By Author [ 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 |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ 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 |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Sign Talk - A Universal Signal Code, Without Apparatus, for Use in the - Army, the Navy, Camping, Hunting, and Daily Life
Author: Seaton, Ernest Thompson
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Sign Talk - A Universal Signal Code, Without Apparatus, for Use in the - Army, the Navy, Camping, Hunting, and Daily Life" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

(This file was produced from images generously made


  _A Universal Signal Code, Without Apparatus,
  for Use in the Army, the Navy, Camping,
  Hunting, and Daily Life_

  Ernest Thompson Seton

  _Author of “Wild Animals I Have Known,”
  “Life Histories of Northern Animals,”
  “The Book of Woodcraft,” etc., etc._

  _Chief of the Woodcraft League of America_


  With additional Signs used by other tribes,
  also a few necessary Signs from the code
  of the Deaf in Europe and America, and
  others that are established among
  our Policemen, Firemen,
  Railroad Men, and
  School Children

  IN ALL 1,725

  Prepared with assistance from
  General Hugh L. Scott, U. S. A.

  The French and German equivalent words added by
  Lillian Delger Powers, M. D.



  _Copyright, 1918, by_

  _All rights reserved, including that of
  translation into foreign languages,
  including the Scandinavian_


In offering this book to the public after having had the manuscript
actually on my desk for more than nine years, let me say frankly that no
one realizes better than myself, now, the magnitude of the subject and
the many faults of my attempt to handle it.

My attention was first directed to the Sign Language in 1882 when I went
to live in Western Manitoba. There I found it used among the various
Indian tribes as a common language, whenever they were unable to
understand each other’s speech. In later years I found it a daily
necessity when traveling among the natives of New Mexico and Montana,
and in 1897, while living among the Crow Indians at their agency near
Fort Custer, I met White Swan, who had served under General George A.
Custer as a Scout. He had been sent across country with a message to
Major Reno, so escaped the fatal battle; but fell in with a party of
Sioux, by whom he was severely wounded, clubbed on the head, and left
for dead. He recovered and escaped, but ever after was deaf and
practically dumb. However, sign-talk was familiar to his people and he
was at little disadvantage in daytime. Always skilled in the gesture
code, he now became very expert; I was glad indeed to be his pupil, and
thus in 1897 began seriously to study the Sign Language.

In 1900 I included a chapter on Sign Language in my projected Woodcraft
Dictionary, and began by collecting all the literature. There was much
more than I expected, for almost all early travellers in our Western
Country have had something to say about this _lingua franca_ of the

As the material continued to accumulate, the chapter grew into a
Dictionary, and the work, of course, turned out manifold greater than
was expected. The Deaf, our School children, and various European
nations, as well as the Indians, had large sign vocabularies needing
consideration. With all important print on the subject I am fairly well
conversant, besides which I have had large opportunities in the field
and have tried to avail myself of them to the fullest extent, carrying
my manuscript from one Indian tribe to another, seeking out always the
best sign-talkers among them, collecting and revising, aiming to add all
the best signs in use to those already on record.

       *       *       *       *       *

The following are the chief printed works on Sign Language:

=1823. The Indian Language of Signs= by Major Stephen H. Long, published
in his Expedition to the Rocky Mts., 1823, Vol. I, pp. 378–394. Gives
104 signs. The earliest extensive vocabulary on record.

=1880. Gesture Signs and Signals of the North American Indians= by
Lieut. Col. Garrick Mallery. An elaborate and valuable 330 page quarto
compilation from many contributors; published by the Bureau of American
Ethnology of the Smithsonian Institution, 1880.

It was preliminary to the much more extended work published the year
following, and combines in itself all the important vocabularies
published up to that time, including: _Wm. Dunbar’s List_ pub. Trans.
Am. Phil. Soc., January 16, 1801; about 60 signs; _Prince Maximilian von
Wied-Neuwied’s List_, Reise, Nord. Am., 1832–34, 1837; _Capt. R. F.
Burton’s List_ pub. in “The City of the Saints,” 1862; _Dr. D. G.
MacGowan’s List_ pub. in _Historical Magazine_, Vol. X, 1866, pp. 86–97;
also Manuscript Lists supplied by _Col. R. I. Dodge_, _Dr. William H.
Corbusier_, U. S. A., and about forty other contributors.

=1881. Sign Language Among the North American Indians= compared with
that among other peoples and Deaf Mutes, by Col. Garrick Mallery; 290
page quarto, 286 illustrations, an elaborate examination of the history,
origin, and nature of the Sign Language, with extensive vocabularies.
Published in 1st Annual Report, Bureau of American Ethnology, 1881.

=1885. The Indian Sign Language= by Capt. William Philo Clark, U. S. A.,
244 pp. octavo, quite the best book on the subject, giving over 1,000
signs with photographic exactness; it is also one of the best early
encyclopedic books on Indians in general; unfortunately, it is without
illustrations and is out of print. Published by Hamersly & Co., of
Philadelphia, 1885.

This is practically the only publication quoted in preparing this work.
I have referred to it continually as a standard—as the highest available
authority. (W. P. Clark was born July 27, 1845, at Deer River, Lewis
Co., New York. Graduated from West Point June 15, 1868. Served on the
Plains in 2d Cavalry during the Indian wars of 1876 to 1880. Died at
Washington, D. C., September 23, 1884.)


About twenty-five years ago there lived in Anadarko, Indian Territory,
an enthusiastic missionary worker named Lewis F. Hadley, known to the
Indians as Ingonompashi.

He made a study of Sign Language in order to furnish the Indians with a
pictographic writing, based on diagrams of the signs, and meant to be
read by all Indians, without regard to their speech. Pointing to the
Chinese writing as a model and parallel, he made a Sign Language font of
4,000 pictographic types for use in his projected works. He maintained
that 110,793 Indians were at that time sign-talkers and he proposed to
reach them by Sign-Language publications.

In pursuance of his plan, he issued the following:

=1887. List of the Primary Gestures in Indian Sign Talk.= “Only 19
copies were printed.” It was intended as a prodrome to “_extended works
and a magazine in Hands-tal[k]ing_.”

It consists of 63 pages with 684 crude woodblocks of white lines on
black ground, illustrating signs, alphabetically arranged, but without
captions or text of any kind, except the explanation on the title page,
abridged as above.

=1890. A Lesson in Sign Talk=, designed to show the use of the line
showing the movement of the hands in the Indian Gesture Language, by
In-go-nom-pa-shi, Fort Smith, Ark., 1890. Copyrighted by Lewis F.
Hadley, 12 pp. A portrait of him by himself is on p. 11, inscribed
“In-go-nom-pa-shi, drawn by himself at 60 years.”

It devotes 3 pages to general discussion of Sign Talk, 1½ pages to
reform of our spelling, the rest is given to general remarks with 12
poor illustrations in white line, also a Scripture text with 15 signs
drawn, the Lord’s Prayer with 55 drawn signs, and on p. 12, The Indian
Little Star, a novel version of “Twinkle, Twinkle,” rendered in 97 drawn

=1893. Indian Sign Talk.= Being a Book of Proofs of the matter printed
or equivalent cards designed for teaching sign-talking Indians as much
English as can be explained through the medium of their “Universal”
Gesture Language, by Ingonompashi, copyrighted May 15, 1893, “only 75
copies are saved.”

This is Hadley’s most extended work. It is a dictionary of the Sign
Language, in 268 large octavo leaves printed on one side only of each

It consists of 9 pages of Preface and general matter, 192 pp. of
dictionary alphabetically arranged, each page having three gestures
figured and beside each the equivalent in English. A total of 577 signs
(including a double). Pages 193 to 205 are given to small reproductions
of the sign drawings to illustrate “measurements of type”—his font—about
800 illustrations, two pages of appendix with compound sign words, and
14 illustrations, 1 page of black type, 18 in number, 53 pages of
reading matter in signs, the above cited version of “Twinkle, Twinkle,
Little Star” and the story of “Wolf and the White Man” in signs; the
rest being Scripture texts and exhortations and the 19th Psalm, ending
with the Lord’s Prayer.

The cards referred to I have. They consist of 571 separate cards with an
illustrated sign on each and additional matter on the back. Besides
which there are about 100 separate cards each with a scripture text,
chapter, or sermonette on it, about 1,000 illustrations in all. The same
being the matter of the dictionary proper reproduced on separate cards,
the diagram on one side and the text on the other. The front matter and
the type measurements do not, however, appear on the cards. Though poor
as art, the drawings are of some value to the student.

This is the most ambitious work extant on the subject of Sign Language,
but seems to be quite unknown to most ethnologists, and is not in any
library, so far as I can learn, except the Library of Congress, the
Smithsonian Institution, the New York Public Library, the Library of
Prof. J. C. Elsom of Wisconsin State University, and my own collection.

Of the 75 copies issued, only these 5 have been accounted for, but cards
comprising the dictionary part were issued to the extent of 100,000 in
sets of 571 each, and the reading matter on cards to the number of over

=1910. The Sign Language=, by Prof. J. Schuyler Long, State School for
the Deaf, Council Bluffs, Iowa, published at Washington, D. C., 1910. A
valuable dictionary of about 1,500 signs used by the deaf, with 500
admirable photographic illustrations. Of these signs a large number seem
to be arbitrary, but many are evidently of good construction and quite
acceptable to Indian sign-talkers.

To these should be added:

=1832. La Mimica=, by Andrea de Jorio. “La mimica degli antichi
investigata nel Gestire Napoletano.” Napoli, 1832, 8vo, 372 pp., 21

This interesting Italian work on Sign Language was written to show that
the gestures figured on antique vases, etc., may be explained by their
modern parallels, especially as observed in Naples. The 21 plates
illustrate about one hundred of these gestures—about half of these are
reproduced in Mallery’s 1881 publication.

=1854. Dactylologie= by Louis de Mas-Latrie. “Dictionnaire de
Paleographie.” _Tome Quarante-septième_, pp. 179 to 366.

An extended study of Finger-talking as used by the deaf, the savages,
etc. About 30 American Indian signs are described and compared with
those of the deaf. No illustrations.

=1878. The Gesture Language=, by E. B. Tyler, in his studies in “Early
History of Mankind,” third edition, 1878, pp. 14–81.

An interesting but not very important dissertation on the Gesture
Language in use among the deaf, the Cistercian Monks, and the American
Indians. No illustrations.

=1883. Sign Language, Remarks on=, by Wilfred Powells in his “Wanderings
in a Wild Country.” An account of a three years’ residence in New
Britain (to the north of New Guinea), 1883, pp. 254–261, with 14 good
figures, showing the digital origin of numbers.

=1896. Arunta Sign Language=, E. C. Stirling. Rep. Horn Scientific
Exped. to Central Australia; IV, pp. 111–125.

A considerable discourse on the Sign Language as used by the very
primitive races. Many figures.

       *       *       *       *       *

My thanks are due to General Hugh Lenox Scott, U. S. A., one of the best
living sign-talkers, for a general review of the text, with new signs
and explanations as indicated.

To John Homer Seger of Colony, Oklahoma, for much assistance. He was for
45 years in official control of the Indians at Darlington and Colony,
Oklahoma. They were of the Southern Cheyenne, Kiowa, and Arapaho tribes
chiefly. All his communications with them were in the Sign Language, so
that he became one of our best experts. We have corresponded much, and
during a prolonged visit to his home in August, 1915, we together went
over every sign in this Manual. His signs were of the Cheyenne dialect.

To the Reverend Walter C. Roe (since dead) of Colony, Oklahoma, for many
notes and comments. He was so expert that he preached every Sunday in
the Sign Language.

To Sheeaka, or Cyiaka (The Mudhen), a Yanktonnais Sioux living at
Standing Rock. He worked over my entire manuscript with me in 1912,
endorsing most of the signs given by Clark, as well as adding those that
are accredited to him. He was considered the best sign-talker on the
reservation. His familiarity with the Sign Language was largely due to
the fact that a member of his family was a deaf-mute, so that he has
kept up the method while others of his generation are forgetting it.
Frank Zahn, an intelligent and educated half-breed, acted as interpreter
and helped with many suggestions.

In the autumn of 1916 I took my manuscript to Montana and received
valuable help from the following Blackfoot Indians:

Bearhead, an old-time, full-blooded Piegan Indian, with a pronounced
contempt for modern ways and modern signs; George Starr or Bull Calf, a
half-blood, who acted as interpreter for Bearhead; Medicine Owl, Eagle
Child, Three Bears, Two-Guns Whitecalf; all full-blooded Piegans and
excellent sign-talkers.

Heavy Breast, a half-blood, acted as interpreter, with assistance from
James C. Grant.

I am also indebted to Chasing Bear (Ma-to Hu-wa-pi), a Santee, and to
Chief Tom Frosted, a Yanktonnais; both of Standing Rock. About a dozen
good signs were given me by C. B. Ruggles, of Taos, New Mexico; and
helpful information was received from Thomas La Forge, official
interpreter for the Crow Nation, and Clitzo Dead-man, an educated Navaho
at Ganado, Arizona.

In the spring of 1917 I spent some time among the Cheyennes at Concho,
Oklahoma, checking up my lists. My chief source of information was
Robert Burns, an intelligent and educated Cheyenne, who spoke excellent
English and was also a good sign-talker. At the same time I got much
valuable assistance from Cheyenne Fanny (Mrs. Hamilton), Deafy Fletcher,
and numerous old Cheyennes and Arapahoes about the Post. Father Isadore,
of the St. Patrick’s Mission, Anadarko, Oklahoma, and the Reverend
Sherman Coolidge (Arapahoe), of Sheridan, Wyoming, also contributed.

In the case of special or unusual signs, I give the name of the best of
my authorities; but when, according to my own observation, the sign is
in general use and indorsed by practically all, no authority is cited.

I have to thank my friends James Mooney and F. W. Hodge of the
Smithsonian Institution, and Professor J. Schuyler Long, of Council
Bluffs, Iowa, for much helpful criticism; Professor Elmer D. Read, of
the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, for a review of the Introduction;
also, Doctor Charles A. Eastman (Ohiyesa), Colonel W. F. Cody (Buffalo
Bill), Hamlin Garland, Miss Frances Densmore, and Mrs. Mary Austin for
contributions or criticism.

For the French and German equivalent words I am chiefly indebted to
Doctor Lillian Delger Powers, of Mt. Kisco, New York. Some assistance
was given by Miss Dorothy Dwenger, of Greenwich, Connecticut, and Harry
G. Seides, Professor of German, Jersey City High School, New Jersey.

The drawings throughout are by myself.




Many thoughtful men have been trying for a century, at least, to give
mankind a world-speech which would overstep all linguistic barriers, and
one cannot help wondering why they have overlooked the Sign Language,
the one mode common to all mankind, already established and as old as
Babel. Yes, more ancient than the hills.

As far back as the records go, we find the Sign Language in use. General
Hugh L. Scott has pointed out nineteen examples in Homer. Greek vases,
Japanese bronzes, ancient Hindu statuary, as well as songs and legends
older than history, give testimony in like tenor. While Egyptologists
remind us that the oldest records show, not only that the Sign Language
was then used, but that the one original code was much like that in use
to-day. The fact that it is yet found all over the world wherever man is
man, is proof of its being built on human nature in the beginnings. We
might even argue that it is more ancient than speech.

Ideas certainly came before the words that express them. The idea of
“hunger” must be a thousand times as old as any existing “word” for
“hunger.” When it became necessary to communicate to another the idea of
hunger, it certainly was easier and more direct to communicate it by
gesture than by word. The word had, perforce, to be more or less
arbitrary, but the gesture was logical, and could at once indicate the
pain, its place, and even hint at the cause.

The possible variations of a mere squeak in a concealed pipe are
obviously less in number and far less graphic and logical than the
various movements of two active, free-moving, compound, visible parts of
the body that utilize all the dimensions of space, all the suggestions
of speed, motion, physical form and action, juxtaposition, yes, even a
measure of sound, and that could in a multitude of cases reproduce the
very idea itself.

Animals have far more gestures to express thoughts and emotions than
they have sounds, and children instinctively use gestures for various
ideas long before they acquire the sound for them. In all races as a
rule the very young children’s gestures are the same, but the different
words imposed by the different mothers have little or nothing in common,
and no obvious basis in logic. All of which goes to prove the greater
antiquity of eye-talk over ear-talk. To which conclusion we are forced
also by the superiority of sight over hearing as a sense. “Seeing is
believing,” is convincement: hearing is more open to challenge.

Nor can the sign-talk have changed radically, for it is founded on the
basic elements of human make-up, and on mathematics, and is so perfectly
ideographic that no amount of bad presentation can completely divert
attention from the essential thought to the vehicle; while punning is an

It had all the inherent possibilities of speech, was indeed capable of
even greater subtleties, as we have noted, and had a far greater
distance range, three or four times that of spoken words.

In view of the greater antiquity and many advantages that hand gestures
have over spoken language, one is prompted to ask: Why did it not
develop and continue man’s chief mode of inter-communication? The answer
is, doubtless, partly because it was useless in the dark or when the
person was out of sight or partly hidden by intervening things.
Diagrammatically expressed it was thus:


Speech therefore covers all directions night and day.

Gesture covers one-third of the circle in hours of light.

Therefore speech serves six times as many occasions as gesture.

But the chief reason for the triumph of the appeal to the ear is
doubtless because the hands were in constant use for other things; the
tongue was not; was indeed practically free to specialize for this end.


Being so fundamental, ancient, and persistent, Sign Language is,
_perforce_, universal. In some measure it is used by every race on earth
to-day. Eskimo and Zulu, Japanese and Frenchman, Turk and Aztec, Greek
and Patagonian. And whenever two men of hopelessly diverse speech have
met, they have found a medium of thought exchange in the old Sign
Language—the pantomimic suggestion of ideas.

Latin races are proverbially hand-talkers, so that the Sign Language is
more widely used among them than with Anglo-Saxons.

But the American Plains Indian is undoubtedly the best sign-talker the
world knows to-day. There are, or were, some thirty different tribes
with a peculiar speech of their own, and each of these communicated with
the others by use of the simple and convenient sign-talk of the plains.
It is, or was, the language of Western trade and diplomacy as far back
as the records go. Every traveller who visited the Buffalo Plains had
need to study and practise this Western Volapuk, and all attest its
simplicity, its picturesqueness, its grace, and its practical utility.

Many of the best observers among these have left us long lists of signs
in use, Alexander Henry in his gossipy journal among the Mandans of the
Missouri in 1806 tells us of the surprise and interest he felt in
watching two Indian chiefs of different tribes who conversed freely for
hours on all subjects of common interest, conveying their ideas
accurately by nothing but simple gestures.

The European races are much less gifted as sign-talkers. But we all have
a measure of it that is a surprise to most persons when first confronted
with the facts. Our school children especially make daily use of the
ancient signals.


In taking observations among school-boys and girls, I had this uniform
experience: All denied any knowledge of the Sign Language, _at first_,
but were themselves surprised on discovering how much of it they had in
established use.

One very shy little girl—so shy that she dared not speak—furnished a
good illustration:

“Do you use the Sign Language in your school?” I asked.

She shook her head.

“Do you learn any language but English?”

She nodded.

“What is the use of learning any other than English?”

She raised her right shoulder in the faintest possible shrug and at the
same time turned her right palm slightly up.

“Now,” was my reply, “don’t you see you have answered all my three
questions in signs which you said you did not use?”

Following the subject, I said: “What does this mean?” and held up my
right hand with the first and second fingers crossed.

“Pax,” she whispered; and then, after further trials, I learned that at
least thirty signs were in daily use in that local school.

This was in England. In America the sign “Pax,” or “King’s cross,” is
called “King’s X,” “Fines” or “Fins” or “Fends,” “Bars up” or “Truce,”
meaning always, “I claim immunity.”

This is a very ancient sign and seems to refer to the right of
sanctuary. The name “King’s cross,” used occasionally in England, means
probably the sanctuary in the King’s palace.

In general I found about 150 gesture signals in established use among
American school children, namely:

Me (Tap one’s own chest).

You (Pointing to you).

Yes (Nod).

No (Shake head).

Good (Nod and clap hands).

Bad (Shake head and grimace).

Go (Pushing flat hand forward, palm forward).

Come (Drawing in flat hand, palm toward one).

Hurry (The same repeated vigorously several times).

Come for a moment (Beckon with forefinger, hand unmoved).

Stop (Flat hand held up, palm forward).

Gently (Flat hand held low, palm down, gently waved).

Good-bye (Flat hand held high, palm down and forward, fingers quickly
waved up and down).

Up (Point up).

High (Flat hand, palm down, held up at arm’s length).

Deep (Left flat hand palm down at level of mouth, right palm up, as low
as possible).

Heaven (Point up very high and look up).

Down (Point down).

Forward (Swing index forward and down in a curve).

Backward (Jerk thumb over shoulder).

Across (Hold left hand out flat, palm down, run right index across it).

Over or Above (Hold out flat left, palm down, and above it hold ditto

Under (Reverse of foregoing).

Hush (Index finger on lips).

Listen (Curved hand behind ear).

Look (Flat hand over eyes).

Look there (Point and look in same direction).

Touch (Reach out and touch with index).

Taste (Lay finger on tongue).

Smell (Hold palm to nose).

Friendship (Hand shake).

Warning (Index finger held up).

Threatening (Fist held up).

Weeping (With index finger at each eye, trace course of tears).

Shame on you (Point one index at the person and draw the other along it
several times in same direction).

You make me ashamed (Cover eyes and face with hands).

Mockery (Stick tongue out at person).

Disdain (Snap fingers toward person).

Scorn (Throw an imaginary pinch of sand at person).

Insolent defiance (Thumb to nose, hand spread).

Arrogant (Indicate swelled head).

Pompous (Indicate big chest).

Incredulity (Expose white of eye with finger, as though proving “No
green there”).

I am no fool (Tap one side of the nose).

Joke (Rub side of nose with index).

Connivance (Winking one eye).

Puzzled (Scratch the head).

Crazy (Tap forehead with index then describe a circle with it).

Despair (Pulling the hair).

Sleepy (Put a fist in each eye).

Bellyache (Hands clasped across the belly).

Sick (A grimace and a limp dropping of the hands).

Applause (Clap hands).

Victory (Swing an imaginary flag over head).

Upon my honor (Draw a cross over heart or cross the hands over breast).

I am seeking (Looking about and pointing finger in same directions).

