Basic Words in Sign Language

Top 150 Basic Words in Sign Language

Below are videos of the top 150 basic words in sign language.

These are the words that you should learn first. Learning these words is a great way to build a basic vocabulary foundation before learning American Sign Language. These 150 words were chosen by finding the most important words learned in ASL 1. These are the words that students learn first in the class and are therefore extremely useful to learn–especially if you plan to take an ASL class in the future.

These top 150 words have been organized into 11 categories: Common, People, Questions, School, Home, Family, Time, Food, Colors, Animals, and Descriptions. This should make them easy to find and easier to learn. The more important categories are listed toward the top. These are the signs you will find yourself using the most often. The categories toward the bottom are best for enriching basic conversations. Keep in mind that this list is just a starter and contains only the most common basic signs used in American Sign Language.

And, of course, there is more to American Sign Language than just memorizing vocabulary. ASL has its own grammar, syntax, culture, and history! Don’t forget to check out our free American Sign Language online classes where you can start learning sign language and not just the basic words!












Want to learn more?…

Don’t forget to check out our free American Sign Language online classes where you can start learning sign language and not just the basic words!


  1. Lily Gates

    My ASL friends, Tim and Lauren, helped me with sign language. However, when i started using this site I understood so much more than they could ever teach me. Yay!

  2. Angela J Kahl

    I’m an ESL teacher in South Korea. After poking around on here and experimenting, I’m using ASL vocabulary to help me learn Korean as well as teach my students English. It’s also helping me communicate with an autistic student who goes nonverbal whenever there’s too much noise.


  3. Carol

    This site is amazing and I have already learned how to sign multiple words. I have tried to enroll in my college ASL class, but it is extremely hard to get into! I am hearing, but I will work in the counseling field, so it is my responsibility to make sure that I can communicate in several different languages. I am so excited to have found this site! Once I catch on a bit more, I will go ahead and purchase a tutor or material when I can afford it.

  4. sierra vest

    I would like to be a sign language interpreter as my job career i’m only 17 so i would like to became semi fluent in sign language before i go to college school for it if took me months to find a website that would work and then i found this website and its the absolute best so far. thank you!

  5. Hannah Jolly

    I started to Learn Sign Language at Camp Tidnish, It is a camp for people who have Intellectual disability’s This Site is very helpful to me because I learned how to speak to my best friend, She sent me this link because she is deaf and she wanted me to learn just like her little brother had to (Her brother is hearing)

  6. Miss.Gay

    I met my girlfriend when she didnt have hearing aids and i had to lean sign language and this really helped!

  7. KAYIGI Omar

    thank you so much for such a very helpful contribution of rising up deaf education.
    i am an educator in a school for the deaf in Rwanda(Estearn-Africa)

  8. Lauren Schweissing

    This has really helped me. I’ve been looking for videos but on youtube very many are giving incorrect signs now i just have to choose the word and watch the sign for that word.

  9. Yvonne Vankosky

    Thank you for this valuable information. I have a new friend who I want to have conversations with. I will learn ASL to speak to her!

  10. amori perryman

    Thanks for this you never know when you’ll meet a deaf person and i want to be able to speak to them.

Please leave only comments that add to the article or discussion. Any help or support comments should be directed to Start ASL Help & Support. Thank you!