"Good" in sign language

Printable ASL for GOOD

Goodies in this entry: ASL signs with tips, how kids sign 'good', related words, cross-cultural anecdote, comparative and superlative (better and best).

ASL sign for "good"

How do you sign "good" in American Sign Language?

Meaning: To be desired or approved of; very satisfactory, enjoyable, pleasant, or interesting.

Pronunciation (sign description): Dominant flat hand (handshape), palm in (orientation), fingers in contact with the chin (location), move forward away from the chin (movement).

Learner tip: Don't confuse this similar signword with "THANK". The homophones GOOD and THANK look similar, but with subtle nuances, they are different. For beginners, practice contexts and language skills.

Possible usage examples with "good" in ASL are, for example, "good experience", "good job", "a good movie", "a good time", "good time", and such common expressions. And, greetings include "good morning" and "good night".

Variation: The same sign as GOOD, but the motion of the dominant hand from the area of lips or chin to the non-dominant palm is also a variation.

When to use this GOOD with the non-dominant base? It may have its history and etymology and the ASL language evolved over years. Culturally speaking, ... honestly, we barely use this.

If a Deaf signer uses it, it could be found in some possible situations such as 1) occasional use (as in "I think it's a good idea"), 2) emphasis ("Well, it's indeed a good idea! But, .. ") or sarcasm ("Oh yeah, it's a good idea.") with certain intonation and facial expression. Yet, they can be done without the non-dominant base, though.

Kids signing GOOD

The ASL sign "good" is not as hard to "pronounce" or produce as the other ASL words in the early language acquisition for ASL-speaking children and codas.

Please note that "baby sign language" is harmful cultural appropriation. There is no such as "baby sign language" nor "baby signs", just as much as "baby speech language" isn't conventionally used.

The video below is a time lapse of the bilingual ASL-speaking toddler Juli signing 'good' from baby to preschool age in a natural language development from birth.

The toddler in this video signs "good" with much informal register (e.g. loose location). Even she can produce the sign with the correct location but she doesn't produce it in formal citation. Informal register in conversational ASL is pretty much a norm in everyday life.

At age 3;7 in the video, Juli uttered in ASL (translated as), "That's a good idea" when her mother made a suggestion. At age 2;7, observe her facial expression in the form of intonation when she signed "It's really good" or "It's good". She tried to convince her mother to buy the chococlate ball. :D

Related signs


Opposite: BAD, NO GOOD.

How to sign comparative BETTER and superlative BEST.

Phrases of 'good': GOOD ENOUGH, GOOD RIDDANCE.

Cross-cultural anecdote: a nice hat!

January 2008: A feisty, American young Deaf man, who worked as a ASL language instructor for a year in Tokyo, Japan, told me an incident in Japan where I stayed there for a few months. Here is his funny story in January 2008.

good gesture
"F-GOOD" gesture

One day, he saw a short Japanese elderly woman who wore a fine, beautiful cartwheel or floppy hat. He genuinely wanted to compliment her, so he warmly approached her and gestured -- pointed to her hat and gestured F-GOOD (see the image above). The frail elder at first looked confused. Again, he pointed to her hat and gestured GOOD with the "F" handshape! The lady looked aghast and rushed away. The American guy stood there, scratching his head. To that day, he still didn't figure it out, why? But, I burst out laughing with tears.

I explained to him that this F-handshape gesture is apparently associated with money in Japan and I could imagine how the old lady interpreted the guy's approach and gesture, "Wow, look how expensive this hat must be". This traditionally conservative old lady must be feeling intimidated by the high-spirited young American man talking about money pointing to the hat. Hearing this explanation, the American guy suddenly looked illuminated. He then sincerely felt so bad, so bad for her (and for himself).

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.