I am thinking (Lay index on brow, lower head and look out under brows).

I have my doubts (Slowly swing head from side to side).

I will not listen (Hold flat hands on ears).

I will not look (Cover eyes with hands).

I forget (Slowly shake head, and brush away something in air, near the

I claim exemption, or “Fins” or “Bar up” (Middle finger crossed on

I beg of you (Flat hand palm to palm, pointing to the person).

I pray (Clasped hands held up).

I am afraid, or surrender (Hold up both flat hands, palm forward).

I wind him around my finger (Make the action with right thumb and index
around left index).

I have him under my thumb (Press firmly down with top of right thumb).

You surprise me (Flat hand on open mouth).

I send you a kiss (Kiss the finger tips of right hand and throw it

Search me (Hold the coat flaps open, one in each hand).

Swim (Strike out with flat hands).

Dive (Flat hands together, moved in a curve, forward and down).

Will you come swimming? (Two fingers in V shape held up level).

Will you? or Is it so? (Look, nod and raise brows).

Fool or Ass (A thumb in each ear, flat hands up).

Cut-throat (Draw index across throat).

Indifference (A shoulder shrug).

Ignorance (A shrug and a head shake).

Pay (Hold out closed hand, palm up, rubbing thumb and index tips

Jew (Flat hands waved near shoulders, palms up).

Bribe (Hold hollow hand, palm up, behind one).

It is in my pocket (Slap pocket with flat hand).

Give me my bill (Beckon, then write on air).

Match (Make the sign of striking a match on the thigh).

Set it afire (Sign match, and then thrust it forward).

Pistol (Making barrel with left index, stock and hammer with right
hooked on; snapping right index from thumb).

That tastes good (Smack the lips).

The food was good (Pat the stomach).

Bad taste (Grimace and spitting out).

Bad smell (Hold the nose).

Bend (With right hand bend left index).

Break (With fists touching, make as though to bend a stick, then swing
the fists apart).

Hot (Wet middle finger in mouth, reach it forward and jerk it back).

Cold (Fists near shoulder and shaken).

Paint (Use flat right as a brush to paint flat left).

Shave (Use finger or thumb on face as a razor).

Wash (Revolve hands on each other as in washing).

Knife (With right fist as though holding knife, whittle left index).

Revolver (Hold out right fist with index extended and thumb up).

Gun or shooting (Hold hands as in aiming a gun).

Drive horses (Work the two fists, side by side).

Give me (Hold out flat hand, palm up).

Write (Make the action with index).

Strike (Strike down with fist).

Fighting (Make the fists menace each other).

Drinking (Lift right hand to mouth as though it held a glass).

Smoking (Make as though holding a pipe and drawing).

Rub it out (Wet tips of right fingers, and seem to rub).

Thank you (Bow and, at the same time, swing flat right, palm up, a
little way down and to one side).

Church (Hands clasped, fingers in, but index fingers up and touching).

Get up (Raise flat right, palm up, from low up high).

Sit down (Drop flat right, palm down, from high, down low).

Here (Pointing down, hand swung in small circle).[1]

In all, 110; besides the compass points, the features of the face, the
parts of the body, the numerals up to 20 or 30, and a great many
half-established signs, such as book, telephone, ring the bell, etc.,
which, if allowed, would bring the number up to nearly 200.

As another line of observation, I have asked New York boys, “How many
signs does the Broadway policeman use in regulating the traffic?” Any
bright child remembers presently that the officer seldom speaks, could
scarcely be heard if he did. Indeed, he relies chiefly on Sign Language
and hourly uses the established signs for “Stop,” “Come on,” “Come
here,” “Go right,” “Go left,” “Go back,” “Hurry up,” “Go easy,” “I warn
you,” “I’ll punish you,” “Pass,” “Keep behind me,” “Scorn,” and,
perhaps, one or two others.

While not infrequently the small boy responds with the sign of “insolent
defiance” that is used the world ’round, and was probably invented by
Cain and Abel.

Similarly, the car conductor uses the signs for “Do you want this car?”
“Do you want transfer?” “How many?” “Go on,” as well as most of the

Evidently, then, the Sign Language is used of necessity in much of our
life where speech is impossible.


It is inevitable that a world-wide language be split into variant forms.
Besides the fragmentary Sign Code among our children, the more copious
list of signs among Latins, and the code of the Cistercian or Trappist
Monks, there are the Deaf Code and the Sign Language of the American
Indians. Only the two last are widely established and at all complete as
languages to-day.


The Sign Language used by the deaf was originated in France by Abbé de
l’Epée about 1759, with a view to facilitating the intercommunication of
the deaf. His signs were largely arbitrary or founded on the spelling of
French words, usually in abbreviated form, so that it was merely a
short-hand of French done into finger-spelling.

While this was the case at its beginning, the deaf themselves had
instinctively done so much in the way of introducing pantomime and
expressive gesture, that they have half redeemed the Code from its
unfortunate original plan, and, in so doing, have made themselves
intelligible to an immensely larger audience.


So far as I can learn, no student hitherto has compared the various
methods without being convinced that the American Indian Sign Language
is the best extant. It is theoretically perfect and practically
complete. In order to make this evident, I must offer a definition and
some comparative details.

_A true Sign Language is an established code of logical gestures to
convey ideas; and is designed as an appeal to the eye, without the
assistance of sounds, grimaces, apparatus, personal contact, written or
spoken language, or reference to words or letters; preferably made by
using only the hands and adjoining parts of the body._

Measured by these standards, there is only one true Gesture Language in
the field to-day; that is the sign-talk of the American Indians. It is
established over the whole area of the Great Plains; and, though varied
locally, is essentially the same from Saskatchewan to Rio Grande.

In general, it is claimed that there are two well-marked dialects of
this: the northern, which is a _whole hand_ and a _two-hand_ dialect;
the central and southern, which is a _finger_ and _one-hand_ dialect.

The former is better for far signalling; the latter for conversation.
There are, however, many exceptions to these rules; and, in any case,
they are so close akin that Indians from opposite extremes of the Plains
have no difficulty in conversing with each other.

The Cheyennes originally lived in a central region where they had
intercourse with a dozen tribes whose spoken language differed from
their own; so they became very expert sign-talkers, perhaps the best.
They have amplified to the number of several thousand signs, and
simplified until theirs has become largely a one-hand code; therefore,
as far as possible, I make the Cheyenne sign-talk my standard. All signs
herein given I have found in use among the southern Cheyennes and are
understood to be Cheyenne except when another source is specifically

Clark gives first place among gesture talkers to the Cheyennes and their
associates the Arapahoes, whose sign-talk was the same, though their
speech was very different, so that the signs for which he is authority
may also be considered Cheyenne.

The signs given me as Indian by Sheeaka and his friend, Tom Frosted,
should be cautiously received if one would study the ancient code.
Sheeaka had in his family a deaf-mute, who probably imported some signs
from the Deaf Code, as indicated.

In cases where there were different signs for the same idea, I have
selected the simplest and clearest, the least like other signs; or,
other things equal, the one most extensively used, preferring a one-hand
to a two-hand sign.

Usually that sign is best from the locality where the idea is most
familiar. Thus the Sioux sign for “tree squirrel” is poor; the Modoc
sign is very good. The Navaho signs for “domestic sheep” are numerous
and clearly differentiated; those of the north are not, and refer back
to the “bighorn.” Southern signs for “snow” are descriptive and
cumbrous, while those of the northern tribes are simple and perfect.


A comparison of the Deaf and Indian Codes seems to emphasize the
superiority of the Indian. The Deaf was intended to convey, word by
word, a vocal language; it assumes that you know the other man’s speech,
and can spell. Whereas, the Indian was invented to over-ride linguistic
barriers and, knowing nothing of spelling, deals only with ideas.

The next great advantage of Indian style is its picturesqueness. The two
systems can be illustrated and fairly compared by the signs for the

First the Deaf:

January—Sign for _Month_, then _J_, _N_, and _R_, that is 4 signs.

June—Sign for _Month_, then _J_ and _N_, that is 3 signs.

July—Sign for _Month_, then _J_ and _L_, again 3 signs.

Whereas the Indian calls January the _Snow Moon_, thus _moon_ or “Horns
in the sky” and _snow_, that is two signs. June is _Rose Moon_ i.e.,
_horns_ or _Crescent in the sky_ and _rose_ (the right hand plucking an
imaginary petal from each finger tip of the left). July is the _Thunder
Moon_, i.e., _horns in the sky_, then the right index darted downward in
a quick zigzag to imitate _lightning_. All need but two signs each.

The first involving a certain amount of spelling is limited to those who
can read, and who use that word. The second, touching nothing but the
idea, is widely acceptable, much shorter, and visible much farther off.
It was apparently developed for the safe distance beyond arrow range.

Again the Indian method is strong in its dignity. The deaf often spoil
their sign-talk by grimacing, the Indian never does so. One may
occasionally help the idea by facial expression, but it should be used
with great reserve, as there is nothing more unlovely or likely to harm
the study of the Sign Language than the excessive grimacing that one
sometimes sees in an uneducated deaf-mute. The Indian sign-talker’s face
is calm and little changed, his head is moved in graceful sweeps, and
never jerked unless to express some jerky action. His communication is
indeed a study in beautiful, dignified gesture. There is not an Indian
sign in this book that depends on facial expression for its usefulness,
and there are but few that involve the face in any way.

Last year (1910) my friend Hamlin Garland met a party of moving picture
men returning from a business tour among the Indians. He asked, “Did you
get two old chiefs talking together in the Sign Language?” They said
“No, hadn’t heard of it.”

“Then,” he replied, “you have missed one of the most graceful and
rewarding chances for your special art that the western country

They were so much impressed with his description that they went back.
Having brought together two chiefs of diverse speech they got results on
their films which amply justified their time and trouble.

Finally a large number of the signs used by the deaf are conventional
and arbitrarily fixed, dating back about 100 years, whereas each Indian
sign is the slow evolutionary product of ages, with its roots deep in
human nature. It is never arbitrary, but so logical and so reasonable
that it is easily and quickly learned.

Every interested person, therefore, must regret profoundly that the
teachers of the deaf should have gone out of their way to fabricate an
unnatural, localized code, when there was awaiting them ready-made, and
already established, a system founded on universal human nature, old as
the hills, full of the charms of grace and poetry, and so logical that
any one of any race can learn it in a tithe of the time required for the
acquisition of the merest smattering of a spoken language, and the
adoption of which would at once have greatly lessened the handicap of
the deaf. One can only suppose that the founders of the code were
unaware of the other’s existence.

Undoubtedly actual service has done much to reform and redeem the Deaf
Code and make it more nearly a true Sign Language, but one cannot help
wishing that their teachers would take the inevitable step at once and
adopt the natural system.

Thus we have logic with us as well as the opinion of ethnologic students
in giving preference to the Indian System. While in the extent of usage
honors are about even, I am credibly assured that about 100,000 people
are daily using the Deaf Code and an equal number using the Indian.

It is my belief that an available popular Manual will soon establish the
latter as the universal code and result in its further and full


There are two distinct attitudes toward Indian Sign Language:

_First_, that of the student who sees in it a beautiful product of
evolution, a perfect demonstration of the subtle laws of speech growth,
the outcome of human mind yearning for converse with human mind,
rebellious at its shut-in loneliness, battering with its hands the
prison walls, till it could reach out and signal to the next locked-in,
before it had yet found the way of modulated sounds. This, then, was the
means which responded to the demand for communion and mental fellowship
before there was a spoken speech. It began, as all codes must, with the
broadest, simplest root ideas, and expressed their inter-relationships
at most by context, sequence, proximity, or emphasis, but not by

Every student of the Sign Language is impressed by this thought and very
naturally considers every true sign of the old Sign Language a thing
sacred, precious as a pre-Homeric manuscript. He believes that to modify
it or tamper with it would be to rob it of all value as a living
expression of growth, and much like trying to readjust the crystalline
forms on a frost-covered pane by shaping them with a hot iron. The
student recognizes it as his first and highest duty to make faithful,
unadulterated, untooled records of the oldest types of signs. This is
the academic attitude. I am fully in sympathy with it.

_Second_, the practical attitude which realizes that Sign Language,
never dead, is coming to its renaissance and can serve many useful ends
among us here to-day. But to complete its possibilities it must be
brought up to date by the addition of elements that stand for the latest
modern ideas; and therefore does not hesitate to seize on and adopt
these elements wherever they may be found. Thus, it may be held, is a
contamination of the thought by interminglement of spurious recent
creations. But it is merely submitting the code to the ordinary rules of
all language. We should remember, further, that the ancient signs, as
well as the modern, were _invented by men who had need of them_. The
only difference is that the one was invented recently, the other maybe
thousands of years ago; and that without such changes the Sign Language
could not serve its beneficent purpose to-day among the deaf, the
distant, the roar-environed, the moving picture folk, and those of
unknown speech about us. Hand-talk fully developed will find much good
work to do; and it matters little where the elements of the code were
gathered so long as they meet with general acceptation; which implies
that they be _needed_, _serviceable_, and of _sound construction_. The
forty odd Deaf Signs included here have been admitted on this basis.


There is at least one place where all pure Sign Language must fail; that
is in dealing with proper names, especially new proper names. If I wish
to signal “New York State” to an expert sign-talker, I can use the
nickname “Empire State” and signal “_Country great crowned_”; or, for
“Kentucky” I can signal “_Country blue grass_”; or Boston, “_The Hub
City_”; or Chicago “_Windy City_”; but when I come to South America or
Oberammergau or Poughkeepsie, I am obliged to fall back on the white
man’s method and spell the name. For this reason then we begin our
sign-talk by teaching the one-handed sign alphabet of the deaf. The
two-handed will answer, but obviously a one-handed sign is better than a
two-handed, other things equal. We aim at simplicity; and there are many
occasions when one has but one hand free.


My own interest in the study had been growing for thirty years, and to
satisfy myself that it was not a mere fad of slight and passing import,
I set down carefully the reasons for studying and using the Sign
Language, not forgetting its limitations. I set these also in hostile
array and will give them first:

It is useless in the dark.

It cannot serve over the telephone.

It can scarcely be written, except by cumbrous pictographs.

It cannot give new proper names; they must be spelled.

But the reasons for the study were more numerous and stronger.

1st. _It develops observation and accurate thinking._ All races that
excel in sign-talking are noted for their keenness of observation. Which
is cause and which effect one cannot certainly determine, but it is sure
that this method of communication is excellent practice to develop
observation, and it makes for a wonderfully graphic descriptive power.

Herein, perhaps, is its most enduring, the least obvious, claim to a
high place. There is a sweet reasonableness, a mathematical accuracy, in
the fabric of the Sign Language that has an insistent and reactionary
effect on the mental processes and pictures of those who use it.
Therefore, it is valuable for the kind of mind it makes.

2d. _It is easily learned._ Unlike most languages, it is very easily
acquired, for most of the signs are natural in concept, and so logical
that they explain themselves where their history is known. Six hundred
signs (that is ideas) make a fairly good sign-talker.

3d. _It is Indian talk._ By means of this you can talk to any Plains
Indian no matter what his speech; and there are many tribes each with
its own tongue or dialect. In some measure it is understood and used by
savages and keen observers all over the globe.

4th. _A cognate code is the talk of the deaf_; and is used the world
round by them in preference to the manual alphabet when possible; so
that a wide use of the much better Indian Sign Language will certainly
result in their accepting it and thus tend to lessen the barrier between
the deaf and their more fortunate brethren.

5th. _It is silent talk._ It can be used on occasions when it is
necessary to give information, but improper or impossible to speak
aloud. Thus, lecturers use it in directing their lanternist; friends use
it for necessary information during musical performances; it is used at
the bedside of the sick, the actors in a moving picture can utilize it,
and so be comprehended the world round; the pantomime stage, forbidden
to use speech, can easily make clear the plot by sign-talk.

In a recent letter, Prof. J. S. Long has furnished me with a touching
instance (one that has since recurred) that indicates another and final
service that the silent method can render: An eminent divine was on his
deathbed. His life had been devoted to ministering to the deaf, he knew
the Sign Language perfectly; for several hours before the end his power
of ordinary speech had deserted him, but his mind was clear, and to the
last he conversed freely with those about him, in this, the universal
talk, the one which for its exercise depended on muscular powers that in
his case were the last of all to fail.

6th. _It allows talk in an uproar._ It can be used when great noise
makes it impossible to use the voice; therefore it can be of daily
service in modern life, city or country, and each year it discovers new
uses. Friends talk across a rackety thoroughfare or from a moving train;
firemen and policemen, or sailors in a storm find it of growing service.
The baseball umpire uses it when the roar of the multitude makes him
voiceless; the catcher talks to the pitcher; the aeroplanist talks to
his friends on earth; the stockholder on the curb buys and sells in it;
the football captain or the army officer issues clear sign orders when
the uproar of fight would drown even the trumpet call. The politician
facing a shrieking mob may find it useful for conveying a few crude
truths to his crude, unruly audience, thus opening the way for a more
usual form of harangue, or failing in the attempt, he can at least
inform his friends of his next move and his audience what he thinks of
them. In St. Paul’s epoch-making address on the stairs of Jerusalem we
have a good illustration of the first part of this.

7th. _It is practical far-talk._ It is a valuable method of talking at a
distance, far beyond earshot. Compared with the other modes of
far-signalling it has the great advantages of speed, for it gives a
sentence while semaphore, Morse, or Myer code give a letter, and of
inconspicuousness at short range, or in a crowd; also it is independent
of apparatus.

8th. _It is a true universal language._ It is already established.
Instinctively the whole world has adopted it in a measure; and daily
proofs of this are seen. Rasmussen among the Eskimo would have been
helpless, he tells us, for he knew not their tongue, and they not a word
of his, but they were expert sign-talkers and the lingual barrier was
swept away. So also Henry among the Mandans, and Butler among the
Basutos, while a thousand other cases could be aligned.

It is so complete that Dr. W. C. Roe and many others regularly _preach_
and _lecture_ in the language of Signs, to congregations in which
several spoken tongues are used and would be necessary to the preacher
were he limited to sounds.

It is so fundamental indeed that it is the easiest means of
communicating with animals; the best trainers of dogs and horses use
Sign Language as the principal medium of command.

But, for lack of standards and codification, its use is much smaller
than it might be; and yet larger than commonly supposed. At least 100 of
the 725 signs herein given are in daily employ among hearing white folk
in America. After a little extension of the study, as is inevitable with
a standard code, one will be able to travel all over Europe, the world
indeed, on Sign Language alone. No matter what the other man’s language
may be, French, German, Russian, Greek, all are the same in the Sign
Language because it expresses _ideas, not words_. This, then, is its
chief obvious strength—_It is a universal language._

It was with this in view that the French and German equivalents were
added after each sign; and since it is impossible to render in one word
a sign that stands for a broad idea and is capable of conveying many
meanings, according to the context and sense, the foreign equivalents
are understood to deal only with the simplest root idea, that which
usually is expressed by the first of the English words given.

It is my earnest hope that we may have an International Society of the
Sign Language whose functions would be to keep it pure, to add new signs
as they are needed, and to aim at its complete development.

Also, that in furtherance of this a thorough, full, and careful record
of the old Indian Sign Language will be made before it is too late; that
is, before all the old-time Indians of the Plains are dead.

My own effort is meant not as a record of the past, but a starting point
for the future.


The Sign Language is a system of root _ideas_ expressed by _gestures_,
preferably made only by the hands, without sounds or reference to
letters, or words, spoken or written, and not delimited by anything
corresponding to words. There can be but little doubt that Sign Language
preceded all audible speech.

Being fundamentally a true spontaneous language, wholly removed from any
spoken language, it must necessarily have its own syntax and idiom.

Its syntax is simple and primitive, much like that of spoken language in
its earliest or monosyllabic stage, as defined by Hovelacque. Yet
clearly many signs are amplified by an associated but subsidiary root,
so that we may consider it entering the second or agglutinative stage.
Thus _deer_, signed by holding up the hands to indicate _branching
horns_, is a simple or isolated root; but _white-tailed deer_ which
gives first _deer_, then adds the qualifying sign _banner tail_ by
waving the right index up high, is in close correspondence with
agglutinative language. Still more so are the signs _finished_ or _done_
added to a verb to show the past tense, or the different twists to the
sign _give_ that turns it respectively into _give me_ or _give you_, or
the variations of _talk_ which make it mean _I talk to you_, _you talk
to me_, or _they talk to each other_.

The sentence construction is elemental. Dependent sentences are not used
nor are negative or involved questions.

The relation of one idea to another is indicated chiefly by proximity
and sequence, rarely by connectives and (with a few exceptions) never by
inflection. So that the same sign may be the equivalent of a noun, a
verb, or a phrase, etc., according as it is used.


The =Nominative= and =Objective cases= are not distinguished except by
context and sequence, that is, the Nominative precedes, the Objective
usually follows, the verb.

A partial exception is the first personal pronoun—the starting point of
most inflection—for _I_, _mine_, and _me_ are sometimes given as cognate
but distinctive signs.

The =Possessive case= is usually shown by the addition of the possessive
sign, equivalent to “his,” “hers,” “its,” etc. “That man’s” horse would
be signed: _Man_, _that_, _his horse_, or _Man_, _that there_,
_possession_, _horse_.

The =Gender= of nouns is indicated when necessary by adding the signs
_male_ or _man_ and _female_ or _woman_. Thus “A She bear” would be
rendered _Bear Woman_.

The =Number= of nouns is indicated by the signs 1, 2, 3, 4, etc., _many_
or _few_.

In the Personal Pronouns the plural is made by adding _all_ to the
singular. Thus _Me all_ is the equivalent of “We,” _You all_ of “Ye.”
_He all_ is the equivalent of “they.”

The =Person= by pointing to _myself_, to _you_, or to the _third
person_. The first person is understood unless otherwise indicated.


The =Verb= is usually placed between the subject and the object, but
need of emphasis may change this so the verb comes last.

The =Tense= of verbs is marked by the auxiliary prefixes _now_, _future_
and _past_, _finished_ or _done_. Thus “I have eaten” would be _I done
eat_, “I shall eat” will be _I time ahead, eat_.

The present is understood, unless otherwise stated; but the sign is
plastic and may be any part of the verb, according to context. Thus
_Arrange_, _Arranged_, or _Arranging_ are the same.

The =Number= of the verb is shown by the context.

The =Voice= is assumed to be active, indeed the passive is not used.

