WELCOME in sign language

When something is welcome, you're pleased to have it. You welcome when you greet the arrival of a person or guest with pleasure or courtesy or when one thanks you. Or, you gladly accept a new idea, you welcome it.

ASL signs for "welcome"

How to sign "welcome" in American Sign Language. And what to respond in ASL after one says "thank you".

Meaning: To greet a person, visitor, or guest in a warm and friendly manner.

Pronunciation (sign description): Dominant flat hand with palm up held in space slides toward the signer.

Learner tip: Don't confuse this similar sign with INVITE and HIRE (variation).

Used in a more formal register.

Pronunciation (sign description): Two flat hands with palms up held apart in space both slide toward the signer.


In hearing American culture, when one thanks you, you say "welcome". English is a polite culture. Though, customs are culturally relative. What is polite in one culture may be not necessarily polite in other cultures.

In American Deaf culture where Deaf people are close-knit in Deaf community, other etiquette signs beyond "welcome" that Deaf signers routinely use are like THANK-YOU back when one thanks you, PSHAW (as in "no problem", "no worries" or "no big deal" with a variant of intonation), a nod of acknowledgement, "any time whenever you need", and others. Observe how Deaf people use them in contexts; for beginners, to be on the safe side, use "welcome".

Other signs of etiquette: PLEASE, SORRY.


Opposite: FAREWELL.


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