ASL Dictionary Letter A

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Up Abortion The dominant hand (right hand for a right-handed person) grabs an imaginary object from the horizontal, downturned, non-dominant '5' hand and then is thrown down and open.
Up About
in the general area)
The downturned open '5' hand moves in a counterclockwise direction in front of the body.
Up Accept Both open hands, palms down, are held in front of the chest. They move in unison toward the chest, where they come to rest, all fingers closed.
Up Achieve The 'D' hand, palms back, are held at each side of the head, near the temples. With a pivoting motion of the wrists, the hands swing up and around, simultaneously, to a position above the head, with palms facing out.
Up Add The two open hands, palms and fingers facing each other, with the left hand above the right, are brought together, with all fingers closing simultaneously.
Up Advice The left hand, held limp in front of the body, has its fingers pointing down. The fingers of the right hand, held all together, are placed on the top of the left hand, and then move forward, off the left hand, assuming a '5' position, palm down.
Up Afraid 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 After The right hand, held flat, palm facing the body, fingertips facing left, represents the fixed place in time. The left hand is placed against the back of the right, and moved straight out from the body. The relative positions of the two hands may be reversed, with the left remaining stationary near the body and the right moving out.
Up Afternoon The right arm, fingers together and pointing forward, rests on the back of the left hand, its fingers also together and pointing somewhat to the right. The right arm remains in the position about 45 degrees from the vertical.
Up Again The left hand open in the '5' position, palm up, is held before the chest. The right hand in the right-angle position, fingers pointing up, arches over and into the left palm.
Up Aggravate Both down turned hands are placed at the stomach, right fingers pointing left, and left fingers pointing right. Both hands move up slowly and then come apart explosively, with palms now facing each other. An expression of distress or annoyance is assumed.
Up Agree The index finger of the right 'D" hand, palm back, touches the forehead and then the two index fingers, both in the 'D' position, palms down, are brought together so they are side by side, pointing away from the body.
Up Airplane The 'Y' hand, palm down and drawn up near the shoulder, moves forward, up and away from the body. Either hand may be used.
Up Alarm The right index finger, pointing down or out, strikes the opposite palm repeatedly.
Up Alaska The right 'A' hand moves from the left side of the face to the right, describing an arc over the head.
Up Alcohol The right hand, with index and little fingers extended and remaining fingers held against the palm by the thumb, strikes the back of the down turned 'S' hand.
Up All Both hands are held in the right angle position, palms facing the body, and the right hand in front of the left. The right hand makes a sweeping movement around the left, and comes to rest with the back of the right hand resting in the left palm,
Up Alone The index finger, pointing straight up, palm facing the body, is rotated before the face in a counterclockwise direction.
Up Also Both index fingers, held together at one side of the body near waist level, point forward. As they travel to the other side of the body they separate an inch or two and come together again.
Up Always The index finger of the right 'D' hand points outward, away from the body, with palm facing left. The arm is rotated clockwise.
Up Amaze (The eyes pop open in amazement.) Both hands are held in modified 'O' positions with thumb and index finger of each hand near the eyes. These fingers suddenly flick open, and the eyes simultaneously pop open wide.
Up Ambulance The right hand, fingers extended, is positioned above the head. It rotates in imitation of a flashing emergency light.
Up Amount The right hand, palm up, is held before the chest, all fingers touching the thumb. The hand is tossed straight up, while the fingers open to the '5' position.
Up And Place the right open hand in front with palm facing in and fingers pointing to the left. Move the hand to the right while bringing fingertips together.
Up Anger The curved fingers of the right hand are placed in the center of the chest, and fly up suddenly and violently. An expression of anger is worn.
Up Annoy (ance) The left hand, fingers together and palm flat, is held before the body, facing somewhat down. The little finger side of the right hand, held with palm flat, makes one or several up-down chopping motions against the left hand, between its thumb and index finger.
Up Answer The tip of the right index finger, held in the 'D' position, palm facing the body, is placed on the lip, while the left 'D' hand, palm also facing the body, is held about a foot in front of the right hand. The right index finger, swinging around, moves toward and stops in a pointing position a few inches from the left index finger.
Up Apple Pivot the knuckle of the right closed index finger back and forth on the right cheek.
Up Appointment The right 'S' hand, palm down, is positioned above the left 'S' hand, also palm down. The right hand circles above the left in a clockwise manner and is brought down on the back of the left hand. At the same instant both hands move down in unison a short distance.
Up Argue (ment) The index fingers here represent the two sides of the argument. First the left index finger is slapped into the open right palm, and then the right makes the same movement into the left palm. This is repeated back and forth several times.
Up Arrange The hands, palms facing, fingers together and pointing away from the body, are positioned at the left side and held about a foot apart. With a slight up-down motion, as if describing waves, the hands travel in unison from left to right.
Up Arrival The right hand, palm facing the body and fingers pointing up, is brought forward from a position near the right shoulder and placed in the upturned palm of the left hand.
Up Articulate The right index finger, pointing left, describes a continuous small circle in front of the mouth. ("SPEAK") The right hand grasps the little finger edge of the left firmly. As it leaves this position, moving down and out, it assumes the position, palm facing left ("SKILL").
Up Artificial The index finger of the right 'D' hand, pointing to the left, moves in front of the lips, from right to left.
Up As a matter of fact The right index finger is placed up against the lips. It moves up and forward, in a small arc.
Up Ashamed
(bashful, 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 Ask Both hands, held upright about a foot in front of the chest, with palms facing and fingers pointing straight up, are positioned about a foot apart. Moving toward the chest, they come together until they touch, as if in prayer.
Up Asleep The fingers of the right open hand, facing the forehead, are placed on the forehead. The hand moves down and away from the head, with the fingers closing so that they all touch. The eyes meanwhile close, and the head bows slightly as in sleep.
Up Asset The index fingers form a plus sign, and then the right 'F' hand moves down an inch or two against the right side of the body, as if placing a coin into a pocket.
Up Assume Both hands, held palms down in the '5' position, are at chest level. With a grasping upward movement, both close into 'S' positions before the face.
Up Attitude The right 'A' hand describes a counterclockwise circle around the heart, and comes to rest against the heart.
Up Aunt Place the right 'A' hand close to the right cheek and shake back and forth several times.
Up Automatic
The left index finger, slightly curved, is held up. The right index finger, also slightly curved, palm up, slides up and down the left index finger.
Up Automobile
The hands grab an imaginary steering wheel and manipulate it.
Up Autumn The right hand, fingers together and palm facing down, makes several chopping motions against the left elbow, to indicate the felling of growing things in autumn.
Up Avoid Both 'A' hands, thumbs pointing straight up, are held some distance before the chest, with the left hand in front of the right. The right hand, swinging back and forth, moves away from the left and toward the chest.
Up Awake
(wake up)
Both hands are closed, with thumb and index finger of each hand held together, extended, and placed at the corners of the closed eyes. Slowly they separate, and the eyes open.
Up Awful Both hands, their fingertips touching their respective thumbs, are held, palms facing each other, near the temples. They are thrown out before the face, assuming '5' positions, palms still facing.
Up Awkward The '3' hands, palms down, move alternately up and down before the body.

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ASL Numbers 1-10 | ASL Alphabet

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M
| N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

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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.