The =Imperative= is shown by following the verb with the sign _must_,
that is, strike down with right fist, giving the significance of
command, or else by emphasis.

The =Subjunctive= is shown by the signs _if_, _so that_, _perhaps_.


The =Adjective= usually follows the substantive. Thus “A bad man” would
be rendered _Man bad_. But numerals are exceptions to this rule.

The =Adverb= of time precedes the verb.

Qualities are compared by the use of the signs _little_, _more_, _much_,
_most_, _ahead_, and _behind_. They are further modified by adding such
signs as _strong_, _brave_, _very much_, or _very strong_.

The =Numeral sign= is often prefaced to small numbers to prevent
confusion. Thus when prefaced by the numeral sign the sign _Wolf_ may
become _two_ and _Man_ become _one_.

Mere particles and expletives, as “a” “the,” etc., have no equivalent


Prepositions were little used by the Indian sign-talkers, though they
did have _above_, _about_, _across_, _around_, _at_, _below_, _beside_,
_beyond_, _by_, _for_, _from_, _in_, _near_, _on_, _out_, _to_, _under_,
_upon_, _with_, etc. _Of_ or _pertaining to_ has been added by the deaf.


_And_ or _also_ (add on) _but_ or _if_ (_pick out_ or _cut off_), _so
that_, _with_ are the equivalents of conjunctions. Sometimes the close
continuity of two signs serves the purpose of “and,” conversely a pause
may indicate a full stop.


The sign of interrogation always precedes the question, but is sometimes
added after it as well, for emphasis or certainty.


For period, the sign _finished_ is generally used. The Blackfeet make
the sign _broken off_ and often clap the flat right down on the flat
left, palm to palm, for both beginning and end of a sentence.


Abstract ideas are not copiously rendered in signs. But it often happens
that a gesture with the index alone is specific, while the same gesture
with the flat hand becomes abstract. For example, compare _yonder_ and
_far_, _up_ and _up there_.


The principle of opposition as pointed out by Mallery plays an important
part in the pairing of signs. Thus _above_ being fixed, _below_ is the
reverse; the sign _come_ is reversed in _go_, and _out_ reversed in
_in_, etc.


Emphasis is sometimes given by using both hands for a sign that can be
made by one, sometimes by repeating the sign, sometimes by energetic
rendering, and sometimes by adding the sign _very much_ or _heap_.


Many signs are made by parallel action of both hands. Most of these are
permissibly rendered by using only one hand as, _woman_, _abandon_,
_gratitude_, etc.


In actual and expert practice most signs are abbreviated. But the
beginner, as in all new arts, should go slowly and be careful to make
each sign clear-cut and complete in itself.

The hands are always held or moved so as to illustrate, as far as
possible, the action in mind or its manner, or its direction, or the
point where it takes place, or the shape of an object, or their relative
positions if two objects are being considered.


Grace and dignity are of large importance in all good sign-talk. Ugly or
vulgar gestures should be abandoned. Even angular gestures should be
avoided, except to express some angular idea.

Many times my Indian teachers have said to me as I imitated their signs,
“Yes, that is correct enough in a way, but it is awkward”; or “it is not
graceful. We do it this way.” Then they sketched the same structure, but
in sweeping lines. In this work many movements are indicated in straight
lines, for the sake of simplicity. As a matter of fact, I never saw a
Cheyenne make a straight-line movement, all had a graceful curve.

Many signs are followed by a changeable _liaison_; that is, by an
introduced sweep to join it on to the sign that follows and avoid a jerk
or unpleasant movement. This elegant manner is what I call an Indian
accent, few whites achieve it.

In a dignified way, the expression of face and the pose were used in
elucidation of the gesture, but very sparingly.


The student of vocal language finds vital help in remembering the
derivation of words; so also the sign-talker.

Most signs were pantomimic originally, but through much use have become
shortened, till now they are conventional. Yet it is well worth while in
each case to note the original concept as fully as possible; first as a
great help to the memory, and second as a guard against slovenly gesture
and a guarantee of point, power, and structural accuracy. Some of the
concepts given are evidently right, but some are mere guesses, probably
wrong in many cases. It is quite permissible in any one to challenge any
of them.

Nevertheless, the fact that most signs are capable of logical
explanation does not mean that they are self-explanatory. Indeed nearly
all have become conventional, and each must be learned separately before
it can be rightly used.

Signs which make the heart the seat of the mind are, I think, older than
those which give the place of honor to the brain.


Although not at all Indian, it is exceedingly helpful to know the
single-hand alphabet as given in the cut on page li; partly because it
must sometimes be used for _giving proper names_ and also because it
saves time in describing _hand positions_. For example, we say “position
A or B” instead of describing each hand all over again for each new


_Fingers_ and _numbers_ are nearly synonymous the world round when
making signs, manual or written, hence the universality of the decimal
system. The Indian Code, the Popular Code, and the Deaf Code are nearly
alike in this, but in most points of difference the Indian is best.

To prevent mistakes in certain cases preface the number with the sign of
_numbers_ or _arithmetic_.


For Ordinals, make the figure sign, 1, 2, or whatever it is, then
without changing the position of hand or arm, give the hand a twisting
from the wrist, to add point or emphasis, meaning “number-so-and-so.”
This is not Indian but adopted from the Deaf, nevertheless quite


Clark gives the following (pp. 17–18) as a good illustration of the
syntax of the Sign Language:

_In English._ “I arrived here to-day to make a treaty—my one hundred
lodges are camped beyond the Black Hills, near the Yellowstone River.
You are a great chief—pity me, I am poor, my five children are sick and
have nothing to eat. The snow is deep and the weather intensely cold.
Perhaps God sees me. I am going. In one month I shall reach my camp.”

_In Signs_, this literally translated would read, I—arrive here—to-day
—to make—treaty. My—hundred—lodge—camp—beyond—Hills—Black—near—river
—called—Elk—you—chief—great—pity me—I—poor—My—five—child—sick—food
—all gone (or wiped out)—Snow—deep—cold—brave (or strong). Perhaps—Chief
Great (or Great Mystery)—above—see—me—I—go. Moon—die—I—arrive there—my

“An Indian in closing or terminating a talk or speech wishing to say, ‘I
have finished my speech or conversation,’ or, ‘I have nothing more to
say,’ simply makes the sign for ‘_Done_’ or ‘_Finished_.’”



  Our Father up high, medicine thy name. Thy sit-aboard down here on
  earth as up high. Give us all bread. Forgive our bad as we forgive
  bad. Lead us bad not. Ended.

Professor Elmer D. Read has supplied me with the foregoing two examples
done into the Sign Language of the deaf, as below:

  I—came—here—to-day—make—agreement (think parallel)—name (written).
  My—1 C (100) tents—beyond—B-l-a-c-k H-i-l-l-s, near
  Y-e-l-l-o-w-s-t-o-n-e water flow. You—most—chief, feel—tender—me.
  I—ragged sleeve (poor). My—five—children (sign size)—sick—nothing—eat.
  Snow—deep. Weather (air, wind)—very cold. Perhaps—God—look down on
  (see) me. I—go. In—one—month—I—shall—arrive—tents—home (eat, sleep).

The Lord’s Prayer in Deaf Signs:

  But—save (break our tied hands)—us—from—lawbreaking.
  Because—thine—kingdom, power, and—glory—forever.


As already noted, a weakness of Sign Language is the difficulty of
writing it without translating it into words, and thereby changing its
nature and its world-wide application. Yet it can be written; and some
mention of its recorded form may fitly round out this introduction.

The characters used, because they represent ideas, not words or letters,
are called ideographs or picture-writing. It is widely believed that
Sign Language is the oldest of all languages, that indeed it existed
among animals before man appeared on earth. It is universally accepted
that the ideograph is the oldest of all writing. The Chinese writing,
for instance, is merely picture-writing done with as few lines as

Thus, it is said that their curious character for _Hearing_ was once a
complete picture of a person listening behind a screen, but in time it
was reduced by hasty hands to a few scratches; and _War_, now a few
spider marks, was originally a sketch of _Two women in one house_.

We may also record our Sign Language in picture-writing, as was the
custom of many Indian tribes; and we shall find it worth while for
several reasons: it is picturesque and useful for decoration; and it is
likely that a pictographic inscription dug up 10,000 years from now
would be read, whether our language was understood or not.[3]

When the French Government set up the Obelisk of Luxor, in Paris, and
wished to inscribe it for all time, they made record, not in French or
Latin, but in pictographs.

It is, moreover, a good thing to take the young through the stages of
race development; just as the young bird must run for a send-off, before
it flies, so pictography, being its earliest form, is the natural first
step to writing.

In this dictionary I give the written form after many of the signs that
have an established pictograph. These are chiefly from Mallery, 10th
Annual Report Bureau of American Ethnology. A few are popularly accepted
among ourselves.


The letters, initials, etc., after the paragraphs indicate the chief
authority for the sign.

Where no authority is given, it means that the sign was observed by
myself among the Cheyenne Indians. Those ascribed to other Indians also
were observed by myself. Besides these the following are cited:

_C._ Standing for Captain William Philo Clark, U. S. A.

_Scott_, for General Hugh L. Scott, U. S. A.

_Seger_, for John M. Seger, of Colony, Oklahoma.

_R. B._, for Robert Burns, the Cheyenne interpreter at Concho, Oklahoma.

_Long_, for Major Stephen H. Long, U. S. A.

_Pop._ for Popular; that is, established among ourselves.

_D._ for Deaf Sign, as given in J. Schuyler Long’s Dictionary.


The drawing shows the hands as seen by the second person.

The digits are named: thumb, first or index finger, second or middle
finger, third or ring-finger, and fourth or little finger.

The following marks, etc., are used in the illustrations:

Unless otherwise stated the _solid outline_ indicates the position of
the hands at the beginning of a sign, the _dotted outlines_ indicate the
position of the hands at the finish.

................ Dotted lines indicate the course of hand employed in
the sign.

> Indicates the commencement point of the movement.

→ Indicates the direction of movement.

X Indicates the point in the gesture line at which the hand position is
(x) changed.

⊙ Or full stop represents the termination of the movement.

“A hand” means like A, and “B hand” means like B, etc., in the
one-handed Deaf Alphabet (Cut 1) on next page. The positions meant by “4
hand,” “5 hand,” “flat hand,” “flat fist,” or “compressed hand,” are
figured on the same page.

Begin by learning the Single-hand Manual alphabet as noted above.

Next learn the _Numbers_ and the signs for _Question_ and its
combinations; also _Yes_ and _No_, _Good_ and _Bad_, _Come_ and _Go_,
_Big_ and _Small_, _Truth_ and _Lie_, _Strong_ and _Weak_, _Understand_,
_Perhaps_, _Talk_ and _Sign-talk_, after this refer to the Dictionary
for the signs that serve your purpose and use them according to the
rules of syntax as herein set forth.

Never lose a chance of talking the Sign Language with an old Plains
Indian, preferably of the Cheyenne or Arapahoe tribes. Their wonderful
facility and grace are as hard to convey on paper as the pronunciation
of French, and are as essential for the best style in Sign Talk. One
may, indeed, know every sign in this book and not be a good sign-talker,
so fundamental is this correct accent, or manner.



[1] Professor Elmer D. Read writes me that all of these are in use among
the deaf also, except the signs for “shame” and “church”; for these they
make the Indian signs “_red_” and “_house prayer_,” respectively.

[2] “After going carefully over your syntax I approve it in the main but
I think it quite likely that many of the rules are not so inflexible as
this makes them seem; besides which, there must be always a certain
amount of modification by transliteration from the spoken language of
those using the signs. This would manifest itself in a growing
conformity of the Sign Language syntax to that of the more dominant
spoken language.”—_F. W. Hodge (Ethnologist, Smithsonian Institution)._

[3] Since the above was written, I have come across L. F. Hadley’s
pictographic writing of the Sign Language, fully set forth in the
bibliographical matter. E. T. S.


_A Universal Signal Code, Without Apparatus, for Use in the Army, the
Navy, Camping, Hunting, Daily Life and Among the Plains Indians_



_“A hand,” “G hand,” “flat hand” etc., mean like “A,” “G,” “flat,” etc.,
on page li._



=Abandon=, =Give It up= (Thrown away, chucked). Hold both S hands, backs
up, near left breast, briskly swing both down to left side, opening them
with a snap and giving a slight rebound to the hands after the movement,
as though emphatically throwing away something. Sometimes only one hand
is used. Compare _Bad_, _Hate_, and _Charge_. See _Divorce_.

  Fr. _abandonner_; Ger. _aufgeben_.

=Able.= See _Can_.


=Aboard= (Sitting down on). Left hand out flat, palm up, right S hand on
it, thumb up. Compare _Sit down_.

  Fr. _à bord_; Ger. _an Bord_.


=About= or =Around=. Hold the flat left hand pointing forward, up and to
the right, encircle it several times with the right G finger. If
possible, make it concrete by indicating the very thing that was

  Fr. _autour_; Ger. _um_ ... _herum_.

=About=, in the sense of _Near by_ or _Almost_. See _Close_.


=Above= or =Over= (One thing above another). Bring the flat left hand,
back up, in front of and a little to the left of body; left forearm
horizontal, fingers pointing to right and front; bring the flat right
hand, back up over the left in a semi-circle upward large or small, as
best suggests the actual distance. Has been used for _More than_.
Compare _Beyond_.

  Fr. _au-dessus_; Ger. _über_.

(=Below= is the reverse of this.)

=Absent.= See _Empty_.


=Abuse= to =Scold= or =Defame= (Throwing lies against one). Hold the
right V hand near the mouth, pointing to left. Jerk it forward toward
person once or twice. For =Abusing me= make the sign lower opposite the
left breast and inward toward one’s self.

  Fr. _calomnier_, _injurier_; Ger. _schmähen_, _beschimpfen_.

=Accident.= See _Free_, also _Luck_.


=Ache= or =Pain=. Thrust G finger many times in different directions
over and parallel to the part. Compare _Wound_ and _Sick_.

  Fr. _la douleur_; Ger. _der Schmerz_.


=Across=, =Cross=, or =Over= (Crossing a ridge). Hold the flat left hand
out, palm down, and pointing forward and toward the right, pass the flat
right hand edgewise across the back of the left. If but one person is
meant, the right G is sometimes used. This sign as illustrated is often
used for _Council_. See _Council_ and _Laws_.

  Fr. _d’un côté à l’autre_, _traverser_; Ger. _hinüber_.


=Act=, as in a theatre play. Hold A hands in front perpendicularly, move
up and down alternately as though the thumbs were two puppets. (Deaf
sign, not used or understood by Indians.) Compare _Play_ and _Follow_.

=Act=, as in a play. Sign _Face_, _Two_, _Dance_ (that is dancing with a
mask) (not established).

  Fr. _jouer_; Ger. _spielen_.

=Act= or =Deed=. See _Work_.


=Add to= (Piling up). Flat left hand pointing to the right and front,
palm up, forearm horizontal; the palm of flat right hand is placed on
top of left hand a number of times, the left hand being raised a couple
of inches each time, to meet it; the movement ends with left hand as
high as top of the head. Often it is done as in the illustration but
with palm of left down.

=Adjectives=, see _Comparative_.

=Adulation.= Kissing the back of the hand. (Pop.) Not Indian, but they
understand it now. (R. B.)

  Fr. _la flatterie_; Ger. _die Schmeichelei_.


=Advance.= Both flat hands back up, pointing forward, tandem, right in
advance, six inches ahead (the fingers extended) moved forward together
in gentle jerks. Compare _Move camp_.

  Fr. _avancer_; Ger. _vorschreiten_.


=Advance Guard= (The one ahead, looking). Flat left hand back up,
pointing forward, breast high; place G right just before it, then turn
right G into V to mean _Looking_. Also used for _Scout_. Compare

  Fr. _l’avant-garde_; Ger. _die Vorhut_.

=Advise= or =Advice=. Sign _Talk_, _Make_, _Way_. (C) Sign _Help_ and
_Talk_ would be near it.

  Fr. _conseiller_; Ger. _raten_.


=Afraid= (Shaking heart). Sign _Heart_ then shake it up and down two or
three times, to indicate the throbbing action of the heart under
influence of fear. Or more strongly, sign _Heart_ and then finish by
raising the hand until its back strikes the chin, to mean the heart
rises in the throat.

  Fr. _effrayé_; Ger. _ängstlich_.


=Afraid= or =Cowardly= (Seger says this means Buffalo backing out of
fight; that is, “drawing in his horns.”) Hold out both G hands level,
backs out, G fingers hooked like horns, draw them straight back together
for six inches. Mostly but one hand is used. Compare _Bring_.

  Fr. _lâche_, _poltron_; Ger. _feige_.

=Afraid of no one.= Point right G in several directions, then add
_Afraid_, _Not_.

  Fr. _peur de personne_; Ger. _vor niemand Angst haben_.


=After=, =Behind=, or =Late= (Time or space). G fingers pointing forward
at an angle in front of body; left in advance. Draw the right over and
behind the left. Draw it back a little way for a _little bit after_; but
far back and low down for _a long way behind_. Some finish by clenching
the right hand.

If it meant that _one_ is behind _the rest_, use the flat left hand,
palm down, in advance, with right G behind.

  Fr. _après_; Ger. _hinter_, _nach_.


=Afternoon.= Make a circle of right thumb and index and sweep it over
the afternoon half of the sky from the zenith down. Compare _Sunset_.

  Fr. _l’après-midi_; Ger. _der Nachmittag_.

=Again.= See _Repeat_ or _More_.

=Against=, i.e., =Go Against=. Thrust the tips of the flat right, back
out, square against the palm of the flat left held pointing level
forward, back to left. See also _Oppose_. Compare _Quandary_.

  Fr. _contre_; Ger. _wider_.

=Agent, Indian.= Sign _Whiteman_ and _Chief, Give all_. The Southern
Cheyennes sign _Chief_ and _pull teeth_, because their first agent had
false upper teeth.

=Agitate.= See _Excite_.

=Agree.= Sign _You_, _I_, _think_, _same_. Sometimes use _Equal_. See
also _Treaty_.

  Fr. _s’accorder_; Ger. _übereinstimmen_.

=Agreement.= See _Treaty_.


=Ago=, =Time back=, =Past=, or =Back=. Sign _Time_ and point back over
the right shoulder with right finger G. Sometimes the thumb or the whole
hand is used instead of the index. See _Back_.

  Fr. _passé_, _il y a quelque temps_; Ger. _vorher_, _früher_.


=Ahead= or =Before= (In time). Hold out the left G pointing forward and
up; swing the right G over the left to a place in front of it, both
pointing the same way. Some finish by closing and lowering the right
fist. Compare _After_.

  Fr. _avant_; Ger. _vor_.


=Ahead= or =Before others= (In space or rank). Hold out flat left, back
up, near breast, pointing forward and slightly upward; then hold right G
just before it. Compare _Advance Guard_, which it exactly resembles,
except that this omits _Looking_.

  Fr. _en avant_; Ger. _vor_.

=Air.= See _Wind_.


=Alight= or =Descend=. Indicate from what, then drop right V fingers
downward onto flat left palm. See _Dismount_.

  Fr. _descendre_; Ger. _absteigen_, _hinuntersteigen_.

=Alike=, to =Look like= or =Resemble= (Of persons). Make the signs
_Face_ and _Equal_.

  Fr. _semblable_; Ger. _ähnlich sein_.


=Alive=, =Live=, =Life=, or =All right= (Walking about, upright). Hold
index of right hand upright, move it about shoulder high, forward in
long slow zigzags sidewise, always turning it so as to move palm
forward. Also used for _Be_ or _Exist_. See _Life_, _Deer_, and
_Nothing_. The Blackfeet use the sign _Grow_ for this idea. See

  Fr. _vivant_; Ger. _lebendig_.


=All.= With right hand flat and back up, describe a large horizontal
circle, shoulder high.

  Fr. _tout_; Ger. _alles_.


=All gone= or =Empty= (Hands swept clean). Both 5 hands in front of
body, backs out, right nearer; loosely brush fingers of right on left
palm, moving right outward, then reverse and repeat. Sometimes begin
with sign _All_. See _Wipe out_.

  Fr. _vide_; Ger. _leer_.


=Alliance= or =Friendship= (Linked together). Form two circles with
thumbs and index fingers, and link them together, other fingers closed.
Some use only index fingers hooked together.

  Fr. _l’alliance_; Ger. _das Bündnis_.

=All right.= See _Good_ or sometimes _Alive_.


=All the time.= Hold up the left G, pointing upward, forward, and to the
right; strike on it with right G near the tip, then every inch or so up
to the arm. See _Many times_, _Cheyenne_ and _Buy_.

  Fr. _toujours_; Ger. _immerzu_.


=Alone= or =Only= (Living and moving singly). Move the right G hand,
pointed upward, slowly forward and to left in a line slightly waving to
right and left. Compare _Alive_, _Life_, _Man_, _One_ and _Up there_.

  Fr. _seul_; Ger. _allein_.

=Already.= See _Now_.


=Always=, =Ever=, or =Forever= (Going on in cycles). With elbow at side,
hold the right G hand pointing forward; move hand forward, describing
circles with the index, the result a spiral, ending with the index
raised. (Frosted, borrowed from the Deaf Code.)

=Always.= Sign _Long time_, _Wiped out_, and _Not_. Sometimes sign
_Stop, Not_. (Blackfoot signs.) See _All the time_.

  Fr. _toujours_; Ger. _immer_.

=Ambitious= (Pushing to rise). Indicate a person, then sign _Push_ and
_Rising man_, or omit last.

  Fr. _ambitieux_; Ger. _ehrgeizig_.

=American.= See _Nationalities_.


=Ammunition= (Cartridges in belt). Lay the flat hands, palm in, on belt,
then add _Shoot_ by shooting the right G forward. (Not Cheyenne, but

  Fr. _les munitions_; Ger. _die Munition_.


=Among.= Hold the left 5 hand in front of neck, pointing upward, move
right G index (pointing down) in and through. Sometimes use _With_.

  Fr. _parmi_; Ger. _unter_.


=Ancestor.= Repeat the sign for _Father_ several times, with the flat
left hand held back out on the breast, and each time pushed farther
away, the _Father_ sign made beyond it. (Crow sign.) The Cheyennes sign
_Father_ and _Old_.

  Fr. _l’ancêtre_; Ger. _der Vorvater_.


