Vocabulary review for:

SORRY in Sign Language

This entry contains the signs for "sorry", funny story-based related words, and kid signing 'sorry' in language development.

ASL sign for SORRY
Printable for "sorry" video below

"Sorry" in ASL

How do you say "sorry" in American Sign Language?

Definition: Feeling or expressing regret.

Pronunciation (production): dominant "A" hand (handshape) with its palm (orientation) in contact with the chest (location) moves in a circular motion clockwise twice on the chest (movement). The position of thumb may be loose.

A number of hearing bloggers online and offline alike instructed the sign with the fist which is incorrect. Don't sign "sorry" with the "fist" handshape.

Similar sign for: APOLOGY.

Different inflections of the movement convey a gradient of meanings, such as "very sorry", "truly sorry", "so so so sorry!", and on. They are examples of inflections, not variations.

Related signs

The barista took forever to make the busy business woman's coffee. The barista APOLOGIZED for the delay as she handed the lady her drink. The woman hurried outside and flung the door open right into a construction worker's face. She yelled SORRY over her shoulder as the construction worker stumbled backwards into some scaffolding. She felt GUILTY as she got in her cab and sped away, just in time to see the scaffolding collapse into traffic. The construction crew REGRETFULLY informed the Mayor that that street would need to be shut down. The Mayor, however, couldn't afford such a LOSS during his re-election campaign. He was CONCERNED that this would lose votes which made him SAD. He called in a favor and hired a clean-up crew. The crew came in led by the very same woman in a rush to get her coffee. She showed no REMORSE, it’s almost as if it was all part of an elaborate plot.

More synonyms: PENITENT, RUEFUL, SORROWFUL.

Learn other common everyday ASL signs you can use: PLEASE, excuse me, HELP, HELLO, THANK YOU.

Kids signing "sorry"

Research says that toddlers don't really understand the word 'sorry' but they do understand and imitate behaviors. At the stage of ages 4-6, children develop their understanding of what apology is.

The concept may be difficult for toddlers, yet the ASL sign is not hard to produce as early as in natural language development with help the unmarked handshape. Note that they are not "baby signs" nor it's "baby sign language" which is cultural appropriation. ASL-speaking children acquire a signed language from babbling to syntax in the similar timeline as that of spoken language.

Watch how the bilingual ASL-speaking baby acquires the ASL word "sorry" from age 1 to 3.

At age 1;4, the baby Juli apparently remembered something and suddenly uttered "sorry" in ASL. Out of context, the mother wasn't sure what it was referred to. The baby pointed to the area where some situation might have occurred earlier.

At age 1;7, the toddler made an apology to the bug (probably for hurting it). At age 1;9, when the mother pulled her away from the decorative gate and signed "no", the toddler signed "sorry". At age 2;0, thinking about something with her stuffed poodle, she signed it on the stuffed toy's torso, not on her chest, before with a smirk, she threw the toy. At age 2;4, after a tension between her and the cat, she came to apologize to the cat.

At 3;3 (video not included), the preschooler walked around in the kitchen with a guilty grin and confessed in ASL (translated as), "I spilled, oops! I'm sorry" with an intonation (facial expression). But, she grinned and move on. At another time (video) at this age, she uttered "I want to tell sorry." Her mom asked, "Sorry for what?" The little kid replied, "For.. sorry for [stomping]". I think there was a bug.

Concurrently during this similar time frame from age 1;3 to preschool age, she also acquired and used another vocabulary PLEASE.

Review 101 words. Refresher.

