ASL Dictionary – Learn Essential Vocabulary

July 17, 2018
Category: ASL Dictionary

This ASL dictionary is for you! We have included over 1,000 words and phrases from our Complete 3-Level ASL Course vocabulary lists.

This means that if you learn this essential vocabulary from our dictionary, you can start having basic conversations in sign language before you know it!

Are you intimidated by massive ASL dictionaries? Then this is the right place to start!

Our dictionary is not small, but it is not huge either. Just how Goldilocks would like it - our dictionary has just the right amount of vocabulary to not be too overwhelming!

If you actually take the time to learn the vocabulary in our ASL dictionary below, then you will have learned enough to start having basic conversations!

Keep in mind, though, that you also need to learn ASL syntax and grammar in order to communicate correctly in American Sign Language, so don’t forget to check out our complete American Sign Language course options where you can learn American Sign Language and not just vocabulary!

ASL Dictionary | By Letter

If you're not able to join our Complete 3-Level ASL Course just yet, you can focus on learning the words in this ASL dictionary and you will have a great foundation for becoming fluent in American Sign Language when you're ready!

ASL Dictionary | By Category

Not ready to learn everything just yet? Or are you looking for something specific? Check out our sign language dictionary categories below!

Top 150 Basic Sign Language Words


Common
People
School
Family
Descriptions
Home
Time
Animals Want more information about this list? Visit our Basic Words in Sign Language page.

Sign Language Phrases


Want more information about our phrases? Visit our American Sign Language Phrases page.

Sign Language Alphabet


To find our American Sign Language alphabet chart, printable coloring pages, and more, visit our American Sign Language Alphabet page.

American Sign Language Numbers


Here you can learn how to sign different ASL numbers. It's not just about learning numbers 1-10, but also how to sign multiples, ages, money, time, and more! Each way to sign numbers is unique in American Sign Language.

More Numbers:

Years

When you are signing a year, you would sign it as you would say it in English. For 1987, you would sign 19 and then 87. For the years 2000 and on, signers are signing them as 2-000 (sliding your hand with the 0 handshape to indicate multiple digits) or 2-00-1 (sliding your hand for the 0’s). Some signers use the sign for THOUSAND as part of the sign for years 2000 and up.

Phone Numbers and Addresses

When you are signing a phone number or address, you keep your palm facing away from you and sign each number. With a phone number, you also sign a short pause where the hyphens would be.

Fractions

Fractions are signed exactly as they look. With your palm facing you, first sign the top number (the numerator), move your hand downward slightly, and sign the bottom number (the denominator). For example, to sign 1/2, you would sign “1,” move your hand downward slightly, and sign “2.”

Height

Height is signed exactly the opposite of fractions. The number of feet is signed first, you move your hand upward slightly, and then sign the number of inches.

Letters and Numbers

When you are having a conversation involving both letters and numbers, you would slightly shake the numbers back and forth and sign the letters normally. This way, you distinguish between signing the numbers and letters.

Baby Sign Language Dictionary

This simple baby sign language dictionary is a great way to learn basic signs to teach your baby. They are organized by lessons from the free baby sign language lessons on this site. The first signs that are listed are the first signs you should teach your baby and they become more advanced as you go.

Keep in mind that this dictionary is best used with our free baby sign language lessons. With those lessons, you will go through 12 easy steps of communicating with your baby before he or she can speak. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing what your baby wants so he doesn’t cry or scream simply out of frustration. We highly recommend checking out the free lessons.

Unit 3
Unit 6
Unit 9

The Best Sign Language Dictionary Recommendations

Want to learn even more vocabulary? A hard copy sign language dictionary is always great to have around as you are learning American Sign Language! We have checked out many dictionaries and read their reviews. There are a lot of good dictionaries out there, but, from what we have found, the best ones are listed below.

Please note that when you choose to purchase through the external links on this website (in many but not all cases) we will receive a referral commission. However, this commission does not influence the information we provide in this site. We always give honest opinions and reviews to share our findings, beliefs, and/or experiences. You can view our full disclosure on this page.

Religious Signing: A Comprehensive Guide For All Faiths
If you want to learn religious signs, or plan to interpret church services, this book is wonderful! It’s a great comprehensive guide and is easy to understand. We highly recommend it!

American Sign Language Dictionary, Third Edition
This is a huge book and explains more than 5,000 signs and has over 8,000 illustrations. You definitely need to have a dictionary like this if you are learning American Sign Language! When you want to look up an obscure word, it’s most likely in here!

The Gallaudet Dictionary of American Sign Language
This is a very popular ASL dictionary. The book includes over 3,000 signs and comes with a DVD. You are able to type in a word on the DVD and the word comes up with a video in ASL. It is great for both beginners and seasoned signers. Highly recommended!

The American Sign Language Handshape Dictionary
This is a great resource in that the dictionary is organized by handshape, not by word. This way, when you see a sign, you are able to look it up to learn what it means. We highly recommend this book for the ASL learner.

Random House Webster’s American Sign Language Dictionary
This dictionary is a great resource to have. It not only illustrates vocabulary in ASL (the pictures are good, but not the best), but also idiomatic expressions. Knowing expressions like these is very important when engaging in an actual conversation with a Deaf person. We recommend this dictionary for anyone learning sign language.

Random House Webster’s American Sign Language Medical Dictionary
Medical terminology is always the most difficult to learn and find. I don’t think I ever really learned medical terms in ASL from taking a class. Therefore, this book is a must-have resource!

Signs of Drug Use: An Introduction to Some Drug and Alcohol Related Vocabulary in American Sign Language
This book is a must for any interpreter, healthcare professional, counselor, psychologist, or educator involved with the Deaf population. It is very comprehensive and presents numerous signs and approaches for each drug and alcohol related concept. This book is not for beginners, but is a wonderful vocabulary tool for those already familiar with ASL linguistics.

Signs of Sexual Behavior: An Introduction to Some Sex-Related Vocabulary in American Sign Language
This book is a must for any interpreter, healthcare professional, counselor, psychologist, or educator involved with the Deaf population. It is very comprehensive and presents numerous signs and approaches for each sex related concept. This book is not for beginners, but is a wonderful vocabulary tool for those already familiar with ASL linguistics.

Signs of Health (BSL) Pocket Medical Sign Language
This is a great book for any interpreter, healthcare professional, counselor, psychologist, or educator involved with the Deaf population. It is a pocket-sized dictionary and is a wonderful medical vocabulary tool for those already familiar with ASL linguistics.

Compact Visual Dictionary of Expressive Worship
This is a very comprehensive dictionary that includes signs, gestures, body movements, and more for presentations and the performing arts.

ASL in Motion Dictionary (DVD)
Here is a DVD sign language dictionary (if you were looking for one). Instead of a book or software, this DVD would work just as well as an ASL dictionary.

Ward’s Natural Sign Language Thesaurus of Useful Signs and Synonyms
A great sign language thesaurus and probably the only one available!

What's Your Favorite Sign?

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