=And= or =Also= (Meet and go together). The spread flat right hand,
breast high, back forward, drawn six inches to the right and closed to
flat hand. (Deaf sign.) Compare _Horse_. The Cheyennes use _Equal_ or
_Increase_, according to the sense; or sometimes _With_ or _Add_.

  Fr. _et_, _aussi_; Ger. _und_, _auch_.


=Angry= (Mind twisted). Twist the A hand against or near the forehead.

Seger maintains that this means a “mad buffalo breaking off his own
horns.” Possibly he is right; for the older signs make the heart, not
the head, the place of the mind, and this must be a very old sign. Some
of the Blackfeet make this sign over the heart. Some grind on the heart
with the flat right fist, palm in, after pointing to the person;
meaning, “he grinds my heart.” See _Sorrow_.

  Fr. _en colère_; Ger. _böse_, _zornig_.


=Animal= or =Quadruped= (Jumper). The compressed right hand, back up,
advanced in short jumps, as in _Frog_ and _Weasel_. Sometimes the sign
_Ground_ is made, first by sweeping the flat right across, palm up.
“Leaping” is generic for the quadruped as “Flying” is generic for
_Bird_. Compare _Jump_. Used by Blackfeet. The Cheyennes considered it

  Fr. _l’animal_; Ger. _das Tier_.

=Annihilate.= See _Exterminate_ or _Wipe out_.

=Annoyance.= See _Trouble_.

=Annul.= See _Rub it out_.


=Another= or =Other= (one other). Hold out flat right, back up, swing it
slowly up, out, _far to right_ and down low, turning it palm up. Compare
_Fall_ and _Lie down_.

  Fr. _un autre_; Ger. _ein anderer_.

=Another person.= As above, but use right G. (Blackfoot.) In this, as
usual, the index up alone means _Man_. This gesture is so natural that
many whites use it; as, for example, in saying impatiently: “That was
another man altogether.”


=Answer= (Talk come back). Push right G from the mouth in the sign
_Talk_, then draw back reversed; that is, pointing to one’s own face or
ear. (Blackfoot.) The Cheyennes use _Talk_, _Arrived here_.


=Answer=, =Reply=, =Respond= (The word that follows the other). Right G
index upright on lips, left six inches ahead and parallel; move them
together toward the person. (Frosted, borrowed from the Deaf Code.)

  Fr. _la réponse_; Ger. _die Antwort_.


=Antelope= (Pronged horns of the animal). Bring the L hands palm toward
and alongside of the head, near the base of the ears.

  Fr. _l’antelope_; Ger. _die Antilope_.

=Anxious.= See _Want_.


=Any= (Scattering). Place the right A hand near left side, elbow high;
draw it down and out to right side in a shaky curve. (Deaf sign.) Use
_Here_ and _There_. (Cheyennes.)

  Fr. _quelconque_, _quelque_; Ger. _irgend ein_.

=Apache.= See _Indian_.

=Appear=, =To come into view=. See _Come into view_.


=Appears=, =Seems=, or =Looks like= (See and Same). Hold up flat right
hand, thumb toward self, shoulder high; throw it forward and turn palm
toward self, fixing the eyes on it and sign _Same_. Sometimes use the
sign for _Look_ before _Same_. (Frosted; probably adopted from Deaf

  Fr. _paraître_; Ger. _aussehen_, _erscheinen_.

=Applause.= See _Approval_.


=Approach= or =Moving toward=. Hold partly bent left hand well in front,
breast high, to left side, palm to you and right similarly to right, but
quite near to you; move the latter _slowly_ forward toward former, but
not to touch it by several inches. Some use right G. See _Arrive there_
and _Quandary_.

  Fr. _approcher_; Ger. _näher kommen_.

=Approval=, =Applause=, or =Praise=. Make the motion of clapping the
hands, but without noise. A white man’s sign, but now generally

  Fr. _l’approbation_; Ger. _der Beifall_.


=Arise= or =Get up=. Hold out right G, back down; raise the arm with a
swing and snap and bend the wrist till the finger points straight up.
For a large number, use both 5 hands.

  Fr. _se lever_; Ger. _aufstehen_.

=Arithmetic.= See _Numeral_.

=Around.= See _About_.


=Arrange= (Parfleches placed in teepee). With flat right, slightly
curved, back out, strike half a dozen times in a circle, turning to
watch the hand; then add _Good_. Sometimes omit _Good_. Or, sign _Work_
and _Fix_. See _Ready_.

  Fr. _arranger_; Ger. _ordnen_, _einrichten_.


=Arrest= or =Imprison= (To seize hold of and tie at wrists). Sign
_Seize_ and then add _Prisoner_; that is, cross the wrists, hands
closed. Sometimes the upright left forearm with S hand, back to left, is
held near the left shoulder, grasp left wrist with right hand and pull
it a little distance to right.

  Fr. _arrêter_; Ger. _verhaften_.


=Arrive here= or =Get here=. Hold the flat left hand, back out, near the
breast, fingers pointing to right; carry right G, back to front, well
out in front of body; bring the right hand briskly against back of left.
Often the flat right is used instead of right G.

  Fr. _arriver ici_; Ger. _hier ankommen_.


=Arrive there= or =Reach=. Hold the flat left hand, back to front, well
out in front of body, about height of neck, pointing to right; bring
right G hand, palm outward, in front of and close to neck, carry the
right hand out sharply to strike the palm of the left.

  Fr. _y arriver_; Ger. _hinkommen_.


=Arrogance.= A haughty lifting of the eyebrows and sidelong, disdainful
look down as upon an inferior. (Scott.) Sign _Head, Big_. In the popular
code, indicate big chest. See _Conceit_ and _Pride_.

  Fr. _l’arrogance_; Ger. _die Anmaszung_.


=Arrow.= Make, with a long swing, the motion of drawing an arrow from
the left hand.

  Fr. _la flèche_; Ger. _der Pfeil_.


=As= or =Than=. Both hands, G fingers parallel, level, forward near
right side; carry them over to left in similar position. (A sign
borrowed from the Deaf, Frosted.) This is the same as _Who_; only the
context can show which is meant. Sign _Same_ or _Beside_.

  Fr. _comme_, _que_; Ger. _wie_, _als_.


=Ascend.= Indicate the object (hill, tree, etc.), then press right G
against it, raising the same in jerks. Compare _Famous_.

  Fr. _monter_; Ger. _hinaufsteigen_.


=Ashamed= or =Bashful= (Drawing blanket over face). Flat hands pointing
up, palms in, close to face and moved in till the _wrists crossed_,
right nearest the face; bow the head a little. Compare _Blind_ and
_Dark_. The bowing of the head was not generally done, yet is the only
feature to distinguish it from _Dark_.

  Fr. _honteux_; Ger. _verschämt_, _verlegen_.


=Ashamed= (I am ashamed). Cover the face and eyes with both hands.

  Fr. _avoir honte_; Ger. _sich schämen_.


=Ashamed= (You should be). See _Shame_.

=Ashes.= Sign _Fire_ and _Powder_.

  Fr. _la cendre_; Ger. _die Asche_.

=Ask.= See _Beg_.

=Assiniboine.= See _Indian_.


=Astonishment= or =Wonder=. Lay the flat palm of left hand over the open
mouth and draw the body backward. Sometimes, also, raise right hand
flat, palm forward.

  Fr. _l’étonnement_; Ger. _die Verwunderung_.

=Astray.= See _Lost_.

=Astride.= See _Horseman_.


=At.= Hold left flat hand, back up, pointing partly up; strike the back
with right flat hand.

  Fr. _à_; Ger. _an_, _auf_.

=Attempt.= See _Try_.

=Attention= (A command). See _Call_.

=Aunt.= Sign _Father_ (or _Mother_) and _Sister_. Or, sign _Woman_ with
right, then tuck compressed right, point down, under left arm pit. (R.

  Fr. _la tante_; Ger. _die Tante_.


=Aurora= or =Northern Lights=. Both hands, backs down, half closed,
thumb and finger tips together, raised very high and spread with a sweep
to indicate flashes. It should be done facing north. It is helped if the
hands when at the highest are swung apart in an arch.

  Fr. _l’aurore boréale_; Ger. _das Nordlicht_.

=Automobile.= See _Motor car_.


=Autumn= (Leaf-falling time). Make the sign for _Tree_ with both hands,
then for _Leaf_ with the right near the left finger tips, then drop the
leaf with tremulous, wavy motion down and to right.

  Fr. _l’automne_; Ger. _der Herbst_.


=Avoid= or =Miss=. Hold up G hands, move them toward each other as in
_Meet_, but carry left well outside, past and beyond without meeting.
Compare _Meet_, _Trade_, and _Mistake_.

  Fr. _éviter_; Ger. _vermeiden_.


=Awl.= Bore right G finger into left palm. Or, over the left G as in

  Fr. _l’alêne_; Ger. _die Ahle_.


=Axe= or =Hatchet=. Hold out the flat right hand, back to right, wrist
bent downward. Make as though chopping with it; that is, strike down
once or twice. Some also grasp it near the elbow with left index and
thumb, but the Cheyennes omit this. For _Hatchet_, indicate _Size_. See

  Fr. _la hache_; Ger. _das Beil_.



=Baby.= Swing the flat right hand (sometimes S hand) in the hollow of
the left arm as though it were a baby. Add signs for sex and size when
needed. Compare _Tomahawk_.

  Fr. _le bébé_; Ger. _das Kindchen_, _der Säugling_.

=Bachelor.= Sign _Man_, _Marriage_, _No_. (C)

  Fr. _le célibataire_; Ger. _der Junggeselle_.

=Back= or =Again=. See _Repeat_.


=Back=, =Backward=, =Ago=, or =Past= (In time or space). Throw right 5
hand thumb first back over right shoulder once or twice. See _Ago_.

  Fr. _en arrière_; Ger. _hinten_, _zurück_.


=Backbite.= Lay the right V hand on the mouth, as in _Lie_, then lay it
on the back of the right shoulder. (Blackfoot.)

=Backbite.= Sign _Scold_, _Talk_, and _Hide_.

  Fr. _médire de_; Ger. _verleumden_.



=Bacon= (Meat and thin). Hold out the flat left hand, thumb edge up;
with thumb and finger tips of right back down, rub little finger of
left. Hadley gives this with the right hand over. It makes a better
sign, but I never saw it used that way. Compare _Meat_ and _Thin_ and

  Fr. _le lard_; Ger. _der Speck_.


=Bad= or =Evil= (Suddenly thrown away). Hold clenched fist, back up,
near breast; throw it forward, down, and aside, opening the hand.
Sometimes for emphasis both hands are used. Compare _Abandon_, _Charge_,
and _Hate_.

  Fr. _mauvais_; Ger. _schlecht_.


=Badger= (Walks under ground). Sign _Hole_, _Enter_, and _Walk_. The
Blackfeet sign is _Striped-face_ with size and pawing indicated.

  Fr. _le blaireau_; Ger. _der Dachs_.

=Bad Taste.= See _Taste Bad_.


=Bag.= Left C hand, back out; drop compressed right into this; then
sometimes indicate thickness with flat hands pointing straight up.

  Fr. _le sac_; Ger. _der Sack_.

=Bald.= Lay the flat right hand on the forehead, draw it up and back to
the top of the head. Touch the hair and sign _Wiped-out_. (Blackfoot.)

  Fr. _chauve_; Ger. _kahlköpfig_.


=Band= or =Patrol= (Banded together). Hold the compressed left hand
pointing up; encircle it with the right forefinger and thumb. (Chasing
Bear.) Not a true Indian sign and not used, but would understand it.
(Seger.) Sometimes use _Bunch_ or _Few_. See _Tribe_ or _Troop_.

  Fr. _la bande_, _la patrouille_; Ger. _die Schar_, _die Truppe_.

=Bankrupt.= See _Done_.

=Bar= or =Saloon= (House of drink). Sign _Crazy_, _Drink_, _House_.

  Fr. _le cabaret_, _la buvette_; Ger. _die Bierstube_, _die Kneipe_.

=Bark= (Like a dog). Sign _Talk_, but use index and middle finger
against thumb.

  Fr. _aboyer_; Ger. _bellen_.

=Barracks.= Sign _White_, _Soldier_, _House_.

  Fr. _la caserne_; Ger. _die Kaserne_.

=Barren.= Sign _Born_ and _All gone_.

  Fr. _stérile_; Ger. _unfruchtbar_.

=Bar up.= See _Fins_.

=Baseball signs.= These, of course, are not Indian; they differ locally,
but the three following are used by most umpires:

  _A strike._ The sign “Yes.”

  _Out._ The Same as the “No” sign (as tho striking something to one
  side with the back of hand).

  _Safe._ Hand raised as in “Easy.”

=Bashful.= See _Ashamed_.


=Basin= or =Hollow= (A spread out circle). Hold the L hands low in
front, backs up, forming an incomplete horizontal circle, not touching,
the index fingers nearer each other than thumbs; swing the hands apart
by wrist action so the index fingers point nearly forward.

  Fr. _le bassin_; Ger. _die Vertiefung_, _die Grube_.


=Basket.= Sign _Kettle_, then interlock fingers as in _House of logs_,
to show structure. The Cheyennes understand this, though usually they
sign _Kettle_ and _Sew_.


=Basket.= Lock the fingers of the hollowed hands, backs down, join the
thumbs as for a handle, then with the right hand grasp left thumb and
raise the hand a few inches. (Sioux.) Compare _Corral_.

  Fr. _le panier_; Ger. _der Korb_.


=Bat.= Sign _Night_ and zigzag flight; i.e., flat hands side by side,
breast high, flapped first to right side next to left. (C)

  Fr. _la chauve-souris_; Ger. _die Fledermaus_.

=Battle, Combat.= Sign _Fight_, after which make _Shoot_ with each hand
toward the other. (C) Compare _Fight_ and _Kill_.

  Fr. _la bataille_, _le combat_; Ger. _die Schlacht_.

=Battle-cry= or =War-cry.= Open the mouth as in saying “O” and pat it
with flattened fingers of right hand. (C) The Cheyennes use _Yell_.

  Fr. _le cri de bataille_; Ger. _der Schlachtruf_.


=Bay.= Sign _Water_, then bring right L hand well out in front of body,
forming a horizontal half-circle. (C)

  Fr. _la baie_; Ger. _die Bucht_.


=Bayonet.= Sign _Gun_, then lay left G index alongside right G, the
latter one-third ahead. If there is doubt, indicate drawing it on the
barrel tip.

  Fr. _la baïonnette_; Ger. _das Bajonett_.


=Be, to be or exist= (Living). Sign _Alive_ and then finish with _Now_
or _Past_ to indicate tense, and _Many_ to indicate plural. Sometimes
use _Dwell_ or _Recover_ for this idea. Compare _Alone_.

  Fr. _étre_; Ger. _existieren_, _sein_.


=Beads.= Hold out the flat right, slightly hollow; drop it a little with
a sidewise quivering to suggest the shimmering of a handful of beads.

=Beads.= Simulate holding beads between the left index and thumb, while
threading them with a needle in the right. For _Beadwork_ add a design
or sign for _Work_.

  Fr. _les perles_; Ger. _die Perlen_.


=Beans= (One picked out of a handful). Right hand flat, palm up, index
and thumb joined with the tip of index projecting. (Chasing Bear.
Understood by Cheyennes.)

  Fr. _les haricots_; Ger. _die Bohnen_.


=Bear.= Hold out the Y hands, backs up, and strike both down; push both
forward in a series of jerks, or swing down, forward and up.


=Bear.= Hold up flat fists near ears, palms forward, to indicate round
ears. (Blackfoot.) Some indicate the paws by holding up both curved 5

  Fr. _l’ours_; Ger. _der Bär_.

=Bear, Grizzly.= As above, but indicate the gray color.

  Fr. _l’ours gris_; Ger. _der graue Bär_.


=Beard.= Hang the compressed right hand, point down, under chin. The
hand or hands are differently placed for different cuts of whiskers.

  Fr. _la barbe_; Ger. _der Bart_.

=Beat=, or =Overcome=. Use _Kill_.

=Beautiful=, =Handsome=, or =Pretty=. Hold up flat right hand, and look
on the palm as in a mirror, then make the sign _Good_.


=Beautiful.= Draw the flat hand down near the face, back forward, and
sign _Good_.

  Fr. _beau_; Ger. _schön_.


=Beaver= (Tail of beaver striking mud or water). Hold left flat hand in
front of body, left arm horizontal; strike up against the left palm once
or twice with back of right flat hand.

  Fr. _le castor_; Ger. _der Biber_.


=Because.= Sign _Consider_, then _Behold_. Understood by Cheyennes and
Blackfeet, though not well established.

  Fr. _parce que_; Ger. _weil_.

=Become= or =Turn into=. Sign _Grow_ and _Same_ or _Arrive there_.

  Fr. _devenir_; Ger. _werden_.

=Bed= (Spreading blanket for sleep). Hold flat hands palms up, points
forward, one behind the other, left ahead, push it forward, at same time
draw back right, then add _Sleep_.

  Fr. _le lit_; Ger. _das Bett_.

=Bee.= Sign _Fly_, _Arrow_, and _One_. (C) In Cheyenne, sign _Small_,
_Bird_, _Make_, _Taste_.

  Fr. _l’abeille_; Ger. _die Biene_.

=Before.= See _Ahead_.

=Before=, that is, =Future=. Sign for _Time_, but hold left hand near
breast and swing right forward, up and over. Or sign _After_, _Many

  Fr. _avant_; Ger. _ehe_.

=Beg= (To ask alms). Hold out the flat right hand, palm up, as a beggar
does. Swing it forward and upward, then draw it toward self, slightly
curving the fingers.

  Fr. _mendier_; Ger. _betteln_.

=Beg=, =I beg of you=, =Ask=, =I pray you=. Lay the flat hands together,
palms touching, fingers pointing up (or clasp them) and hold them toward
the person. A white sign now understood by the Indians. Compare _Pray_.

  Fr. _supplier_; Ger. _bitten_.


=Begin=, =Commence=, =Must=, =Push=, =Try=, =Go ahead= (Start in a
race). With elbow at sides and arms level, push fists forward two or
three inches, right a little behind. Or use _Go_. See _Strong_.

  Fr. _commencer_; Ger. _anfangen_, _beginnen_.

=Behavior.= See _Way_.

=Behind.= See _After_.


=Behold.= Hold out flat right, palm up, pointing forward and moved
slowly down to below level. Sometimes use both hands. Compare _Show_.

  Fr. _regardez!_; Ger. _siehe da!_

=Believe.= Sign _Think_, _Straight_.

  Fr. _croire_; Ger. _glauben_.

=Belonging to.= See _Possession_.

=Below=, =Beneath=, or =Under=. Is the reverse of _Above_; which see.

  Fr. _dessous_, _sous_; Ger. _unter_.

=Belt.= With both hands, make as though putting on a belt.

  Fr. _la ceinture_; Ger. _der Gürtel_.

=Beneath.= See _Below_.


=Bend= or =Bent=. Take left index in right finger and thumb and bend the
middle joint of it at right angles. Or sign _Break_ very slowly.

  Fr. _plier_; Ger. _biegen_.


=Berry.= With right middle finger and thumb hold tip of right index,
letting it project a little; add _Bushes_. Or, sign _Tree_, _Pick_, and
_Eat_. This is a descriptive phrase rather than an established sign, but
it is a good illustration of impromptu constructions which are
continually made and are at once understood because in harmony with the
main principles of Sign Talk. Compare _Fruit_, _Cherry_, and _Bullet_.

  Fr. _la baie_; Ger. _die Beere_.


=Beside= or =By= (By the side of). Like _With_, but right G about three
inches off left palm. Sometimes use _Close_.

  Fr. _à côté de_, _près de_; Ger. _neben_.


=Bet= or =Wager= (Placing on each of two piles). Indicate the event, as
_Race_, then sign _Place_; that is, hold out partly compressed hands
backs up; swing both forward up and down nearly _together_ at finish.

  Fr. _le pari_; Ger. _die Wette_.


=Between.= Hold up the flat hands, palm to palm, six inches apart; then
thrust the right G on line close past left palm.


=Between.= Hold left V hand, fingers level, pointing to right (or
straight up) and drop right G down between.

  Fr. _entre_; Ger. _zwischen_.

=Beware=, =Caution=, or =Look out=. See _Warning_.


=Beyond= or =Other side=. Hold the flat left hand, back up, in front of
body about ten inches, fingers pointing to right; bring flat right hand,
back up, between left and body at same height, fingers pointing to left;
swing the right hand upward, outward, and then downward on curve, beyond
left hand, turning right hand back down in movement. Compare _Fall_ and

  Fr. _au-delà de_; Ger. _jenseits_.

=Bible.= Sign _Book_ and _Medicine_.

  Fr. _la Bible_; Ger. _die Bibel_.


=Big.= Hold the curved 5 hands with palms toward each other, well out in
front of the body, hands a little lower than shoulders and a few inches
apart, pointing forward; separate hands, carrying right to right, left
to left, keeping them opposite each other. Also used for _Long_. Compare
_Great_ and _Long_.

  Fr. _grand_, _gros_; Ger. _grosz_.

=Bighorn.= See _Sheep_.


=Bird.= With flat hands at the shoulders, palms down, imitate the motion
of wings. Using different speeds for different birds. Compare _Fly_,
which progresses.

  Fr. _l’oiseau_; Ger. _der Vogel_.

=Birth.= See _Born_.

=Bison.= See _Buffalo_.


=Bit= (Of a bridle). Place the L hand palm down on the mouth.

  Fr. _le frein_; Ger. _das Gebisz_.


=Bite.= Bring the right C hand, back outward and upward, a little in
front of the body; snap sharply together the tips of the first and
second fingers and the tip of thumb against the back of the left flat
hand, repeating the motion. Some omit left hand. The Blackfeet make this
from the mouth.

  Fr. _mordre_; Ger. _beiszen_.


=Bitter= or =Sour=. Touch tongue with tip of right G and add _Bad_.
Compare _Salt_, _Sugar_, _Taste_, _Taste bad_.

  Fr. _amer_; Ger. _bitter_.

=Black.= See _Color_.

=Blackfoot.= See _Indian_.


=Blackguarding= or =Reviling= (Lies from both). Hold up right V,
pointing nearly level forward, opposite right shoulder; left ditto at
left shoulder; swing them alternately at each other.

  Fr. _outrager_, _insulter_; Ger. _jemanden beschimpfen_.


