NAME in sign language

Name is typically one of the very first words that ASL beginners learn on the first days of ASL 101 classes.

This word entry introduces how to sign 'name' in American Sign Language and links to vocabulary and information on name signs.

ASL sign for NAME

Definition: A word or set of words by which a person, animal, place, or thing is known, addressed, or referred to.

Pronunciation/articulation: Dominant horizontal "H" handshape with the edge of its middle finger taps twice on the top edge of the index finger of the passive hand which is the horizontal "H" handshape. Both "H" hands are kind of cross diagonally from the signer's perspective.

Usage example: "Hi, my name is [personal name]" which is glossed in ASL as "HI, IX-me NAME [fingerspelling]". Hearing beginners would often sign "MY NAME [fingerspelling]". It's not really wrong, but Deaf signers use "IX-me NAME.." and "MY NAME..." in different contexts.

Related ASL signs: TITLE, TERM, WORD, FORENAME or first name, SURNAME or last name, NICKNAME, BRAND NAME.

Verb: to give a name to (one movement).

Learner tip: Similar sign for MENTION but different meaning in contexts.

Pronunciation/articulation: Dominant horizontal "H" handshape (palm orientation NOT facing down) tapping once on the top of the passive horizontal "H" handshape (palm orientation also not facing down). The movement is slightly longer compared to the noun (first video above).


Name sign

In Deaf culture, most Deaf people and members of Deaf community as well as deaf children in deaf schools have their name signs.

Q: "What is the name sign for MARY (or any personal name)?"

A: Fingerspelling for personal names is the only translation. Because, name signs are independent from spoken-language personal names on one's birth certificate. Name signs are created and gifted by Deaf people to members of Deaf community. Deaf parents also give name signs to their children.

Vocabulary for NAME SIGN.


Here is a few links to the Learn-section tutorials: learn how to introduce your name in American Sign Language and learn more about how name signs are given in Deaf culture and the types of name signs, including descriptive name signs and arbitrary name signs as well as some examples of name signs..

First 100 words.

  1. again
  2. also
  3. ask
  4. bad
  5. boy
  6. but
  7. can
  8. come
  9. deaf
  10. different
  11. drink
  12. drive
  13. eat
  14. email
  15. excuse
  16. family
  17. feel
  18. few
  19. find
  20. fine
  21. fingerspell
  22. finish
  23. food
  24. for
  25. forget
  26. friend
  27. get
  28. girl
  29. give
  30. go
  31. good
  32. have, has, had
  33. he
  34. hearing
  35. hello
  36. help
  37. home
  38. how
  39. Internet
  40. know
  41. later
  42. like (feeling)
  43. little
  44. live
  45. man
  46. many
  47. me
  48. meet
  49. more
  50. my
  51. name
  52. need
  53. new
  54. no
  55. not
  56. now
  57. ok, okay
  58. old
  59. other
  60. please
  61. remember
  62. same
  63. say
  64. school
  65. see
  66. she
  67. should
  68. sign, signed word
  69. slow
  70. some
  71. sorry
  72. store
  73. take
  74. tell
  75. text, sms
  76. thank, thank you
  77. their
  78. they
  79. think
  80. time
  81. tired
  82. try
  83. understand
  84. use
  85. wait
  86. want
  87. what
  88. when
  89. where
  90. which
  91. who
  92. why
  93. will
  94. with
  95. woman
  96. work
  97. write
  98. yes
  99. you
  100. your

As you feel more comfortable with the first few hundreds of ASL signs, progress further with your vocabulary and learn signing more.