Meaning: Signed name of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the U.S.

The 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865.

Related signs: JOHN F. KENNEDY.

Deaf Culture and tidbits

The Lincoln Memorial Legend

The Gallaudet University campus is not far from the U.S. Capitol, about 1.6 miles. Lincoln (1809-1865) signed the charter of Gallaudet University (1864). The Gallaudet/Cogswell statue (1889) on Gallaudet campus and the Lincoln Memorial (1920) at National Mall were sculpted by the same renowned sculptor Daniel Chester French (1850-1931).

Gallaudet and Alice Cogswell statue
Thomas H. Gallaudet and Alice Cogswell at Gallaudet

French designed this statue that depicts Gallaudet showing the little girl Alice the manual letter A, a symbol of the deaf education in sign language.

A closeup of Lincoln's left hand of the Lincoln Memorial
A closeup of Lincoln's left hand of the Lincoln Memorial

The legend is that French coded Lincoln's initials into two hands that form into two very subtle manual alphabetical letters A and L.

A closeup of Lincoln's right hand of the Lincoln Memorial
A closeup of Lincoln's right hand of the Lincoln Memorial

"...the fact that French is known to have tweaked his original models of Lincoln's right hand from a clenched hand to an open one." Ref

There is no record that verifies French's intention; whether it is a myth or the design was a deliberation, it's one of our favorite Deaf legends.

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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).

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Grammar: 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.

Inflection: Many ASL words, especially verbs, in the dictionary are a "base"; be aware that many of them are grammatically inflectable within ASL sentences. Some entries have sentence examples.

Variation: Some ASL signs have regional (and generational) variations across North America. Some common variations are included as much as possible, but for specifically local variations, interact with your local community to learn their local variations.

Contextual meaning: Some ASL signs in the dictionary may not mean the same in different contexts and/or ASL sentences. You will see some examples in video sentences.

ASL is very much alive and indefinitely constructable as any spoken language. The best way to use ASL right is to immerse in daily language interactions and conversations with Deaf/Ameslan people (or ASLians).