NAME in sign language

Name is typically one of the very first words that ASL beginners learn on the first days of ASL 101 classes.

This word entry introduces how to sign 'name' in American Sign Language and links to vocabulary and information on name signs.

ASL sign for NAME

Definition: A word or set of words by which a person, animal, place, or thing is known, addressed, or referred to.

Pronunciation/articulation: Dominant horizontal "H" handshape with the edge of its middle finger taps twice on the top edge of the index finger of the passive hand which is the horizontal "H" handshape. Both "H" hands are kind of cross diagonally from the signer's perspective.

Usage example: "Hi, my name is [personal name]" which is glossed in ASL as "HI, IX-me NAME [fingerspelling]". Hearing beginners would often sign "MY NAME [fingerspelling]". It's not really wrong, but Deaf signers use "IX-me NAME.." and "MY NAME..." in different contexts.

Related ASL signs: TITLE, TERM, WORD, FORENAME or first name, SURNAME or last name, NICKNAME, BRAND NAME.

Verb: to give a name to (one movement).

Learner tip: Similar sign for MENTION but different meaning in contexts.

Pronunciation/articulation: Dominant horizontal "H" handshape (palm orientation NOT facing down) tapping once on the top of the passive horizontal "H" handshape (palm orientation also not facing down). The movement is slightly longer compared to the noun (first video above).


Name sign

In Deaf culture, most Deaf people and members of Deaf community as well as deaf children in deaf schools have their name signs.

Q: "What is the name sign for MARY (or any personal name)?"

A: Fingerspelling for personal names is the only translation. Because, name signs are independent from spoken-language personal names on one's birth certificate. Name signs are created and gifted by Deaf people to members of Deaf community. Deaf parents also give name signs to their children.

Vocabulary for NAME SIGN.


Here is a few links to the Learn-section tutorials: learn how to introduce your name in American Sign Language and learn more about how name signs are given in Deaf culture and the types of name signs, including descriptive name signs and arbitrary name signs as well as some examples of name signs..


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Written ASL

[Note: ASL writing is not an official standard. This sign language writing remains in a state of open space to allow room for experiment, evolution, and improvement.]

ASL writing for NAME

By ASLwrite community, Feb. 2017.

The two dots represent two movements (twice on the side of the index finger) with two "U" or "H" handshapes.

Feeling lucky? Random word

Basic word starters: hello / learn / ASL / sign language / alphabet / love / I love you / please / thank you / welcome...

Search Tips and Pointers

Search/Filter: Enter a keyword in the filter/search box to see a list of available words with the "All" selection. Click on the page number if needed. Click on the blue link to look up the word. For best result, enter a partial word to see variations of the word.

Screenshot of dictionary search with notes
Screenshot of the search dictionary

Alphabetical letters: It's useful for 1) a single-letter word (such as A, B, etc.) and 2) very short words (e.g. "to", "he", etc.) to narrow down the words and pages in the list.

For best result, enter a short word in the search box, then select the alphetical letter (and page number if needed), and click on the blue link.

Screenshot of dictionary search with notes
Screenshot of the search dictionary

Don't forget to click "All" back when you search another word with a different initial letter.

If you cannot find (perhaps overlook) a word but you can still see a list of links, then keep looking until the links disappear! Sharpening your eye or maybe refine your alphabetical index skill. :)

Add a Word: This dictionary is not exhaustive; ASL signs are constantly added to the dictionary. If you don't find a word/sign, you can send your request (only if a single link doesn't show in the result).

Videos: The first video may be NOT the answer you're looking for. There are several signs for different meanings, contexts, and/or variations. Browsing all the way down to the next search box is highly recommended.

Video speed: Signing too fast in the videos? See HELP in the footer.

ASL has its own grammar and structure in sentences that works differently from English. For plurals, verb inflections, word order, etc., learn grammar in the "ASL Learn" section. For search in the dictionary, use the present-time verbs and base words. If you look for "said", look up the word "say". Likewise, if you look for an adjective word, try the noun or vice versa. E.g. The ASL signs for French and France are the same. If you look for a plural word, use a singular word.