FATHER in sign language

How do you say 'father' in American Sign Language? There are two common variations which can be interchangeable in some contexts and which are not interchangeable in other contexts.

Definition: A man in relation to his natural child or children; dad; male parent.

Pronunciation (sign description): Thumb of dominant "5" hand near the side of upper head or side of forehead taps twice on it. The palm is loosely facing left if right-handed. The thumb tapping on the middle of the forehead is a mispronunciation, at least in formal citation. But, not when a native signers or deaf people use it in informal register (e.g. mumbling).

Usage examples: "my father" in general, "dad".

[video later]

Variation: Same as above except for the movement. Fingers of the dominant "5" hand with the thumb on the side of the deaf wiggle.

Usage examples: also "my father" in general, "my godfather" (GOD+FATHER as a ASL compound word).

Another variation (least common): Dominant horizontal "A" handshape with the thumb on the side of upper head/forehead and palm facing loosely outward/left moves a bit outward while opening the hand into "5" handshape.

Usage examples: "heavenly father" (sometimes two-handed), "the father of [something]". E.g. Dr. William Stokoe is the father of sign language linguistics. But, one can also sign (what is glossed as) "FIRST INVENT", "FIRST DISCOVER/FIND" or "FIRST FOUND/ESTABLISH".

Related signs

Is there a version of the ASL sign/word for DADDY? How do you say FATHER-IN-LAW, FATHER's DAY, GRANDFATHER, STEPFATHER, FAMILY?

Opposite: MOTHER, SON.

Father's Day

How to sign "Father's Day"

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.