Signs for CULTURE

Definition: The human social customs, norms, behaviors, beliefs, values, arts and heritage of a particular society, group, or time.

This sign has been around for decades until the recent trend of the ASL signs as shown below (circa 2015) that is gradually replacing the existing sign above.

ASL sign (without the passive "1" handshape), circa 2015. Video contributed by Shari Kido, 2017.

Another variation. Circa 2015.

Related signs: Deaf Culture, BICULTURAL, MULTICULTURAL, cultural studies, cultural appropriation, culture shock, acculturation, enculturation, cross-cultural, intercultural.

Read posts about Deaf culture. Did you know that there is hearing culture?

Deaf Culture and tidbits


"A language divorced from its culture is like a body without a soul." -- Bilingual researcher Colin Baker, 2006.

"Without a legitimately recognized language, there is no culture; without a culture, there is no self-identity; without a self-identity, you just go on trying to be what others demand you to be." -- Lou Fant, Deaf person in the 20th century.

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.