=Blanket= or =Robe= (Wrapping about shoulder). Bring the A hands palms
toward each other, opposite and above each shoulder _near the neck_;
move the right hand to left and left to right till the wrists are
crossed, right hand nearest body. Compare _Fond_.

  Fr. _la couverture_; Ger. _die Decke_.


=Bless you= (Drawing from above and spreading out). Hold the flat hands
high up in front, palms forward, apart, at arm’s length. Lower them a
little and slightly push toward the person meant. (C)

  Fr. _que Dieu vous bénisse_; Ger. _Gott segne dich!_

=Blessing the food.= Hold both 5 hands over the food, then add _Talk_


=Blind.= Bring both flat hands, backs outward, in front of and close to
eyes, right hand nearest and both hands parallel to face; move right
hand slightly to left, left to right; then place the tips of the fingers
against closed eyes. (C)

  Fr. _aveugle_; Ger. _blind_.


=Blood= (A wounded buffalo bleeds at the nostrils). Raise the right V
hand so the tips of the fingers are pressed one against each nostril;
move the hand to the right and downward, giving it a tremulous motion.
Add _Red_. Some omit _Red_.

  Fr. _le sang_; Ger. _das Blut_.

=Bloom= or =Blossom=. See _Flower_.

=Bluff.= See _Hill_.


=Boat.= Bring the hands together hollowed, fingers straight, little
fingers joining, the thumbs somewhat apart, to represent the body of a
boat, held before the breast. Push it forward to indicate movement. Add
the motion of paddling for _Canoe_, or _Rowing_ for bigger boat. Usually
the _Boat_ sign is omitted; _Paddling_ or _Rowing_ being enough by
itself. Compare _Bowl_.

  Fr. _le bateau_; Ger. _der Kahn_.

=Boil.= See _Cook_.

  Fr. _bouillir_; Ger. _kochen_.


=Bone.= Hold up the left hand, palm down, wrist a little bent; with
right G tap the wrist bone on outer side of left; then add _Hard_.

  Fr. _l’os_; Ger. _der Knochen_.


=Bonnet=, that is, _Warbonnet_. Sweep 5 hands along near each side of
head from front to back. Sometimes also sweep right 5 hand down behind
for the _Tail_.

  Fr. _le bonnet de guerre_; Ger. _die Federkappe_.


=Book.= Open and close the flat hands like cover of a book, then
indicate the lines of writing. Sometimes show the thickness to
distinguish it from _Letter_. Compare _Open_ and _Shut_.

  Fr. _le livre_; Ger. _das Buch_.


=Born=, =Birth=, or =Parturition= (Issuing from loins). Flat right in
front of and near the body, pointing downward and to front, moved
downward and outward on a curve. Compare _Dive_.

  Fr. _né_; Ger. _geboren_.

=Borrow.= See _Lend_.

=Boss.= Use _Chief_.

=Both.= Sign _Or_, that is, hold up the left V, pointing forward, and
tap each tip of V, and in turn, with right G; then over left V add _All_
with right. Sometimes point to each and add _Two_. Sometimes use _All_.
Blackfeet use _Two_ and _Same_.

  Fr. _tous les deux_; Ger. _beide_.


=Bow= (Weapon). The left A hand held still, a little advanced, the right
A hand touches it and makes the motion of drawing the cord of the bow.

  Fr. _l’arc_; Ger. _der Schiessbogen_.


=Bowl= (A vessel). With curved hands side by side, fingers bent, palms
up, indicate shape. (C) Compare _Boat_. For a larger vessel, use

  Fr. _le bol_; Ger. _die Schale_, _die Schüssel_.


=Box.= Hold out both flat hands side by side, backs up; then swing apart
and down at right angles, turning the hands at the angle so the backs
are out.

  Fr. _la boîte_; Ger. _der Kasten_.

=Boy.= Sign _Man_, _Young_.

  Fr. _le garçon_; Ger. _der Knabe_.

=Brag.= See _Bravado_.


=Brain.= Touch forehead with N hand.

  Fr. _le cerveau_; Ger. _das Gehirn_.


=Brand= or =Name=. All fingers of right closed but thumb and index,
these form a “C,” which lay on the palm of flat left, pointing forward,
thumb up. Sometimes lay it on left shoulder outside. Compare _Name_.

  Fr. _la marque_, _marquer avec un fer rouge_; Ger. _das Zeichen_, _das
  Brandmal_, _einbrennen_.

=Bravado= or =Brag=. Sign _Fire_, _Talk_, _True_, and _No_. (C)

  Fr. _la bravade_; Ger. _die Prahlerei_.

=Brave= (Strong heart). Sign _Heart_ and _Strong_.

  Fr. _brave_; Ger. _mutig_, _tapfer_.

=Brave=, as an intensive. See _Very much_.

=Bread= (Making a cake). Gently clap the slightly hollow right hand over
slightly hollow left hand, then reverse so left is on right and clap
them together again; repeat.

  Fr. _le pain_; Ger. _das Brot_.


=Break.= Make the motion of seizing a stick, hold it horizontally with
both hands and breaking it in the middle. The thumbs finish wide apart.

  Fr. _casser_, _briser_; Ger. _zerbrechen_.

=Breakfast=. Sign _Sunrise_ and _Eat_.

  Fr. _le déjeuner_; Ger. _das Frühstück_.

=Breeze=. See _Wind_.

=Bribe.= Hold the hand behind the back, hollowed, open and palm up.

  Fr. _corrompre_; Ger. _bestechen_.


=Bridge= (Lifting over water). Sign _Water_; hold out the flat hands
horizontally in front of body, pointing forward, palms up; and _Across_.

  Fr. _le pont_; Ger. _die Brücke_.

=Bridle.= Like _Bit_; but raise the hand till near the eyes.

  Fr. _la bride_; Ger. _der Zaum_.


=Bring=, =Take=, or =Fetch=. Move the right G hand briskly well in front
or to right or left of body; draw the hand with a sweep in toward the
body, at the same time curving index finger. Compare _Come_ in which the
index is held vertically, and _Steal_.

  Fr. _apporter_, _prendre_; Ger. _bringen_, _nehmen_, _holen_.


=Broad= or =Wide=. Same as _Big_, but keep the hands flat and palms up.


=Broad and Spreading= is the same as above but with palms down. Compare

  Fr. _large_; Ger. _breit_.

=Broke= or =Dead broke=. See _Done_ (No. 2.)

=Broken down.= See _Decrepit_.

=Brook.= See _Creek_.


=Brother= (Suck together). Lay nearly horizontal N of right hand on
lips; draw it away and down, then add _Male_.

  Fr. _le frère_; Ger. _der Bruder_.


=Brother-in-Law.= Left forearm across breast; with lower edge of flat
right, strike down past left elbow. Probably means relative on the side.
(R. B.)

  Fr. _le beau-frère_; Ger. _der Schwager_.

=Bucket.= Sign _Bowl_, then indicate the handle.

  Fr. _le seau_; Ger. _der Eimer_.


=Buffalo= (Curved horns). Hold the curved G fingers palms toward and
close to sides of head; raise the hands slightly and carry them a little
to the front. To distinguish domestic cattle, add _Spotted_. The Navahos
reverse this; that is, with them the curved horns as above means
_Cattle_, to which they add _Beard_, to mean _Buffalo_.

  Fr. _le bison_; Ger. _der Büffel_.


=Bullet.= Sign _Fire off_; then grasp the forefinger of the hand with
the second finger and thumb, so that the tip of it will so extend beyond
them and represent the ball.

  Fr. _la balle_; Ger. _die Kugel_.


=Bunch= (Of fruit). Hold out the compressed right hand opposite throat,
fingers pointing down. Compare _Beard_.


=Bunch= (A small herd grazing). Hold out curved right 5 hand, back up
and forward. See _Herd_. Sometimes use _Enclosure_.

  Fr. _le troupeau_; Ger. _die Anzahl_, _die kleine Herde_.

=Burn.= Sign _Fire_ and _Wipe out_.

  Fr. _brûler_; Ger. _brennen_.

=Bushes= or =Brush=. Like _Grass_, but breast high; and draw right hand
to you and left far ahead.

  Fr. _la broussaille_; Ger. _das Gebüsch_.

=Busy.= Sign _Push_ and _Work_.

  Fr. _occupé_; Ger. _beschäftigt_.

=But=, =Except=, =Save=, or =Unless= (Of all one pulled back). Sign
_All_, with right swung to left; then sign _One_, with left at left
side, and pull it to right side between forefinger and thumb of right.

=But.= Sign _All Go_, _One_, _Sits_.


=But= (One drawn back). Point right G down, forward and to right; hold
it a second, then jerk it back four or five inches. (Hadley.)

  Fr. _mais_; Ger. _aber_.

=Butte.= See _Hill_.

=Buy.= Sign _Money_ and _Trade_, making it clear who gives the money.


=Buy= or =Sell= i.e., =Market=. Tap three times on side of left G index
with side of right G index. Compare, _All the time_, _Peas_, and
_While_. See _Sell_.

  Fr. _acheter_; Ger. _kaufen_.

=By.= See _Beside_.


=By and By= (After a little time). Hold the pinched index and thumb of
each hand as in _Time_, but half an inch apart. Or sign _Time
afterward_. Compare _Sometime_.

  Fr. _plus tard_; (C) Ger. _später_.


=Cache.= See _Hide_.


=Call=, =Attention!= =Say!= Strike the palm of the open left hand with
the tips of right fingers, then swing right G a little toward the

  Fr. _dites donc_; Ger. _hören Sie!_


=Called= or =Named=. Lay the back of the crooked right G _on lips_,
pointing to front and left, its tip pressed against the thumb, which is
nearly straight; then move the hand upward and forward in a curve,
straightening out the index finally with a snap, pointing toward the
person or thing. Compare _Talk_ in which the action is repeated. See
also _Name_.

  Fr. _appelé_; Ger. _genannt_.

=Camera.= Sign _Picture_ and _See_. Compare _Photograph_.


=Camp= (Set up the lodge). Sign _Teepee_, holding the hands face high;
drop the hands together for a foot with energy.

  Fr. _le camp_; Ger. _das Lager_.


=Camp-fire.= Hold left hand flat, palm down, fingers a little spread;
then lay right hand fingers similarly held across at right angles, to
indicate the wood laid ready, and add the sign for _Fire_. (Sheeaka.)
Not a true Indian sign, but sufficiently descriptive for the Cheyennes
to understand it.

  Fr. _le feu de camp_; Ger. _das Lagerfeuer_.

=Camp-fire Girls.= Sign _Camp-fire_, then raise the right index in a
spiral for _Smoke_.

=Camp-fire man are you?= Give the signs _Question_, _you_, _camp-fire_,
and _man_ or briefly make the _Camp-fire_ sign and look inquiringly.

  Fr. _Êtes vous membre du Camp-fire Club_; Ger. _Sind Sie ein
  Mitglied des Lagerfeuer Klubs?_


=Can=, =Able=, or =Power=. Hold both S hands in front, elbows at sides,
thumbs up; drop the hands for six inches with a jerk. (Sheeaka and the
Blackfeet.) Sometimes use only one hand. The Cheyennes sign _Own_,
_Strong_, _Medicine_.

  Fr. _pouvoir_; Ger. _können_.

=Candid= (True, clear as day and good). Sign _True_, _Day_, and _Good_.

  Fr. _sincère_; Ger. _aufrichtig_.


=Candle.= Hold up left G finger and with right hand sign _Fire_ on its
tip, then indicate length on left arm.

  Fr. _la bougie_; Ger. _die Kerze_.


=Candy-stick.= Sign _Sugar_; then on left G index held upright, show
stripes. (C)

  Fr. _le bonbon_; Ger. _das Zuckerwerk_.

=Cannon.= Sign _Gun_ and _Big_.

  Fr. _le canon_; Ger. _die Kanone_.


=Cannot=, or =Unable=, =Fail=, =Failure= (The arrow that failed to
stick). Hold the flat left hand out in front, thumb edge up; strike the
palm of it with the forefinger of the right G hand, which then at once
rebounds and is thrown forward and down to rest on its back.

  Fr. _ne pas pouvoir_, _incapable_; Ger. _nicht können_, _unfähig_.

=Canoe.= Sign _Boat_ and _Paddle_.


=Canoe of birch bark.= Push forward compressed right, back down, to
represent the curved prow, then add _Paddle_.

  Fr. _la pirogue_, _le canot_; Ger. _das Kanu_, der _Rindenkahn_.


=Canyon= (Between hills). Hold up the fists, palms toward each other,
about six inches apart, face high; then indicate _Go between_; that is,
hold the left unchanged but thrust forward the flat right hand, palm to
left. (Blackfoot.) Compare _Between_.

  Fr. _le canyon_, _le grand ravin_; Ger. _die Schluckt_.

=Cards.= Hold imaginary cards in left and deal with right hand.

  Fr. _les cartes_; Ger. _die Karten_.


=Caribou.= Sign _Deer_, _High_, and lay the flat right hand on forehead
so the fingers slightly spread point forward, showing the _brow shovel_.
(Blackfoot.) Sometimes omit _High_.

  Fr. _le renne_, _le caribou_; Ger. _das Karibu_.


=Carriage=, or =Covered Wagon=. Sign _Wagon_, then raise the hands,
palms down, flat, but bent at an angle, up above the head, and move
forward about two feet to represent the carriage top.

=Carriage= or =Buggy=. Sign _Wagon_, _Small_, and sometimes add _Black_.

  Fr. _la voiture_; Ger. _der Wagen_.


=Carry= or =Pack=. Both closed hands held opposite the temple as if
holding the tump line, the shoulders slightly forward as though bearing
a pack.

  Fr. _porter_; Ger. _tragen_.

=Carry in the hand.= With one hand make as though carrying a basket by
the handle.

=Cars.= See _Railroad train_.


=Cartridge.= Hold right G hand, back up, in front of body, index
horizontal and pointing to front, thumb pressed against side of index,
with the thumb tip just back of second joint; add _Shoot_. See

  Fr. _la cartouche_; Ger. _die Patrone_, (_artill_) _die Kartusche_.


=Cat= (Flattened or turned-up nose). Lay A hand on nose, rotating a
little out and up. (C) Sign _Nose_, _Short_, _Dog_.

  Fr. _le chat_; Ger. _die Katze_.

=Catch.= Same as _Get_ but action quicker. See _Get_.

  Fr. _attraper_; Ger. _fangen_.


=Catholic.= Indicate gown by sweeping the 5 hands down over the sides
and outward; then add _Black_. Sometimes make the sign of the Cross.

  Fr. _catholique_; Ger. _katholisch_.

=Cattle.= Sign _Buffalo_ and _Spotted_. (Blackfoot.) Compare _Buffalo_.
Or, sign _Buffalo_ and _Whiteman_.

  Fr. _les bestiaux_; Ger. _das Vieh_.

=Caution.= See _Warning_.

=Cavalry.= _Soldier_ and _Ride_.

  Fr. _la cavalerie_; Ger. _die Kavallerie_.


=Centre.= With thumbs and index fingers of L hands make a horizontal
circle; then, keeping the left unchanged, indicate centre with right G
finger. Sometimes draw a horizontal circle with right G, then drop same
down into its centre.

  Fr. _le centre_; Ger. _die Mitte_.

=Certain.= Sign _I_, _Know_, _Good_. Or use _True_.

  Fr. _certain_; Ger. _sicher_.


=Challenge=, =Defy=, or =Dare=. Spring the middle finger with a vigorous
snap toward the person, the other fingers closed; hand held face high,
back up. A European sign given by Butler. Compare _There_ and

  Fr. _défier_; Ger. _herausfordern_.

=Chance.= See _Luck_.


=Character= (Shape of heart). Lay right C hand on heart, draw it out,
that is, forward, a little and with both A hands outline a human figure.
(D) Sign _Heart_, _Good_, _Bad_. (Blackfoot.)

  Fr. _le caractère_; Ger. _der Charakter_.


=Charge= (Military, against others). Swing both fists from right
shoulder forward and a little down in an up curve, away, rising a
little, at the same time springing them open.

  Fr. _la charge_ (_contre les autres_); Ger. _die Attacke_, _der
  Angriff_ (_gegen andere_).


=Charge= (Military, against us). Similar but reversed, springing the
hands open toward one’s face.

  Fr. _la charge_ (_contre nous_); Ger. _die Attacke_ (_gegen uns_).

=Chase.= See _Follow_.

=Cherries= (Choke). Sign, _Tree_, _Pick_, and _Pound_. (Blackfoot.) See

  Fr. _les cerises_; Ger. _die Kirschen_.

=Cheyenne.= See _Indian_.


=Chicken.= Sign _Bird_, then _Red_ and with 5 hand on crown show _Comb_.
(C) Or sign _Bird_ and _Whiteman_.

  Fr. _le poulet_; Ger. _das Huhn_.


=Chief= (People with one man rising above them). Hold up left 5 hand,
palm to right, pass index of right G hand at several inches above left.
(Scott.) The Cheyennes omit left hand; they shoot the right G up over
and much down in a long sweep, finishing lower than it began.

  Fr. _le commandant_; Ger. _der Häuptling_.

=Child= or =Offspring=. Compressed right hand, points up, swung well out
in front and dropped a foot to the height of the child. Compare _Young_.

  Fr. _l’enfant_; Ger. _das Kind_.


=Children= (Springing up). Hold out both hands, palms up, very low,
fingers pointing up and scarcely spread; alternately swing them up and
down for six inches. Compare _Grass_, in which they are held low and are
spread widely; also _Bushes_.

  Fr. _les enfants_; Ger. _die Kinder_.


=Choose=, =Make choice=, or =Select=. Hold right G shoulder high, back
up, a foot in front of the breast, swing it in a circle with a
succession of little bounds or up curves, as though pointing at many
different objects in succession, the head turned to follow always; then
finish by throwing the G finger forward in a curve; or, in some cases,
finish by picking up the imaginary object selected, using index and
thumb for this. Compare _Find_, _Hunting_, and _Look_.

  Fr. _choisir_; Ger. _wählen_.


=Chop.= Use the flat right hand, little finger down, as an axe, chopping
first from right, then from left, once on each side. Sometimes do this
on back of left hand, which stands for the log. Compare _Free_, which is
two or three cuts on right side only.

  Fr. _couper_, _trancher_; Ger. _hauen_, _hacken_.

=Christmas= (The day of the shining tree). Sign _Tree_, then hold hand
with fingers spread and crooked, palm down, level of face. Lower it six
inches in short, quick zigzags to suggest glittering or shimmering. (W.
C. Roe.) In _Snow_ the hand is lowered in long zigzags for about two
feet. See _Shimmer_. Or sign _Middle_, _Winter_, _Tree_, and _Hanging_;
for the last, hold the curved 5 hands, backs up, at level of the eyes;
jerk them a little apart. (R. B.)

  Fr. _le Noël_; Ger. _Weihnachten_.


=Church= (Steeple house). Cross clasp the fingers so the tips are
within, then raise both index fingers to form the steeple. (Pop.)

=Church.= Sign _Medicine_, _Talk_, _House_.

  Fr. _l’église_; Ger. _die Kirche_.


=Cigarette.= Sign _Tobacco_; then lay G fingers side by side pointing
opposite ways; roll one about the other. Sometimes omit _Tobacco_;
sometimes give _Cigar_ (2nd sign) and _Little_.

  Fr. _la cigarette_; Ger. _die Zigarette_.

=Cigar= (=2=). Sign _Cigarette_, _Black_, and _Smoking_. Sometimes hold
right G at corner of mouth, pointing forward. _Cigar_ and _Cigarette_
are recent signs and changing rapidly.

  Fr. _le cigare_; Ger. _die Zigarre_.

=City= (Big town). Make sign for _Town_, then add sign for _Big_. Or
omit _Big_ but swing the hands far apart.

  Fr. _la ville_; Ger. _die Stadt_.

=Cities.= Many are indicated by their initial letter enhanced with
twisting motion. (D) For some we may use their nickname but this is
merely a suggestion.

  =Boston= (The Hub). Sign for _City_ and _Centre_.

  =Chicago= (Windy City). Sign for _City_ and _Wind_. The Cheyennes
  call it _Big Lake City_.

  =Kansas City= (Buffalo Head City). Sign _Buffalo Head_ and point up
  high to the wall. (Cheyenne.)

  =London.= Sign _City_, _Chief_, and _Red Coats_.

  =New York= (Knickerbocker City). Sign for _City_ and trousers cut off
  below the knee; i.e., draw flat of hand down over thigh then below
  knee and stop, turning edge of hand in. Or sign _Big Island City_.

  =Ottawa.= Sign _City_, _Chief_, and _Capotes_.


  =Philadelphia= (Quaker City). Sign _City_, then make sign for broad
  hat with rim curled up by drawing both index fingers across mid-brow,
  level in front, then twisting them up at the place of the rim. Or “no
  name, just _Big City_, nothing distinctive.” (Blackfoot.)

  =Pittsburg= (Smoky City). Sign for _City_ and _Smoky_.

  =Rome= (Eternal City). Sign _City_ and _Forever_.

  =Washington.= Sign _Father_, _Chief_, _Sits_. (Cheyenne.)


=Clean-handed= or =Innocent= (Great Spirit see no blood on these hands).
Lift hands over shoulder, palms up higher than head and add _Blood_,
_No_. (C) Or, sign _Work_, _Bad_, _No_.

  Fr. _innocent_; Ger. _unschuldig_.

=Clear= (Clear Sky). Sign _Clouds_, then swing the hands wide apart,
finishing with palms up at arm’s length, up high. Or, sign _Clouds_,
_Wiped out_. (Blackfoot.)

=Clever.= See _Cunning_.


=Close=, =Near=, =Nearly=, =Soon=, =Early=, =About=, or =Almost= (Draw
near). Bring the flat curved right hand, back to right, well out in
front of body, about height of shoulder; draw the hand in toward the
body and slightly downward. Compare _Far_. See also _Soon_.

  Fr. _près_, _presque_; Ger. _nahe_, _beinahe_.

=Clothes.= See _Coat_.


=Clouds= (Rolling). Rotate the flat hands over each other from in front
of the face, to over the head.


=Clouds= (Rain). Look upward, swing the flat hands at arm’s length,
palms down over the head; then add _Rain_.

  Fr. _les nuages_; Ger. _die Wolken_.

=Coal.= Sign _Hard_, _Fire_, and _Good_.