  1. about
  2. after
  3. again
  4. age
  5. alone
  6. always
  7. and
  8. animal
  9. answer
  10. ask
  11. ask away
  12. ASL - American Sign Language
  13. bad
  14. bathroom, washroom
  15. beard
  16. beautiful
  17. before
  18. begin
  19. big
  20. black
  21. blue
  22. book
  23. born
  24. both
  25. boy
  26. brother
  27. brown
  28. bunch
  29. but
  30. buy
  31. bye-bye, so-long
  32. can
  33. car
  34. cat
  35. chair
  36. change
  37. child, children
  38. city
  39. class
  40. clear
  41. cloth, garment
  42. coffee
  43. cold
  44. college
  45. color
  46. come
  47. copy
  48. correct
  49. count
  50. country
  51. cup
  52. dance
  53. day to day, day after day
  54. dead, death
  55. deaf
  56. different
  57. dog
  58. done
  59. door
  60. drawing
  61. dress
  62. drink
  63. duty
  64. easy
  65. eight (8)
  66. eighteen (18)
  67. eleven
  68. English
  69. enjoy
  70. everyday
  71. example
  72. excited
  73. eyeglasses
  74. fall in love
  75. family
  76. fast
  77. father
  78. few
  79. fifteen (15)
  80. find
  81. fine
  82. fingerspell
  83. finish
  84. fish
  85. fishing
  86. five (5)
  87. floor
  88. follow
  89. food
  90. for
  91. forget
  92. four
  93. fourteen
  94. French
  95. Friday
  96. friend
  97. from
  98. game
  99. Germany
  100. get
  101. girl
  102. give
  103. go
  104. good
  105. goodbye
  106. grandfather
  107. grandmother
  108. gray, grey
  109. green
  110. group
  111. grow
  112. hair
  113. happy
  114. hard
  115. hard of hearing
  116. hat
  117. have
  118. he
  119. hearing
  120. hello
  121. help
  122. hide
  123. high
  124. high school
  125. holiday
  126. home
  127. homework
  128. hot
  129. hour
  130. house
  131. how
  132. how much
  133. idea
  134. if
  135. Internet
  136. jacket
  137. jot
  138. jump
  139. keep
  140. know
  141. language
  142. last
  143. late
  144. later
  145. learn
  146. left-handed
  147. letter
  148. like (feeling)
  149. like (similar)
  150. little
  151. live
  152. long
  153. look
  154. look at
  155. look for
  156. look like
  157. lose, be defeated
  158. lose, loss
  159. love
  160. love it
  161. low
  162. make
  163. man
  164. many
  165. maybe
  166. mean, meaning
  167. meet
  168. midweek
  169. milk
  170. minus
  171. minute
  172. money
  173. month
  174. more
  175. morning
  176. most
  177. mother
  178. move
  179. movie
  180. much
  181. must
  182. my
  183. name
  184. near
  185. need
  186. never
  187. new
  188. next
  189. night
  190. nine (9)
  191. no
  192. not
  193. nothing
  194. now
  195. number
  196. office
  197. offspring
  198. often
  199. ok, okay
  200. old
  201. on
  202. one
  203. open
  204. opposite
  205. orange
  206. other
  207. overnight
  208. pants, trousers, slacks
  209. paper
  210. parent
  211. pay attention
  212. pen
  213. people
  214. person
  215. picture
  216. pink
  217. pizza
  218. play
  219. please
  220. pointless
  221. pop
  222. practice
  223. pretty
  224. purple
  225. question
  226. rabbit
  227. read
  228. ready
  229. receive
  230. receptive
  231. red
  232. remember
  233. right
  234. room
  235. roommate, roomie
  236. Sabbath
  237. same
  238. Saturday
  239. say
  240. scheme
  241. school
  242. see
  243. sentence
  244. seven (7)
  245. seventeen
  246. shape
  247. she
  248. shirt
  249. shoe
  250. should
  251. show
  252. sick
  253. sign language
  254. sign, signed word
  255. since
  256. sister
  257. sit
  258. six (6)
  259. sixteen (16)
  260. slow
  261. small
  262. some
  263. sometimes
  264. soon
  265. sorry
  266. Spanish
  267. stand
  268. start
  269. stay
  270. still
  271. stop
  272. store
  273. story
  274. student
  275. study
  276. subtitle
  277. subtract
  278. success, successful
  279. sun
  280. Sunday
  281. sure
  282. table
  283. take
  284. talk
  285. tea
  286. teach
  287. teacher
  288. team
  289. tell
  290. ten
  291. test
  292. thank, thank you
  293. that
  294. their
  295. they
  296. think
  297. thirteen (13)
  298. three
  299. throw
  300. tired
  301. today
  302. tomorrow
  303. too
  304. travel
  305. try
  306. Tuesday
  307. twelve (12)
  308. two
  309. understand
  310. university
  311. use
  312. vacation
  313. very
  314. visit
  315. voice
  316. wait
  317. walk
  318. want
  319. warm
  320. watch
  321. water
  322. wedding
  323. Wednesday
  324. week
  325. weekday
  326. what
  327. when
  328. where
  329. which
  330. white
  331. who
  332. why
  333. will
  334. win
  335. window
  336. with
  337. woman
  338. word
  339. work
  340. write
  341. write down
  342. writing
  343. wrong
  344. yellow
  345. yes
  346. yesterday
  347. you
  348. your