ASL Dictionary Letter S

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Up Sad
(gloom, sorrowful)
Both '5' hands, palms facing the eyes and fingers slightly curved, drop simultaneously to a level with the mouth. The head drops slightly as the hands move down, and an expression of sadness is assumed.
Up Safe
(noun & adjective)
The 'S' hands, crossed in front of the body, swing apart and face out.
Up Said
(mention, speak, talk, tell)
The right index finger, pointing left, describes a continuous small circle in front of the mouth.
Up Salt
Both 'H' hands, palms down, are held before the chest. The fingers of the right 'H' hand tap those of the left several times.
Up Same
(alike, similar)
Bring index fingers together with palms facing down.
Up Sandwich The fingers of the upturned right hand are tucked between the middle and third fingers of the left hand, whose palm faces the signer. The motion may be repeated.
Up Satisfaction Both 'B' hands (or '5' hands, fingers together) are placed palms down against the chest, the right above the left. Both move down simultaneously a few inches.
Up Scare
(scared, afraid, fear, frightened)
Both hands, fingers together, are placed side by side, palms facing the chest. They quickly open and come together over the heart, one on top of the other.
Up School Clap the hands two or three times.
Up Search The right 'C' hand, palm facing left, moves from right to left across the line of vision, in a series of counterclockwise circles. The signer's gaze remains concentrated and his head turns slowly from right to left.
Up See The right 'V' hand, palm facing the body, is placed so that the fingertips are just under the eyes. The hand swings straight out.
Up Selfish Both prone open or 'V' hands are held in front of the body with fingers bent. The hands are then drawn quickly and forcefully inward, as if raking things toward oneself.
Up Send
(sent, sending)
The right fingertips tap the back of the downturned, left 'S' hand and then swing forward, away from the hand.
Up Senior
(college student)
The right index finger touches the thumbtip of the left hand. Also, the open '5' hand, palm down, may rest on the left thumbtip.
Up Sensitive
The middle finger of the right hand touches the chest over the heart very briefly and lightly, and is then flicked off.
Up Sentence
(noun & verb)
The downturned 'F' hands are positioned with thumbs and index fingertips touching. The hands move straight apart to either side in a wavy or straight motion.
Up Separate
(verb, adjective, & noun)
Both hands, in the right-angle position, are placed palms down before the body, knuckles to knuckles. They pull apart or separate, once or a number of times.
Up Several The right 'A' hand is held palm facing up. One by one the fingers open, beginning with the index finger and ending with the little finger. Some use only the index and middle fingers.
Up Sewing machine The left index finger points straight forward. The right thumb and index, forming a somewhat elongated circle, moves forward repeatedly over the index, from knuckle to tip, imitating the up-down movement of the needle.
Up Shine
(shined, shining, shone)
The left hand, held supinely (hand flat with palm down) before the chest, represents the object from which the rays glisten. The right hand, in the '5' position, touches the back of the left slightly and moves up toward the right, pivoting slightly at the wrist, with fingers wiggling.
Up Shirt With fingertips resting on the chest, both hands move down simultaneously. The action is repeated.
Up Shoes
Strike the thumb sides of both closed hands together a few times. (Both 'S' hands, palms facing down are brought together.)
Up Shop
(noun & verb
The right hand, palm up and all fingertips touching the thumb, is placed in the upturned left hand. From this position it moves forward and off the left hand a number of times. The right fingers usually remain against the thumb, but they may be opened very slightly each time the right hand moves forward.
Up Short
The index and middle fingers of the right 'H' hand are placed across the tips of the index and middle fingers of the left 'H' hand, and move a short distance back and forth, along the length of the left index finger.
Up Short
The right hand, in right-angle position, pats on imaginary head at approximately chest level.
Up Show
(demonstrate, display, exhibit)
The right index finger points into the left palm, held facing out before the body. The left palm moves straight out.
Up Show
(act, perform, performance, play)
Both 'A' hands, palms out, are held at shoulder height and rotate alternately toward the head.
Up Shy The backs of the fingers of the right hand, held in the right-angle position, are placed against the right cheek. The hand moves up along the cheek, pivoting at the wrist, so that the fingers finally point to the rear.
Up Sign Language The 'D' hands, palms facing and index fingers pointing back toward the face, describe a series of continuous counterclockwise circles toward and away from the face, imitating the foot motion in bicycling. The downturned 'F' hands are positioned with thumbs and index fingertips touching, and the hands move straight apart to either side in a wavy motion. (This second portion of the sign is often omitted.)
Up Simple
The right fingertips brush repeatedly over their upturned left counterpart, causing them to move.
Up Sink
Both downturned hands mime turning a pair of faucets. The upturned open hands then trace the outline of a sink, from the bottom to the sides.
Up Sister The thumb of the right 'A' hand moves down along the right jawbone, almost to the chin. The outstretched fingers are brought together either once or several times.
Up Sit
(seat, chair)
Place the palm side of the right 'H' fingers on the back of the left 'H' fingers; then move both hands down slightly.
Up Situation The right 'S' hand makes a counterclockwise circle around the upturned left index finger.
Up Sleep
(noun & verb)
The signer's head leans to the right and rests in the upturned palm of the open right hand.
Up Small
The extended right thumb and index fingers are held slightly spread. They are then moved slowly toward each other until they almost touch.
Up Soda pop The left 'O' hand is held with thumb edge up, representing a bottle. The thumb and index finger of the right '5' hand represent a cork, and are inserted into the circle formed by the 'O' hand. The palm of the open right hand then strikes down on the upturned edge of the 'O' hand, as if forcing the cork into the bottle.
Up Some The little finger edge of the open right hand moves straight down the middle of the upturned left palm.
Up Sometimes
(occasionally, once in a while)
The right index finger, resting in the open left palm, which is facing right, swings up slowly from its position to one in which it is pointing straight up. The movement is repeated slowly, after a pause.
Up Son The thumb and index finger of the right hand are brought up to grasp an imaginary cap brim. The arms are held with one resting on the other, as if cradling a baby.
Up Song The right '5' hand, palm facing left, is waved back and forth next to the left hand, in a series of elongated figure-eights.
Up Special The index finger and thumb of the right hand grasp and pull up the left index finger.
Up Speed
(noun & verb)
The thumbtip of the upright right hand is flicked quickly off the tip of the curved right index finger, as if shooting marbles.
Up Spring
(the season)
The right fingers, pointing up, emerge from the closed left hand, and they spread open as they do. The action may be repeated.
Up Stand
(noun & verb)
The downturned right 'V' fingers are thrust into the upturned left palm.
Up Stop
(halt, cease)
Bring the little-finger side of the right flat hand down sharply at right angles on the left palm.
Up Story
(a tale)
Both open hands are held close to each other, with fingers open and palms facing and almost touching. As the hands are drawn apart, the thumb and index finger of each hand come together to form circles. This is repeated several times.
Up Stove The open right hand rests on the upturned left palm. The right hand flips over and comes to rest with its back on the left palm, as if it has turned over a pancake. The shape of the stove is then indicate: both downturned hands move apart, and then, with palms facing each other, downwards.
Up Sweetheart The 'A' hands are placed together before the body with thumbs up. The thumbs wiggle up and down.

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ASL Numbers 1-10 | ASL Alphabet

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Many of these definitions are from the "American Sign Language Concise Dictionary" Copyright © 1994 by Martin L.A. Sternberg
Hand signs from the ASL Fingerspell (amslan) font.
Special thanks to the creators of the Michigan State University ASL Browser Web Site for providing the animated signs.