  Fr. _le charbon_; Ger. _die Kohle_.


=Coat= or =Clothes=. Hold the L hands near the breast, palms in; swing
them down to the waist.

  Fr. _l’habit_; Ger. _der Rock_.


=Coffee= (Grinding coffee in mill). A few inches over the flat left
hand, back down, move the right A as though turning the crank of a
coffee mill. Or, sign _Black Drink_. Compare _Tobacco_.

  Fr. _le café_; Ger. _der Kaffee_.

=Coin.= Close hollow right over hollowed left and shake as tho jingling
coin. (Sheeaka; not Indian, but now understood.) See _Dollar_.

  Fr. _la pièce d’argent_; Ger. _die Münze_.


=Cold= (Shivering). Bring the fists in front of and close to body,
height of shoulder, elbows at sides, shoulders drawn in, and shiver. See
_Winter_. Compare _Blanket_.

  Fr. _froid_; Ger. _kalt_.


=Color.= With the finger tips of right hand (thumb crooked under) rub
circularly on the palm of left hand as though rubbing color. Often add
_Same_ or _Equal_, to make more clear.

  Fr. _la couleur_; Ger. _die Farbe_.

  =Black.= Sign _Color_ and touch the hair or eyebrow.

    Fr. _noir_; Ger. _schwarz_.

  =Blue.= Sign _Sun_ with left hand and then draw the right G finger
  around it to mean color of sky around the sun. (Sheeaka). Or, sign
  _Color_ and _Sky_.

    Fr. _bleu_; Ger. _blau_.

  =Brown.= Sign _Color_ and _Deer_.

    Fr. _brun_; Ger. _braun_.

  =Gray.= Sign _Color_, _Little_, and _White_.

    Fr. _gris_; Ger. _grau_.

  =Green.= Sign _Color_ and _Grass_.

    Fr. _vert_; Ger. _grün_.

  =Red= (Cheek color). Sign _Color_ and lightly brush the right finger
  tips over the cheek, points to right.

    Fr. _rouge_; Ger. _rot_.

  =White.= Sign _Color_ and rub thumb nail of left A hand with tip of
  right G finger; i.e., nail color, white in Indians.

    Fr. _blanc_; Ger. _weiss_.

  =Yellow.= Sign _Color_ and point to any yellow object, such as a straw
  or dead grass. Or sign _Color_, _Grass_, and _Dead_.

    Fr. _jaune_; Ger. _gelb_.

  For other colors, touch or indicate some object of the tint meant.


=Comb.= With all fingers of right 5 hand hooked, comb the right side of
the head and down as far as the breast two or three times. Compare

  Fr. _le peigne_; Ger. _der Kamm_.

=Combat.= See _Battle_.


=Come=. Carry right G hand, back out, fingers up, in a graceful sweep
from arm’s length to within a foot of one’s face. Many use the flat hand
swung down and to you, palm under and toward you. Railroad men use the
whole arm, swinging it across the body at an angle of 45 degrees, so as
to be seen in a dim light.

  Fr. _venez_; Ger. _kommen Sie_.

=Come back=. Hold flat left, back forward, near breast; swing right
ditto pointed up from arm’s length in against back of left. See _Arrive

  Fr. _revenez_; Ger. _kommen Sie zurück_.


=Come between= or =Intervene=. Hold out left hand flat, back out, at
arm’s length and pass flat right, thumb up, between left and body.

  Fr. _s’interposer, intervenir_; Ger. _dazwischen kommen_.

=Come gently.= See _Easy_.


=Come for a moment.= Right hand held forward and up, fingers closed
except index, with which beckon by crooking and straightening, the hand
not moved. (Pop.) White sign, now fully adopted by the Cheyennes.

  Fr. _venez une seconde_; Ger. _kommen Sie einen Augenblick her_.


=Come into view= or =Appear=. Hold out flat left hand, back forward,
thrust right G index up, farther off, under and behind, until it appears

  Fr. _paraître_; Ger. _erscheinen_.


=Comfort= (See how smooth or fat). Draw flat right hand, palm in, down
breast, then off and up in curve forward, palm up. (Sheeaka.) Compare
_Confess_. Sometimes use _Glad_. (Blackfoot.)

  Fr. _le bien-être_; Ger. _die Behaglichkeit_.


=Comfortable.= Alternately rub left palm over back of right hand, then
right over left back, always palm up; then swing both forward. (Sheeaka.
Probably from Deaf.)

  Fr. _confortable_; Ger. _gemütlich_.

=Coming.= Hold out the flat right, palm to you and pointing nearly up;
draw it to you in little jerks.

  Fr. _venant_; Ger. _kommend_.

=Coming man.= See _Rising man_.

=Commence.= See _Begin_.

=Compass points.=

  _North—Wind cold there._

    Fr. _le nord_; Ger. _der Norden_.

  _East—Sunrise there._

    Fr. _l’est_; Ger. _der Osten_.

  _South—Wind warm there._

    Fr. _le sud_; Ger. _der Süden_.

  _West—Sunset there._

    Fr. _l’ouest_; Ger. _der Westen_.

=Complete.= See _Done_.

=Comparative=, etc., of _Adjectives_.

  For =Positive=, give first the adjective then swing the flat right
  hand out a little, level, palm up. (Sheeaka.)

  For =Comparative=, give first the adjective then raise the right G
  hand to the height of the chin, pointing up. (Sheeaka.) See _More_,
  and sometimes use _Ahead_ or _Above_ after the adjective.

    Fr. _le comparatif_; Ger. _der Komparativ_.

  For =Superlative=, give first the adjective then add _Strong_ and
  _Ahead_ or _Very much_.

    Fr. _le superlatif_; Ger. _der Superlativ_.

=Conceal.= See _Hide_.


=Conceit= (Swelled Head). Hold hands open and curved, one on each side
of the head, two or three inches away. A whiteman’s sign, but quite well
known now to the younger generation of Indians.

If in unbelievable degree, stretch the right hand at full length
sidewise, and work the first finger as though scratching the ear which
is supposed to be just above the hand. (Pop.)

=Conceit.= Sign _He_, _Think_, _Strong_.

  Fr. _la vanité_, _la présomption_; Ger. _die Einbildung_, _der

=Conduct.= Same as _Way_.


=Confess= (Show the heart). Lay points of both compressed hands on
centre of breast, then spring them away, out and aside, turning them
flat and palms up. Sometimes but one hand is used. I am inclined to
think that this should be simply _Heart_ and _Behold_, although none of
my Indians made it that way. Sometimes sign _You_, _Tell_, _True_.

  Fr. _confesser_; Ger. _gestehen_.

=Congress.= Sign _Whiteman_, _Chief_, _Council_ (No. 2).

  Fr. _le Congrès_; Ger. _der Kongresz_.

=Connivance= (Wink, that is, close one eye). This ancient sign assumes
that the person who should see, closes the eye next his accomplice.
(Pop. Also Cheyenne.)

  Fr. _la connivence_; Ger. _die Konnivenz_, _das (strafbare)


=Consider=, =Ponder=, or =Weigh= (Wisdom looking on the ground). Sign
_Wolf_ (i.e., _wisdom_, analogous with our word “foxy”), then turn
downward the points of the two fingers representing the wolf ears, back
of hand near the eyes and moving the hand from right to left as in
surveying the ground. (Scott.)


=Consider.= Hold the right “4” hand near the heart, pointing to left,
rotate a little back and forth. (Blackfoot.) The Cheyennes use V hand,
which makes it the same as _If_. See _Because_.

  Fr. _considérer_; Ger. _erwägen_.

=Constable.= See _Policeman_.

=Contempt.= See _Scorn_.

=Contented.= =To make contented, Satisfied.= Use _Glad_ or _Sit_,
_Good_. (Blackfoot.)

  Fr. _content_; Ger. _zufrieden_.

=Continue.= Sign _Go_ and _Long Time_. (Blackfoot.)

  Fr. _continuer_; Ger. _fortsetzen_.

=Conversation.= See _Discussion_, _Speech_, and _Talk_.

=Cook= (In the abstract). See _Make_ and _Food_.

  Fr. _faire cuire_, _cuisiner_; Ger. _kochen_.


=Cook= (By boiling). With both L hands make a horizontal circle, then
holding left unchanged, put something into it with right and add _Fire_.
Compare _Centre_ and _Hole_.

  Fr. _cuire_, _bouillir_; Ger. _kochen_.


=Cook= (By frying). Place flat right on flat left hand, palm to palm,
then flip the right like a pancake, turning it palm up as it drops on
the left.

=Cook= (By broiling). As in the above _Frying_, but leave out the left
hand entirely.

  Fr. _griller_; Ger. _braten_, _rösten_.

=Cook= (noun). Sign _Man_, _Makes_, _Food_.

  Fr. _le cuisinier_; Ger. _der Koch_.

=Coon.= See _Raccoon_.


=Corn= (Shelling the corn). Hold out the left A hand, thumb straight and
resting on index finger; place the ball of the thumb of right A hand on
back of left thumb near its base; twist the right hand by wrist action
to the right and downward until the right thumb slips off with a snap
against the right index. Repeat once or twice.

  Fr. _le maïs_; Ger. _der türkische Weizen_, der _Mais_.


=Corral= or =Fenced Field= or =Pasture= (Area embraced or held).
Interlock the fingers, hold arms curved in front, horizontal; then add
_Enclosure_, i.e., swing the hands apart and draw back each in a half
circle till their heels meet near you.

  Fr. _le corral_; Ger. _die Einzäunung_.


=Council= (Sitting in a circle and talking). Bring the A hands, back
outward, well out in front of body, a little lower than the shoulders,
little fingers touching; swing them apart and toward the body so they
meet close to it, forming a horizontal circle; palms forward; then add

=Council= (=2=). Exactly like _Across_, but repeated two or three times.
This is a recent sign among the Cheyennes, but is becoming popular. See
_Across_ and _Law_.

  Fr. _le conseil_; Ger. _die Ratsversammlung_.

=Counsel= or =Advice=. See _Advice_.

=Counting.= See _Numbers_.


=Count coup= or =Make a hit= or a =Strike= (Striking a dead body with
the coup stick). Strike the top joint of the right G index on the middle
of the left G index, as the right is swung from below up. _Grand Coup_
sign _Coup_ and _Great_.

  Fr. _le coup_; Ger. _der Treffschusz_.

=Country.= See _Land_.

=Coup.= See _Count coup_.


=Courting= (Driving or rounding up in secret). Thrust the right L hand
back nearly up under flat left, held palm down, twisting the right by
wrist action. Compare _Sweetheart_ and _Glitter_.

  Fr. _faire la cour_; Ger. _das Cour machen_, _das Hof machen_.

=Coward.= See _Fear_.

=Coyote.= Sign _Wolf_ and _Small_.

  Fr. _le coyote_, _le loup des prairies_; Ger. _der Präriewolf_.


=Crab.= Place base of wrist of right hand, palm down, on some flat
surface, thumb and little finger extended and curved (others closed) to
represent claws. Then move the hand sidewise backward, waving the claws.
(Scott.) Compare _Spider_.

  Fr. _le crabe_; Ger. _die Krabbe_.

=Crave.= See _Want_.

=Crayfish.= Hold out the V hand level; draw it back, opening and
shutting the V. Compare _Dog_.

  Fr. _l’écrevisse_; Ger. _der Krebs_.


=Crazy=, =Foolish=, =Mad=, =Demented= (Brain in a whirl). Raise
compressed right hand, all fingers together, tap the forehead with it
and make one or two quick circles with finger tips in the air.
(Sheeaka.) Tap the forehead, shake the head and point to the person.

=Crazy.= Swing the 5 hand in horizontal circles near the forehead, going
with the sun. Going the reverse way always raises a laugh among
Cheyennes; it both intensifies and makes the idea ridiculous.

  Fr. _fou_; Ger. _verrückt_.

=Cree.= See _Indian_.


=Creek=, =Brook=, or =Rill=. Sign _Water_, then draw right G hand, back
up, held low, from opposite left side, past body to right side; finger
level, pointing to left and waved sidewise. Compare _River_, _Snake_,
_Crooked_, and _Wire_.

  Fr. _le ruisseau_; Ger. _der Bach_.

=Crime= or =Sin=. Sign _Strong_, _Bad_, _Work_.

  Fr. _le crime_; Ger. _das Verbrechen_.


=Crooked= or =Wrong=. Point the right G forward and slightly down; push
it slowly forward in a succession of large, horizontal zigzags, each
arched a little.


=Cross= or =Sulky=. Rest the forehead low on the left hand. Or sign
_Heart_, _Bad_.

  Fr. _maussade_; Ger. _mürrisch_.


=Cross= (of Christ). Hold right G upright, left G at right angles across
last joint of right.

  Fr. _le crucifix_; Ger. _das Kruzifix_.

=Cross.= See _Across_.

=Cross the heart.= With right index make a little cross over the heart.
This means “I give you my word of honor.” (Pop.)

  Fr. _parole d’honneur!_; Ger. _auf mein Ehrenwort!_

=Crow.= Sign _Bird_ and _Black_.

  Fr. _la corneille_; Ger. _die Krähe_.

=Crowded.= See _Few_.

=Crow Indian.= See _Indian_.

=Crush.= See _Exterminate_.

=Cry out.= See _Yell_.


=Cry=, =To weep=. With G forefingers near the eyes trace the courses of
tears. If excessive, sign _Rain_ from the eyes. (Blackfoot.) Compare

  Fr. _pleurer_; Ger. _weinen_.

=Cunning=, =Smart=, or =Clever=. Make the sign for _Wolf_ and add the
sign _Equal_. Compare _Consider_.

  Fr. _rusé_; Ger. _schlau_.


=Cut.= Saw the lower edge of the flat right across the palm or edge of
the flat left.

  Fr. _couper_; Ger. _schneiden_.

=Cutting up.= See _Meat_.


=Cyclone= or =Whirlwind=. With flat right hand, back to the right and
level with the right shoulder, make a spiral upward. A very small one
for a little dust whirlwind, and a large violent one for a dangerous

  Fr. _le cyclone_; Ger. _der Wirbelsturm_.


=Dam.= Sign for _Stream_ or _River_ and _Hold_. (Blackfoot.)

  Fr. _la digue_, _l’écluse_; Ger. _der Damm_.


=Dance= (People jumping together). Bring the flat (or “5”) hands in
front of body about height of breast, with fingers pointing nearly up,
palms toward each other about six inches apart. Move the hands briskly
upward and downward a few inches several times, simultaneously, mostly
by elbow action. Compare _People_.


=Dance= (Drumming). Hold up one flat hand face high, back to side, thumb
raised and up: jerk up and down. (C)

  Fr. _danser_; _la danse_; Ger. _tanzen_, _der Tanz_.


=Danger= (The _Scout_ or _Wolf_ going ahead and coming back to report
danger). Right V hand, back upward, moved directly and slowly forward in
front of the right shoulder and then suddenly and quickly drawn back at
the same time the body is thrown back a little. (Sheeaka.)

=Danger.= Sign _Look_, _Little_, _Afraid_ (No. 2).

  Fr. _le danger_; Ger. _die Gefahr_.

=Dangerous= (Of a man). Sign _Strong_ and _Bad_.

  Fr. _dangereux_; Ger. _gefährlich_.

=Dare you.= See _Challenge_.


=Dark=, =Unknown=, =Obscure=. Bring the flat hands, back outward, in
front of face, right hand nearest face, left a little ahead, hands
crossed, tips of fingers about opposite centre of forehead; bring the
hands very slightly toward face. Compare _Ashamed_ and _Blind_.

  Fr. _obscur_; Ger. _dunkel_.

=Daughter.= Sign _Born_ and _Female_.

  Fr. _la fille_; Ger. _die Tochter_.

=Day.= See _Time_.

=Daybreak.= Sign _Little_, _Sunrise_.


=Daybreak= (A peep through darkness). Hold right flat hand above left
flat hand and in same plane; right little finger on left index then
raise the right hand a few inches higher. (C)

  Fr. _l’aube_; Ger. _der Tagesanbruch_.

=Dead=, =Death=. Make the sign for _Die_ and _Sleep_. (C) The Cheyennes
use _Die_.

  Fr. _mort_; Ger. _tot_.


=Deaf= (Hearing ground out). Press the palm of extended right hand
slightly against right ear, and move the hand in small circle parallel
to and close to the ear. Sometimes add _Not_.

  Fr. _sourd_; Ger. _taub_.

=Debt.= See _Owe_.

=Deceive.= Sign _Give_ and _Lie_.

  Fr. _tromper_; Ger. _betrügen_.


=Decide=, =Determine=, =Make up one’s mind= (Think, then act or settle
it). Lower the head and raise right fist to chin; then raise the head
and cut down with the little finger edge of the flat right hand.

=Decide.= This is a sentence rather than a sign. With 4 hand over heart,
sign _Consider_; point slowly in two or three directions for _Ways_;
sign _That_ by vigorously swinging the right G index out, pointing down;
then add _So_ by raising it slightly up and then down. (Blackfoot.)

  Fr. _décider_; Ger. _sich entscheiden_.


=Decrease=, =Reduce=, or =Make smaller=. Hold flat right hand, palm
down, high above, a little to the side of flat left hand, palm up; move
them together in succession of little jerks. Sometimes for emphasis
finish by compressing all right fingers to a point in the left palm.
Compare _Increase_ and _Heap_.

  Fr. _diminuer_; Ger. _verringern_.


=Decrepit=, =Old=, or =Broken down= (Bent with disease or age). Hold up
G hand, back to right, higher than shoulder; lower the hand several
inches, at same time bend the index. (C)

=Decrepit.= Hold up the right G, shoulder high, with index bent in a
hook; rotate as in _Old_.

  Fr. _décrépit_; Ger. _altersschwach_, _gebrechlich_.

=Deed.= See _Act_.


=Deep.= Hold the left flat hand horizontal, chin high, back up, fingers
pointing to right; then drop right arm to full length down with flat
right hand palm up, under left, fingers pointing forward.

  Fr. _profond_; Ger. _tief_.


=Deer.= Both hands fully spread, palms in and held up to the side of the
head to represent the horns of a deer. (Sheeaka.) This is generic for
_Deer_. Compare _Elk_.

  Fr. _le cerf_; Ger. _der Hirsch_.


=Deer, Mule= or =Rocky Mountain Blacktail=. Sign _Deer_ then set
compressed hand at each ear pointing up and forward to indicate the
large ears, as in a mule. (Scott.) Compare _Bear_.

  Fr. _le cerf mulet_; Ger. _der langohrige Hirsch_.


=Deer, Whitetailed= or =Virginian=. Raise the right G hand, pointing up
and shoulder high; switch it from nearly horizontal right to nearly
horizontal left and back, several times, pausing at the low point each
time. Sign _Deer_ if need for clearness.

  Fr. _le cerf de la Virginie_; Ger. _der Hirsch aus Virginien_.

=Defame.= See _Abuse_.


=Defend=, =Protect=, =Defense=, =Forbid=, or =Protection=. Sign the same
as the first part of _Corral_, but swing the joined hands to left and
right. So also to separate the hands means to _Loose_ or _Remove_
protection. See _Hold_ or _Protect_.

  Fr. _défendre_; Ger. _verteidigen_.


=Defiance=, =Defy=, =Dare=, =Challenge=, or =I defy you=. Point the T
hand toward the person. This is an extremely insulting challenge
implying also the extreme of hatred and contempt. See _Challenge_.

  Fr. _le défi_, _défier_; Ger. _die Herausforderung_, _trotzen_.

=Defiance, Insolent.= See _Mockery_.

=Delight.= See _Excite_.

=Depart.= See _Go_.


=Describe=, =Explain=, or =Tell about= (Tell all about it). Sign _Talk_
and _All_—that is, swing the curved flat right hand, palm down, and to
left, in a horizontal circle in front of the right cheek.

  Fr. _décrire_; Ger. _beschreiben_.

=Desire.= See _Want_.

=Destroy.= See _Exterminate_.

=Determine.= See _Decide_.

=Devil.= Sign _Medicine_, _Horns_, and _Tail_. A purely modern sign.

  Fr. _le diable_; Ger. _der Teufel_.

=Dew.= Sign _Night_, _Grass_, and the _Shimmer_; i.e., pass curved right
5 hand, palm down, with a tremulous motion just above the grass and add
_Water_. (C)

  Fr. _la rosée_; Ger. _der Tau_.


=Die= (To go under; i.e., underground). Hold left hand flat, fingers
horizontal, palm to you, breast high, pointing to right. Hold right G
hand pointing to left above and within; pass it down, under and up
beyond, still pointing to left.

This is capable of modification. Thus passing the right hand under and
drawing it back means to be near death but to _Recover_. To make the
sign _Little_ after this means to _Faint_.

  Fr. _mourir_; Ger. _sterben_.

=Die out.= See _Melt_.


=Different= or =Wrong= (Push aside). Hold up the flat right, pointing
forward and a little up, back to right. Swing the whole arm a foot to
right, forward and upward, without bending the wrist, then back to first
pose and repeat; a much-used and very plastic sign. Compare _Bad_ and

  Fr. _différent_; Ger. _anders_.

=Difficulty.= See _Trouble_.

=Dig.= Use flat right hand as a spade.

  Fr. _creuser_; Ger. _graben_.

=Dime.= Sign _White_, _Little_, _Money_.

=Dinner.= Sign _Noon_ or _Night_, as may be, and _Eat_.

  Fr. _le dîner_; Ger. _das Mittagessen_, _die Haupmahlzeit_.

=Direction.= Point the G finger forward and down, swing it forward in a
curve till it is about horizontal and pointing in the line intended.

  Fr. _la direction_; Ger. _die Richtung_.

=Dirt= or =Soil=. See _Earth_.

=Dirty.= Rub the tips of the 1st and 2nd fingers with the tip of the
thumb, exactly as in _Powder_, and add _Bad_.

  Fr. _sal_; Ger. _schmutzig_.


=Disappear.= Hold out the flat left, palm in, then shoot compressed
right, points first, over and down; then rub upper edge of left with
palm tips of right to mean _wiped out_.

=Disappear.= Look around and sign _See_, _Not_. Sometimes use _Hide_.

  Fr. _disparaître_; Ger. _verschwinden_.

=Disbelief.= Sign _That_, _True_, _I think_, _No_.

  Fr. _l’incrédulité_; Ger. _der Unglaube_.

=Disciple.= See _Learner_.

=Discouraged.= See _Sorrow_.

