Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Dictionary

A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

Search:

Or browse the dictionary by selecting a letter!
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

SIGN

Something that leads to something else. It may be an arbitrary or conventional sign that has a connection with what is signified only by agreement among people, as a flag symbolizes a nation. Or it may be a pure sign that leads to the knowledge of something without itself being first known, as our ideas lead to the knowledge of real objects. Instrumental signs give meaning or understanding, as words lead to the knowledge of things and of mental status. Manifestative signs show the existence of something else, as a person's external behavior indicates his or her personality and training.

Each of these types of signs may be either natural or supernatural depending on whetehr its basis is founded on natural reason or divine revelation.

The whole of the Church' liturgy is built on the function of word, action, and object signs as symbols of the sacred. But among the sacred signs the most important are the sacraments, which not only manifest the special presence of God but actually confer the grace they signify. (Etym. Latin signum, mark, sign, characteristic.)

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Another side of Francis: US-Cuba role shows Pope's diplomatic muscle 19 hours ago
Silly season: a Christmas approaches, a scholar questions whether Jesus ever existed 19 hours ago
The intrinsic immorality of torture: still not convinced? 24 hours ago
The Complexity of Reforming Religious Communities December 17
Speaking Softly to Women Religious December 16

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Europe seems 'elderly and haggard' CWN - November 25
Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch sign joint declaration, lament persecution of Christians CWN - December 1
Consistory for new cardinals scheduled for February CWN - December 11
Vatican report on US women religious calls for further self-assessment CWN - December 16
Pope brokered deal to open US-Cuba ties CWN - December 17