe circular, "10-s" (location), and two-handed mirror.

Location prime

Pick a location of the base part of body (e.g. base or non-dominant hand, head, torso, etc.) where the dominant hand makes contact or close contact with.

If an ASL word has its mulitple locations in one production, try (not always) the initial location of the production.

If one or two hands are not in contact, use "neutral space". If the dominant hand is in contact (or close contact) with the base hand, use "hand" (any handshape) or "palm".

This sign uses neutral space. Select "None" for a handed type which is for one-handed or two-handed signs with a different non-dominant handshape from the dominant handshape).

More examples

If the ASL sign you saw, here is how you would select the parameters and its handed type.

Select "3-close" for handshape, "repeat" for movement, "hand" for location, and "mirror" for handed.

Select "9-num" for handshape, "unidir" for movement, "9-num" for location, and "alternating" for handed. You will get "INFER". If "repeat" for movement, you will get "INTERPRET" as in "translate" and "INTERPRETER" in search result.