=Discovery.= _Found out._


=Discussion=, =Conversation=, or =Debate= (In a general sense). Hold out
both flat hands, palms up, level, six inches apart, breast high; swing
both to left, then back to right several times, to signify the handing
of words back and forth.

=Discussion= or =Conversation= (Between two). Make the sign for _Talk_
alternately right at left and left at right.

  Fr. _la conversation_; Ger. _das Gespräch_.

=Disgust= or =Dislike=. Push both flat hands forward palms out, fingers
up, and turn away head. Or _Heart_, _Tired_. (C) Sometimes use _Scorn_.

  Fr. _le dégoût_; Ger. _der Ekel_.


=Dismount.= Sign _Horseman_, then separate and lower right V hand,
points up. If the points of the A hand were down, it would mean “looking
on the ground.” See _Mount_.

  Fr. _descendre de cheval_; Ger. _absteigen_.

=Disobey.= Sign _Hear_, _Not_. Compare _Obey_.

  Fr. _désobéir_; Ger. _nicht gehorchen_.

=Distant.= See _Far_.

=Distress.= See _Sorrow_.

  Fr. _la misère_; Ger. _die Not_.

=Dissolve.= See _Melt_.

=Dive= (To plunge into water). Place flat hands palm to palm and make
the action of diving.

  Fr. _plonger_; Ger. _tauchen_.


=Dive= or =Swoop= (Like a bird in air). Hold out flat left hand, back
outward, bring flat right hand, back out, some inches in rear of and
higher than left hand, pointing downward and forward; then shoot the
right hand downward and outward, back of hand grazing under the left
hand and up beyond. Compare _Born_.

  Fr. _s’élancer_; Ger. _niederschiessen au_.

=Divorce.= Sign _Marry_, then swing the fingers apart horizontally. This
is a legal divorce. When _Abandon_ is used it means leaving one’s mate
without legal divorce.

=Do.= See _Work_.

=Doctor.= Sign _Chief_ and _Medicine_. (C) The Cheyennes omit _Chief_.

  Fr. _le médecin_, _le docteur_; Ger. _der Arzt_.


=Doer= or =The one who does= or =Man who= (of all, that one). Sign
_Man_, then swing right G on the level a foot, and back six inches; then
raise and strike with same G down on middle of the line. (Sheeaka.
Apparently no other Indian knew it.) The Cheyennes sign _Man_ and
_Work_, or _Man_ and _Knows_.

  Fr. _l’auteur_, _celui qui fait_; Ger. _der Täter_.


=Dog= (Drawing lodge poles). With V hand back up in front of body draw
the double trail down and backward. Compare _Wolf_. Seger maintains that
the idea here is the dog’s ears point backward as he runs. See _Bark_.

  Fr. _le chien_; Ger. _der Hund_.

=Dollar.= Sign _Money_ and _One_. This would vary with the country, the
sign stands for the unit of currency.

  Fr. _le dollar_; Ger. _der Dollar_.


=Done=, =Ended=, =Finished=, =Complete=, =Period=, or =Full Stop=
(Chopped off). Hold left hand flat, fingers touching, point forward,
thumb up and with edge of right similarly held, chop down close past the
tips of the fingers.

Also used as an auxiliary past tense, as _I done eat_.


=Done= (=2=) =Finish=, =Quit=, =Break off=. Hold up both fists at level
of chin, palms down, middle knuckles of left touching ditto of right;
jerk them a foot apart as though breaking a cord; swing them apart,
down, along and up. This is also used as a _Period_ at the end of
sentence and I have seen it used for _Bankrupt_. It is a northern sign
recently established among the Cheyennes. Compare _Fat_ and _Break_.

  Fr. _fini_; Ger. _fertig_.


=Don’t Care= (I am defiant). Tap chest with tips of right flat hand,
then swing the hand briskly and high to right, keeping palm facing the
left. (Sheeaka.) Merely shrug the shoulders. (Blackfoot.) The Cheyennes
sign _Go ahead_.

  Fr. _cela m’est égal_; Ger. _ich mache mir nichts daraus_.

=Do not= or =Don’t=. Hold up flat right hand, palm out, and forward at
an angle; sharply shake the hand by wrist action back and forward (not
sidewise), also sometimes the head. Compare _Easy_ and _Rub it out_.
Sometimes use _Stop_.

  Fr. _ne faites pas_; Ger. _tun Sie das nicht_.

=Don’t want.= See under _Want_.


=Door.= Sign _Teepee_ or _House_, then hold flat left hand, thumb up,
and lay flat right across the palm with little finger of the right as
the hinge; swing it till it lies flat on left palm. (C) The Cheyennes
sign _House_, then pull and swing an imaginary door.

  Fr. _la porte_; Ger. _die Tür_.

=Doubt=, =I am doubtful=. Very slowly shake the head. (Pop.) Cheyennes
and other Indians add—right hand held out palm forward and down, open
and shaken; really a slow, slight _Question_ sign. See _If_.

  Fr. _le doute_, _j’en doute_; Ger. _der Zweifel_, _ich bezweifle_.

=Down=, =Downward=, or =Below=. Point straight down with right G,
lowering the same. (Blackfoot.) Some use flat hand for this. Compare

  Fr. _en bas_; Ger. _unten_.

=Down-hearted.= See _Sorrow_.

=Dream= (See while sleeping). Sign _Sleep_ and _See_; keeping the eyes

  Fr. _le rêve_; Ger. _der Traum_.

=Dress.= Pass the palm of the L hand over the part of the body to be
covered. Compare _Hat_, _Moccasin_, _Robe_, etc.

  Fr. _la robe_; Ger. _das Kleid_.


=Drink= or =Drinking= (From a cup). The O hand to the mouth as in
drinking. Compare _Want_.


=Drinking= in the abstract would be: Draw the hollow hand level to the
mouth from slightly above and down past chin, fingers pointing nearly
forward. This combines _Water_ and _Swallow_. See _Water_. Compare

  Fr. _buvant_; Ger. _trinkend_.

=Drinking liquor= (Half a finger). Hold up right G hand back to you,
then lay left G across back to indicate liquor, then add _Drink_.

  Fr. _buvant une boisson alcoolique_; Ger. _Schnaps trinkend_.


=Drive= (Sense of driving a herd, or running off a herd). With L hands
horizontal, opposite each other and same height, about an inch between
tips of thumbs; move the hands simultaneously in the direction of the

  Fr. _mener_; Ger. _treiben_.


=Driving= (A team). Hold both hands, backs out, as though holding reins,
thumbs straight, with index of each around its point. See-saw the hands
on the same level.

  Fr. _conduisant_; Ger. _lenkend_, _fahrend_.

=Drouth.= Sign, _Long time_, _Rain_, _No_.

  Fr. _la sécheresse_; Ger. _die Dürre_.

=Drown.= Sign _Water_ and _Die_.

  Fr. _noyer_; Ger. _ertrinken_.

=Drum.= With G fingers draw a large circle, beginning together well
forward, each making half-circle, ending near body; then strike on it
several times with right A.

  Fr. _le tambour_; Ger. _die Trommel_.

=Drunk= or =Drunkard=. Sign _Crazy_, _Drink_, and _Much_.

  Fr. _ivre_; Ger. _betrunken_.

=Dry= (Of a stream or spring). Sign _Stream_, _Water_, _All gone_.

  Fr. _sec_; Ger. _trocken_.

=Dry.= See _Thirsty_.


=Duck.= Sign for _Bird_ and make the broad bill with flat hand held
under the nose, back up, pointing forward; push it forward a few inches,
or else with thumb below and first and second fingers above.

  Fr. _le canard_; Ger. _die Ente_.

=Dull= (Of a tool). Sign _Cut_ and _Not_ or _Bad_. Compare _Saw_.

  Fr. _émoussé_; Ger. _stumpf_.

=Dull.= See _Dunce_.

=Dumb.= Press the finger tips of the flat hand on the mouth; add _Talk_
and _No_.

  Fr. _muet_; Ger. _stumm_.

=Dunce= or =Dull= (Blockhead). Strike forehead with right fist knuckles.
(D) A Cheyenne signed it _Behind_, _Book_, _Know_, _Not_.

  Fr. _le benêt_, _l’imbécile_; Ger. _der Dummkopf_.

=During.= See _While_.

=Dust.= Rub tips of right fingers with tip of right thumb, as in
_Powder_; then with flat right hand horizontal, palm down, pat several
times toward the earth. (Scott.) See _Earth_ and _Land_.

If the dust is in the air, pat down with one flat hand, then wave both 5
hands, points up, near the eyes; sometimes blink and draw back to make
it more expressive.

  Fr. _la poussière_; Ger. _der Staub_.

=Duty= (That, me, sends). Sign for _That_, _Me_, and _Go_

  Fr. _le devoir_; Ger. _die Pflicht_.


=Dwell= or =Inhabit= (Alive and moving about in). Right flat hand, face
high, pointing up, twisted slowly from left to right two or three times.
Compare _Appear_, _Alive_, and _Doubt_.


=Dwell= (=2=) (Sitting, emphatic). One fist above the other in front as
though grasping a stake, then with both hands push it down and slightly
forward. (Blackfoot.) Compare _Sit_.

  Fr. _demeurer_; Ger. _bewohnen_, _wohnen_.

=Dwindle.= See _Decrease_.



=Eagle.= The sign for _Bird_ is slowly made, then with the G hand in
front of the face, back to right, describe a downward curve from between
the eyes to indicate the curved bill of the eagle. This same sign is
given for _Roman nose_, but hold the back of the hand forward.

  Fr. _l’aigle_; Ger. _der Adler_.

=Early.= See _Soon_.

=Early evening.= Sign _Sunset_ and _Little of_. (C) The Cheyennes
understood this, but preferred to swing the _Sun_ sign down to near, but
not quite, level.

  Fr. _au commencement du soir_; Ger. _früh am Abend_.

=Early morning.= Sign _Little_ and _Daybreak_, or _Sunrise_.

  Fr. _de bon matin_; Ger. _frühmorgens_.

=Ear-rings.= Make a ring of each index and thumb and apply to each
ear-lobe, backs of hands out, other fingers raised.

  Fr. _les boucles d’oreilles_; Ger. _das Ohrgehänge_.

=Earth=, =the World= (All land). Sign _All_ with both flat hands, palms
down, then pat down with both hands twice. Compare _Land_.

  Fr. _le monde_; Ger. _die Erde_, _die Welt_.

=Earth=, =Soil=, or =Dirt=. Point down, then with thumb and finger tips,
lift and rub some imaginary soil as in _Powder_.

  Fr. _la terre_; Ger. _die Erde_, _der Schmutz_.


=Easy=, =Softly=, or =Gently=. Hold flat hand at face height, fingers
half spread and a little curved, palm forward, leaning toward the person
and gently and slightly shake the hand from side to side. (Sioux and
Blackfoot.) With slight modification, much used on the railway in
shunting. Compare _Rub it out_, _Question_, and _Do not_.

  Fr. _doucement_; Ger. _sachte_.


=Eat= or =Food=. Throw the nearly compressed right hand lightly in a
curve past the mouth several times. Compare _Water_ and _Drink_.

  Fr. _manger_; Ger. _essen_.


=Eaten enough= (Full to throat). Sign _Eat_, then lay L hand on breast,
palm in, and raise it to opposite chin. Compare _Hang_.

  Fr. _assez mangé_; Ger. _satt gegessen_.

=Effect.= See _Result_.

=Effort.= See _Try_.

=Egg.= Sign _Bird_ and _Born_; then indicate the size of the egg with
finger and thumb of one or both hands.

  Fr. _l’oeuf_; Ger. _das Ei_.


=Either=, =Or=. Hold out left V hand, back up; tap each finger in turn
with right G. Compare _Both_.

  Fr. _l’un ou l’autre_, _ou ... ou_; Ger. _entweder ... oder_.


=Elk= or =Wapiti=. Hold the hands above the head at arm’s length on each
side, thumb and first two fingers of each spread, others closed; jerk
them forward two or three times for three or four inches. Compare
_Deer_, _Moose_, and _Caribou_.

  Fr. _le cerf du Canada_; Ger. _das Elentier_.


=Empty=, =Absent=, =Gone=, or =Out of=. Place the right 5 hand, points
up, in the left C hand, which is back, forward, and down; drop the right
hand down out of the left, closing left to O. Compare _All gone_.

  Fr. _vide_; Ger. _leer_.

=Encamp.= See _Camp_.

=Encircle.= See _Surround_.


=Enclosure.= Hold out both 5 hands level, palm to palm, finger tips
touching; swing them apart in a horizontal circle; draw them back; end
with fingers wide apart and heels touching. A much-used sign. See

  Fr. _l’enclos_; Ger. _die Einzäunung_.

=End.= See _Done_.


=Endure=, =Suffer=, or =Stand it= (Suffering, but strong and erect).
Hold flat curved right hand close in front of breast, breathe heavily,
swinging the hand near and from; then raise the right A hand in a curve
out and up, about head high. (Sheeaka.) Understood, but not used by

  Fr. _supporter_; Ger. _aushalten_, _leiden_.

=Enemy.= Sign _Shake hands_ and _Not_. Sometimes use _Hate_.

  Fr. _l’ennemi_; Ger. _der Feind_.


=Engaged= or =Betrothed= (Ring-bound). Sign _Prisoner_, then with right
index indicate a ring on ring finger of left hand. (D)

=Engaged.= Sign _Bye and bye_, _Marry_. See _Courting_.

  Fr. _fiancé_; Ger. _verlobt_.

=Engagement= (i.e., Business). Swing the flat hands, palms up, up and
down for six or eight inches, as in _Road_, but not progressing. Or,
sign _Road_ and _Meet_.

  Fr. _l’engagement_, _l’obligation_; Ger. _die Verabredung_.

=Enlist.= Sign _Work_ and _Soldier_.

  Fr. _enrôler_; Ger. _sich anwerben lassen_.


=Enough= or =Full= in general sense (Levelling off a full measure). Hold
out left O hand, back to left, and across the top from right to left
pass the flat palm of the open right hand. Sometimes add _Strong_, to
mean _Plenty_. See _Eaten enough_.

  Fr. _assez_; Ger. _genug_.


=Enter= or =Come into=. Hold out hollow left, back up, and pass
compressed right hand under and beyond.

  Fr. _entrer_; Ger. _eintreten_.


=Equal=, =Even=, =Same=, =Too=, =Also= (Even race). Hold G hands in
front of breast, side by side, backs up, pointing to front, about two
inches apart; push them forward together and a little up in a sweep. A
much-used sign. Compare _Race_, _Parallel_, _Marry_, and _Mate_.

  Fr. _égal_, _le même_; Ger. _gleich_, _egal_, _genau so_.

=Erase= or =Annul=. Sign _Wrong_ and _Wipe out_. See _Rub it out_.

  Fr. _effacer_; Ger. _auslöschen_, _ausstreichen_.

=Escape.= See _Free_.

=Even= or =Same=. See _Equal_.

=Evening.= Sign _Night_ and _Little of_. (C) See _Early evening_.

  Fr. _le soir_; Ger. _der Abend_.

=Ever.= See _Always_.

=Evil= or =Sin=. Sign _Work_ and _Bad_.


=Evil Eye.= Close all fingers of right hand, except index and little
finger; to point these at any one means “You have the Evil Eye.” In
Italy this is an insult. (Pop.) In France it means “Shame on you,” or “I
put you to shame.” (Pop.)

  Fr. _la main à corne_; Ger. _das Hexenauge_.

=Except= or =Unless=. See _But_.


=Excessive=, =Too much=, =Unjust=, =Too= (Extremely, piled up). With
right palm down, make a succession of curves, marking stages each higher
than the last, beginning very low; then finish by swinging both hands,
palm down, away up and forward. (Sheeaka.) Or sign _Heap_. Sometimes use

  Fr. _excessif_, _trop_; Ger. _übermässig_, _zu viel_.

=Exchange.= See _Trade_.


=Excite=, =Agitate= (Heart flutters). Sign _Heart_, then hold the 5 hand
near the heart, back to right, pointing upward; raise it a foot shaking
the fingers. The Blackfeet use this for _Glad_, and in most cases among
the Cheyennes it implies pleasant excitement.

  Fr. _exciter_; Ger. _aufregen_.

=Excuse.= See _Wipe out_.

=Exist.= See _Be_.

=Expect.= See _Hope_.

=Explain.= See _Describe_.


=Exterminate=, =Annihilate=, =Crush=, =Destroy=, etc. (Crushed and wiped
out). Drop flat right on flat left, palm to palm, grind them together,
then brush the right over the left tips, to front and beyond. Compare
_Wipe out_.

  Fr. _exterminer_; Ger. _vernichten_.



=Face.= Sweep the flat right hand, palm in, across the face and down.
This is sometimes used for _Person_.

  Fr. _la figure_; Ger. _das Gesicht_.

=Fade.= See _Melt_.

=Faint.= Signs for _Die_ and _Recover_.

  Fr. _s’évanouir_, _faible_, _épuisé_; Ger. _ohnmächtig werden_,


=Fall= or =Tumble=. The right flat hand in front of breast, back up,
swept briskly out, _forward_ up and down, to rest palm up. Compare
_Another_ and _Lie Down_.

  Fr. _tomber_; Ger. _hinfallen_.

=Fall.= See _Autumn_.


=Fall= (Of water). Sign _River_ or _Creek_, then hold out flat left,
back out, and push flat right over it, bending right fingers over far
edge, making them tremble.

  Fr. _la cataracte_; Ger. _der Wasserfall_.

=Fail=, that is, to lack success. See _Cannot_.

=Fail= (In business). Sign _Work_, _Backward_. (Blackfoot.) The
_Backward_ is indicated by holding the flat left well forward, drawing
the flat right back in jumps.

  Fr. _faire faillite_; Ger. _bankerott werden_.

=False.= See _Lie_.

=Fame.= See _Glory_.


=Famous= (Standing on a hill). Sign _Hill_, then over that hold right G,
palm forward, index just above left thumb. Or, sign _Chief_ and _Brave_.

  Fr. _fameux_, _célèbre_; Ger. _berühmt_.


=Far object=, =Distant= or =Far forward=, =Over there=. Move the G hand
forward and upward in a long slow arch, finishing at arm’s length with
down curve.


=Far= (In general). Flat right hand curved, pointing to left, back
forward, pushed out and up at arm’s length. Compare _Close_.

  Fr. _loin_; Ger. _entfernt_.

=Farm.= Sign _Land_ and _Planting_.

  Fr. _la ferme_; Ger. _der Pachthof_.

=Farmer.= Sign _Corn_ and _Chief_.

  Fr. _le fermier_; Ger. _der Ackerbauer_.


=Fast=, =Quick=, =Rapid=, or =Swift= (Pass by). Hold out the flat left
hand, back to left. Bring the flat right hand, back to right, several
inches in rear of and slightly to right of left, pointing to front and
downward; carry right hand swiftly past left and close to it, and as it
passes, by wrist action, raise the hand so that fingers will point
upward and in front, making a curve; at the same time, draw back the
left a little.

  Fr. _rapide_, _vite_; Ger. _schnell_.


=Fat= (Shape of a fat animal’s hips). Hold the fists out side by side,
thumb to thumb, then swing them apart in two curves, up, out, down, and
a little forward. Compare _Done_ and _Break_.

  Fr. _gras_; Ger. _fett_.

=Fat= or =Grease=. See _Oil_.


=Father= (Nurse, male). With compressed right hand, pluck at the right
breast two or three times, as though drawing out milk. Sometimes add
_Male_. Compare _Mother_.

  Fr. _le père_; Ger. _der Vater_.

=Father-in-law.= Sign _Brother-in-law_, _Old_, and _Man_.


=Fault-finding= (Striking, knocking). With flat right hand, arm at full
length, make a succession of short chops down. This is fault-finding
with another. For “fault-finding with me” chop toward the breast.
(Sheeaka.) See _Abuse_, _Chop_, and _By itself_. The Cheyennes use
_You_, _All time_, _Scold_.

  Fr. _blâmer_, _censurer_; Ger. _das Tadeln_.


=Fear=, =Cowardice=, =Coward=. The head stooped down and the right arm
thrown up, palm out, as though to ward off danger. (Sheeaka.) The
Cheyennes understand, but prefer _Woman_, _Heart_. See _Afraid_.

  Fr. _la peur_; Ger. _die Furcht_.

=Feather= (Small). Pluck an imaginary feather from left arm with index
finger and thumb of right hand and blow it away from the mouth with one
puff, at same time opening the finger and thumb to let it go.

=Feather=, i.e., =Quill Feather=. Sign _Wing_, then make as though
pulling out and holding up _One_ feather.

  Fr. _la plume_; Ger. _die Feder_.

=Feel= (That is, heart feels). Place the tip of the middle finger,
others extended and lifted, against the heart; then draw it up a little
way. (D)

  Fr. _sentir_; Ger. _empfinden_.


=Feel= or =Touch= (to touch). The hand as above, but pushed forward and
moved a little from side to side. (Sheeaka.) See _Hot_.

=Feel= or =Touch=. Hold out left flat hand, back up; press tip of right
flat hand on it at various places. Compare _At_.

  Fr. _toucher_; Ger. _tasten_, _berühren_.


=Female= or =Woman=. Draw the flat right hand, palm in close to the side
of the head, finger tips about on line with the top of head; lower the
hand, at the same time curving fingers as though combing with them the
hair over ears and cheeks; finish with a snap at line of shoulders. Two
hands are used in the north. Compare _Comb_. For _White woman_ indicate
an immense hat. (Sheeaka.)

  Fr. _la femme_; Ger. _das Weib_.

=Fetch.= See _Bring_.

=Few.= See _Small_.


=Fight= or =War=. Hold loosely clenched A hands well out in front of
body, thumbs toward body, about height of shoulders and about three
inches apart; bring right hand in toward body few inches, at same time
move left out about same distance; then carry right out and bring left
in, repeating these two or three times, making them by wrist and elbow
action. This is a fight of many; for a fight of two, use the G fingers
same way. In old days, according to Father Isadore, the signal for
_Battle_ was a handful of dust thrown in the air. The gesture of doing
this came to mean _Fight_.

  Fr. _le combat_, _la guerre_; Ger. _der Streit_, _der Krieg_.

=Find.= Sign _Look_ around here and there, then shoot out the V hand and
pick up an imaginary something with finger and thumb. Compare _Choose_
and _Hunt_.

