START in sign language

Printable ASL sign for START

Guess you're coming to this page for two possible reasons -- one to learn how to sign "start" and another is to learn how to start learning American Sign Language as a foreign language? Which one? Now you want both, okay.

ASL signs for 'start'

For a starter, here shows you how to sign 'start'.

Meaning: To begin a movement, activity, or undertaking.

Pronunciation (sign description): Dominant horizontal forefinger with the palm down and its tip of the forefinger starts inside the curve between the forefinger and middle finger of the non-dominant hand whose palm is facing left (for right-handed) and fingers facing outward. The forefinger twists clockwise once at the wrist.

Note that there are several signs and classifiers associated with 'start' in ASL, but at least this sign is just a basic for beginners. As you learn ASL more after hundreds of hours, you will be able to convey different signs.

For example for a sentence "start a engine", sign this way:

Meaning: to cause (a machine or engine) to begin to work. E.g.: he started up the engine.

Related signs: BEGIN, COMMENCE.

Phrasal verb

Meaning: to begin to do something again from the beginning.

How to start learning sign language

Learners start learning sign language for different reasons whether to become an interpreter or to become a teacher of deaf students or to (manually) speak a new language with their deaf kids, or to converse with a deaf signers in Deaf community. Let's see which one clicks your gut.

Since you're already on this site, scroll down to the "Beginner" tab next to the Search tab. In this section, you can also browse lessons, Deaf culture articles, and other resources.

To start learning first words, browse the most-used vocabulary.

In addition to this resource, check with your community college, university, continuing education programs, etc. for information on ASL courses or qualified Deaf tutors whether in classroom or online classes.

This where to take sign language courses post suggests some ideas on how to find ASL classes.


Get more with the PatronPlus subscription to unlock the premium content and more features, including ad-free for clean and fast page loading. Already a subscriber? Login.

Language learning, language play, etc.

Get more with the PatronPlus subscription to unlock the premium content, including ad-free for clean and fast page loading. Already a subscriber? Login.

Some word entries have one of some tidbits in this section, such as minimal pairs of sign words, rhymes, etc. usually related to or associated with its word entry.

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.