  Fr. _trouver_; Ger. _finden_.


=Fingers crossed=, =To claim Sanctuary=. Also called _Bar up_, _King’s
X_, _King’s Cross_, _Pax_, _Truce_, _Fins_, _Fines_, etc. Hold up right
hand with first and second fingers crossed. This means “I claim
privilege, what I do now is outside the game.” (Universal in our schools
and probably very ancient.)

  Fr. _être exempt_; Ger. _die Immunität_, _verschont sein_.

=Finish.= Hold out flat left, palm up; rub flat right on it, palm down,
making two sunwise circles. Also use _Done_.


=Fire= (Blaze, flaring up with smoke). Hold the right hand down and
forward at arm’s length, back in front of the body; fingers hooked so
the tip of thumb is over the nails of first three fingers and holds them
down; raise the hand six inches and spring the fingers upward, free,
separate, and straight. Do this twice. Compare _Aurora_.

  Fr. _le feu_; Ger. _das Feuer_.

=Fire, Spark of.= Hold up right thumb and index as though holding
something and blow it steadily; add _Fire_ if needed for clearness.
Compare _Feather_ (small).

  Fr. _l’étincelle_; Ger. _der Funke_.

=Fire=, =Set it afire=. Make the motion of striking a match on the side
of the thigh and thrusting it forward.

  Fr. _allumer_; Ger. _anzünden_.


=Fire off=, =Shoot=, or =Gun-Fire= (Blaze shooting forward). Right hand
in front of right shoulder; throw palm forward six inches and at same
time straighten and spread all fingers with a jerk. Some add a hand clap
or many for _Volley firing_.

  Fr. _décharger_, _faire feu sur_, _tirer_; Ger. _schiessen_,


=First= (Of all, number one). Hold up left 5 hand, palm to right; push
it forward, then tap the little finger with the right G. (Sheeaka. A
Sioux sign, but understood by Cheyennes.) Compare _Last_ and _Guide_.

=First.= Sign _Ahead_.

  Fr. _le premier_; Ger. _der Erste_.


=Fish.= Make sign for _Water_; then hold flat right hand, back to right,
in front of right shoulder, elbow high; and move the hand sinuously
forward. Often omit _Water_. Compare _Snake_.

  Fr. _le poisson_; Ger. _der Fisch_.

=Fisher= or =Pekan=. Sign _Marten_ and _Big_ (suggested, not

  Fr. _le pékan_; Ger. _der kanadische Marder_.


=Fix.= Lay low edge of flat right hand on upper edge of flat left near
thumb base. Push right forward and down, turning left back up. (C) Or,
sign _Work_ and _All right_. Compare _Mend_, _Council_, and _Law_.

  Fr. _ajuster_, _arranger_; Ger. _herrichten_, _in Ordnung machen_.

=Fix=, =In a Fix=. See _Quandary_.


=Flag.= Hold flat right well out, back to right. Lay left G on wrist of
right. Wave right sidewise.

  Fr. _le drapeau_; Ger. _die Flagge_.

=Flat.= See _Prairie_.

=Flesh.= See _Meat_.


=Float.= Flat left hand, back up; place flat right on it, palm down, and
move both to right as on waves. (C) Understood by Cheyennes.

  Fr. _flotter_; Ger. _oben auf schwimmen_, _auf dem Wasser treiben_.


=Flood.= Indicate source of _Water_, then hold up both flat hands, backs
up, side by side, waist high; raise them neck high and sign _Charge_.
Omit _Charge_ unless needed.

  Fr. _l’inondation_; Ger. _die Flut_.

=Flour.= Sign _Bread_ and _Powder_.

  Fr. _la farine_; Ger. _das Mehl_.


=Flower=, =Bloom=, or =Blossom=. Sign _Grass_, but higher; then clasp
right index and thumb over left ditto, others closed; then turn the
hands so the little fingers touch and the thumbs point up. (C)


=Flower.= Sign _Grow_; hold both compressed hands together in front,
pointing up, backs out; spring them out into 5 hands, forming a circle
pointing up.

=Fly= (The insect). Sign _Bird_, _Small_; then point here and there on
the arm anywhere. Sometimes omit _Small_.

  Fr. _la mouche_; Ger. _die Fliege_.

=Fly= (To). With flat hands held near shoulders simulate wings, beating
exactly as in _Bird_, but move the hands forward a foot or more
horizontally. Compare _Bird_.

  Fr. _voler_; Ger. _fliegen_.


=Fog= (Water, peep through). Sign _Water_ and hold the 5 hands, fingers
crossed, in front of the eyes. (C) The Cheyennes understand this, but
prefer the next:

=Fog= (Mud in the sky). Sign _Turtle_, then raise both 5 hands, palms
forward, from the horizon up high; then spread them out. This expresses
“turtles in the sky”; probably because the sky is clouded as is the
water when the turtle moves in it.

  Fr. _le brouillard_; Ger. _der Nebel_.



=Follow= or =Chase=. Left G hand pointing nearly up, moved ahead and
variously pursued six inches behind by right G hand. Sheeaka used his
thumbs for this.

  Fr. _suivre_; Ger. _folgen_, _nachlaufen_.


=Fond=, =Fondness=, =Love=, =Affection=, =Regard=, etc. (Pressed to the
heart). Cross wrists of A hands, backs out, over the heart, right
nearest body, few inches from it; draw both against the body and bend
the head over them. With one hand it is _Like_; with two hands, _Love_.
(Blackfoot.) Compare _Blanket_.

  Fr. _affectueux_; Ger. _zärtlich_, _liebevoll_.

=Food.= See _Eat_.

=Fool, Do you take me for a.= With the right G index, draw down the
lower eyelid a little; as though to say, “Can you see any green there?”

  Fr. _le sot, me croyez vous bête?_ Ger. _der Narr, denken Sie ich
  bin dumm?_

=Foolish.= See _Crazy_.

=Foolish= or =Unwise=. Sign _Crazy_ and _Little of_.

  Fr. _imbécile_; Ger. _närrisch_.

=Football signs.= See page 233.

=Footprints= (Visible walk). Sign for _Walk_ and for _See_ with the
fingers pointed down. This is _Human tracks_; for _Horse tracks_, sign
_Walk_ with the index and thumb of each hand in a three-quarter circle,
other fingers closed, and then add _See_ as here.

  Fr. _les empreintes des pieds_; Ger. _die Fusztapfen_.

=Footrace.= Sign _Walk_ quickly, and _Race_.

  Fr. _la course à pied_; Ger. _der Wettlauf_.


=For= (Giving to). Throw the flat right hand forward and palm down,
slowly toward the object. Compare _Stop_, _Give_, and _Wait_.

=For.= Sometimes use _Belongs_. Hold out the two G hands nearly back up,
a foot apart; swing them together till the G tips are about two inches
apart. (Sheeaka.)


=For.= Lightly close the right as though it held some object, push it
forward and upward, back to right. (Blackfoot.)

  Fr. _pour_; Ger. _für_.

=Forbid.= See _Defend_.


=Forest=, =Timber=, or =Woods=. Hold both forearms upright, with all the
fingers much spread, meaning _Trees_, the right hand nearest the body,
its back against the palm of left; then separate them, drawing right
hand toward the body, moving the left away and upward in a curve. See

  Fr. _la forêt_; Ger. _der Wald_.

=Forever.= See _Always_.

=Forgive.= See _Excuse_.


=Forget= or =Forgot= (Swept from my brain). Touch the forehead with the
right N finger. Shake the head and motion as though to brush away an
imaginary fly from near the nose. (Sheeaka and Pop.) See _Remember not_.

=Forget= or =Forgot=. Clap right hand down on left (for surprise); lay
right G, palm forward, on forehead, and add _Hid_.

  Fr. _oublier_; Ger. _vergessen_.

=Forward= (In space). See _Ahead_.

=Forward= (In time). See _Future_.

=Found it.= Sign _I Saw_, then reach forward and with index and thumb
pick up an imaginary object. Compare _Choose_.


=Found it.= At a distance, hold both hands high above the head, fingers
closed, thumbs pointing toward each other. (Pop.)

  Fr. _je l’ai trouvé_; Ger. _ich habe es gefunden_.

=Found out=, i.e., =You are found out=. Point forefinger at the person.
(Sheeaka.) Or sign _You_, _I_, _Understand_.

  Fr. _démasqué_; Ger. _ertappt_.

=Four-foot.= See _Animal_.

=Fox.= Indicate the size of animal and bushy tail.

  Fr. _le renard_; Ger. _der Fuchs_.


=Free=, =Escape=, =Safe=, =Save=, =Relief=, =Permit=, =Turn loose=
(Unbinding). S hands crossed at wrists. With an effort, break the
imaginary bonds and throw the hands apart, turning palm sides up.
Sometimes add _Go_. See _Pardon_.


=Free=, =Wild=, or =Free of Incumbrance= (Cut loose). Hold flat right
hand in front of breast, fingers forward, back down; move by wrist
action sharply to left a few inches; then jerk back to place two or
three times as though cutting something loose. Compare _Chop_ and _Wild

  Fr. _libre_; Ger. _frei_.


=Freeze over=, =Form ice=. Sign for _Cold_, _Water_, then raise and move
till the flat hands are touching in front, side by side, backs up and at
arm’s length. (C) See _Ice_.

  Fr. _geler_; Ger. _gefrieren_.


=Friend=, =Friendship=, or =Chum= (Brothers growing up together). Hold
right N hand in front of neck, palm forward, pointing up; raise it head
high, slightly advancing it. _Alliance_ is sometimes used, or even

  Fr. _l’ami_; Ger. _der Freund_.


=Frog= (Water hopper). _Water_; then with compressed right hand make
long hops forward.

  Fr. _la grenouille_; Ger. _der Frosch_.


=From.= Touch digit of right G hand to right shoulder, then throw it in
a long sweep up and forward. Sometimes Indians use flat hand for this.

  Fr. _de_; Ger. _von_.

=Frost.= Sign, _Cold_, _White_, and _Strong_.

  Fr. _la gelée_; Ger. _der Frost_.


=Fruit.= Sign _Tree_, then make a ring of right index and thumb, others
closed, and place it here and there in the branches, and add _Eat_.
Compare _Berry_, _Leaf_, and _Money_.

  Fr. _le fruit_; Ger. _die Frucht_.

=Full.= See _Enough_.

=Future= (Time ahead). Make the signs for _Time_ and _Far ahead_. See
also _Will_.

  Fr. _futur_, _l’avenir_; Ger. _zukünftig_, _die Zukunft_.



=Gallop.= Sign _Ride_, then hold out flat hands, palm to palm, right in
advance; work them up and down together, the tips describing vertical
curves. Compare _Fast_ and _Work_.

  Fr. _galoper_; Ger. _galoppieren_.


=Gamble.= Hold the hands out level, six inches apart; swing to left and
right simultaneously, in easy curves down and up, keeping them near each
other as though swinging a tom tom. Compare _Drive_ and _Herd_.

  Fr. _jouer_; Ger. _spielen_.


=Gap=, =Gorge=, or =Mountain Pass=. Sign _Mountains_, then hold out left
L hand, thumb pointing to left and upward, pass flat right between,
touching at bottom.

  Fr. _le défilé_; Ger. _die Kluft_, _die Schlucht_.

=Garden.= Strike down with right G as in _Here_, but in several
directions, then add _Plant_ and _Eat_.

  Fr. _le jardin_; Ger. _der Garten_.

=Gather.= See _Together_.

=Generous.= Sign _Heart_ and _Big_; or, _Heart_, _Pities_.

  Fr. _généreux_; Ger. _groszmütig_, _freigiebig_.

=Gentle.= See _Kind_.

=Gently.= See _Easy_.


=Get= or =Obtain= (That is, he gets, or obtains). Reach out left hand,
back up; then with right hand, grasp something on top of it; then close
and draw back the right. If it is the first person who _gets_, finish by
drawing the hand toward oneself. Sometimes omit left hand.

  Fr. _obtenir_; Ger. _erlangen_, _erhalten_.

=Get well.= See _Recover_.


=Ghost=, =Soul=, or =Spirit.= Bring right G hand in front of centre of
body, pointing down; then draw it upward, as though drawing the
forefinger out of the mouth, upward and to the front and at the same
time exhale a breath. (Scott.) The Cheyennes sign _Big eyes_ (as in
Owl), and shaking the hands at the same time. See _Spirit_.

  Fr. _l’esprit_; Ger. _der Geist_.

=Gift.= Hold left hand, hollow up; with right hand pick an imaginary
object out of the left; carry it forward, at the same time turning right
hand flat, palm up, and fingers pointing down and forward. Or, sign
_Give_ and _Free_ (2nd).

  Fr. _le cadeau_; Ger. _das Geschenk_.

=Girl= (Woman sprout). Sign _Female_, _Young_.

  Fr. _la fille_; Ger. _das Mädchen_.


=Give.= Hold out flat right, back to right, shoulder high; swing it out
and down.

  Fr. _donner_; Ger. _geben_.

=Give you.= Swing the hand from the person giving toward you. This, with
the sign below, shows the beginning of a conjugation.


=Give me.= Bring the flat right hand well out in front of body, about
height of neck, back of hand nearly to left, lower edge nearest to body,
pointing upward; draw the hand in toward the body and a little down; at
the same time, bend the hand and the wrist so the fingers touch the
chest. Compare _Tell me_ and _Half-Breed_.

  Fr. _donnez moi_; Ger. _geben Sie mir_.

=Give it up.= See _Abandon_.

=Give up=, =Lose hope=, or =Discouraged=. See _Sorrow_.

=Glad=, =Pleasant=, =Happy=, or =Merry= (Sunshine in the heart). Sign
_Heart_ and _Day_.

  Fr. _heureux_; Ger. _froh_, _glücklich_.


=Glitter= or =Shining= (The mirror signal). Hold out the L hand with
index pointing forward, back up. Rotate with a flash, or jerk so the
thumb is upright and back to its original pose. Do this once or twice.
See _Courting_ and _Sweetheart_.

  Fr. _étinceler_; Ger. _glitzern_.

=Gloomy=, =Cross=, or =Sullen= (Clouds close). Sign _Clouds_, then draw
them down near head. (C) Or, sign _Thinking_ and _Bad_. Compare _Cross_
and _Angry_.

  Fr. _sombre_; Ger. _finster_, _trübe_.

=Glory= or =Fame=. Sign _All_, _Good_, _Know_. See _Famous_.

  Fr. _la gloire_; Ger. _der Ruhm_.


=Glow=, =Splendor=, =Wonderful= (Spread in the sky). Hold up both 5
hands, palms forward, pointing up, at arm’s length, nearly level; raise
up very high and at the same time spread widely. A much-used and very
plastic sign. May sometimes mean _Weather_.

  Fr. _la splendeur_; Ger. _das Glühen_, _die Pracht_.


=Go=, =Went=, or =Travel=. Hold flat right hand, back to right, breast
high, pointing to front and down; swing it up and out till the fingers
point forward and upward. Often combined with _Arrive there_.

  Fr. _aller_; Ger. _gehen_.


=Going.= Hold up right G, palm forward; move it forward in short pushes.

  Fr. _allant_; Ger. _gehend_.


=Go away=, =Go ahead=, =Go farther= (Imperative). Hold flat right hand
in front of body, palm forward, fingers upright; move the hand to front
in a slight curve to right; repeat once or twice. See _Begin_.

  Fr. _allez!_ Ger. _gehen Sie!_


=Goat.= Sign _Horns_, with the straight G fingers on each side of head,
and _Beard_. Sometimes omit _Horns_, signing only _Beard_.

  Fr. _la chèvre_; Ger. _die Ziege_.

=God= (The Great Mystery). Sign _Medicine_ and _Great_.

  Fr. _Dieu_; Ger. _Gott_.

=Gold.= Sign _Money_ and _Yellow_, or _Hard_ and _Yellow_.

For _Gold coin_ sign, _Chief_, _Money_.

  Fr. _l’or_; Ger. _das Gold_.

=Gone.= See _Absent_.


=Good=, =All right=, =Level=, =Fair=, =Just= (Level with the heart).
Hold the flat extended right hand, back up, level, touching the left
breast; swing the hand briskly out to front and slightly up in a curve.

  Fr. _bon_; Ger. _gut_.

=Good-bye.= Hold right hand flat, palm down, pointing forward
horizontally at height of head and shake the hand up and down by wrist
action. A whiteman’s sign recently adopted by Indians.

  Fr. _adieu_, _au revoir_; Ger. _lebe wohl!_

=Good-morning.= Sign _Day_ and _Good_.

  Fr. _bonjour_; Ger. _guten Morgen_.

=Goose.= Sign _Bird_, moving the wing hands slowly; hold both flat hands
low, side by side, a little apart, backs up; push them down sharply a
few inches, for flat feet. Sometimes also make the _honk_ sound.

  Fr. _l’oie_; Ger. _die Gans_.

=Gorge.= See _Gap_.

=Gossip.= See _Telltale_.

=Grain=, of any kind. Hold both hands hollow together, as in _Bowl_;
shake, then point to the hollow of the left with right G. (Sheeaka.) The
exact kind must be specified. In Cheyenne, _Wheat_ is _Bread_ and _Sow_;
_Oats_ is _Horse_, _Eat_, _Sow_.

  Fr. _le grain_; Ger. _das Getreide_.

=Grandchild.= With the flat right, pat one’s own back where the baby is
carried. Among the Cheyennes, only the grandmother uses this.

=Grand Coup.= See _Count Coup_.

=Grandfather.= Sign _Old_ and _Father_.


=Grandfather= (Father once removed). Sign _Father_, then hold curved
left hand in front of body, palm in; and on outer side make the sign
_Father_ again. For _Great grandfather_, repeat the sign for _Father_
once more. For _Ancestors_, many times. (Crow signs given me by La

  Fr. _le grandpère_; Ger. _der Groszvater_.

=Grandmother.= As above, but use _Mother_ sign. (LaF.)

=Grandmother.= Sign _Old_, _Mother_.

  Fr. _la grand-mère_; Ger. _die Groszmutter_.

=Grasp.= See _Keep_.


=Grass.= Hold both hands low, palms up; turn all fingers upward straight
and swing hands slightly apart. For _Grass growing_, raise the hands a
little. Compare _Children_.

  Fr. _l’herbe_, _le gazon_; Ger. _das Gras_, _der Rasen_.

=Gratitude.= Use _Thank you_ sign. Or else raise the flat right hand,
palm forward and face high; draw it downward in a sweep several times as
though stroking the other person’s breast. For emphasis use both hands.

  Fr. _la reconnaissance_; Ger. _die Dankbarkeit_.

=Grave.= Hold out both flat hands, thumbs up, six inches apart, pointing
level forward; draw them back level to you, sign _Die_; then hold out
left flat hand as before and slap on it two or three times with the flat
right, for _cover up_.

  Fr. _le tombeau_; Ger. _das Grab_.


=Great.= Hold out the slightly curved 5 hands in front of breast, few
inches apart, palms toward each other, pointing to front; separate hands
the right to the right and up a little and near the body; the left to
the left and down a little and farther away. Compare _Big_ and _Wide_.
Sometimes use _Much_ or _High_.

  Fr. _grand_; Ger. _grosz_.

=Greater than.= Sign _Ahead_, _Great_. So also _Less than_ would be
_Behind_, _Small_.

  Fr. _plus grand que_; Ger. _gröszer als_.

=Grief.= See _Sorrow_.

=Grieve.= Sign _Heart_, _Down_. See _Give up_ and _Mourn_.

  Fr. _se chagriner_, _pleurer_; Ger. _trauern_.

=Ground.= See _Land_.


=Grouse= or =Prairie Chicken=. Sign _Bird_ and show size; then with
right hand low, palm up, fingers closed except first curved up like
neck, imitate forward walking. (Sioux.) Sign _Bird_ then indicate fast
wing beats and whirring. (Blackfoot.) Sign _Bird_ and _Tail cut off_.

  Fr. _la gelinotte_; Ger. _das Waldhuhn_.


=Grow=, =Become=, or =Turn into=. Hold right G hand low, back down,
index finger pointing upward, in front of body; raise the hand by gentle

  Fr. _pousser_, _croître_, _devenir_; Ger. _wachsen_, _werden_.

=Guide= (Verb). (Show trail and Lead.) Point with right index forward
and downward; then add _Lead_. (Sheeaka.)

  Fr. _conduire_; Ger. _führen_, _leiten_.


=Guide= (Noun). Hold up left 5 hand, little finger forward, and ahead of
the right G, all moved forward in easy swings.

  Fr. _le guide_; Ger. _der Führer_.

=Gun.= Make the motion of holding and aiming a gun; then add _Fire-off_.
For _Rifle_, add the working of the lever.

  Fr. _le fusil_, _la carabine_; Ger. _das Gewehr_.

=Gun=, i.e., _Shot-gun_, sign _Gun_, then clasp the hands twice and hold
up two fingers. See _Revolver_.

  Fr. _le fusil de chasse_; Ger. _die Flinte_.

=Gun-fire.= See _Fire_.

=Gun-powder.= Sign _Gun_ and _Powder_.

  Fr. _la poudre à canon_; Ger. _das Schiesspulver_.


=Habit= (Thought bound). With G forefinger draw a small circle on
forehead, then sign _Prisoner_. (D)


=Habit= (Road smoothed by repeated strokes). Sweep the flat hands, palms
down, back and forth; then strike three times down with the right G.
(Sheeaka.) Or sign _Way_ and _Keep_. (Seger.)

=Habit= (Long time the same). Hold out left G, draw right G back from
left knuckles to shoulder; add _Same_.

  Fr. _l’habitude_; Ger. _die Gewohnheit_.

=Hail.= Sign _Rain_, _Cold_, and with curved right index on thumb
indicate size of stones.

  Fr. _la grêle_; Ger. _der Hagel_.


=Hair= (Of animal). Hold out left forearm horizontally in front of body
and sweep the curved right 5 hand, palm up, along it from elbow to
wrist. For _Human hair_, touch one’s own hair. Compare _Wing_.

  Fr. _le poil_; Ger. _der Pelz_.


=Half.= Hold left flat hand in front of breast, back out. Lay the lower
edge of right flat hand on upper edge of left index, in middle, and jerk
it toward the tips of left. Sometimes the right hand alone is used edge
downward, drawn back and down as though its under side were cutting
something. Compare _Part_.

  Fr. _le demi_, _la moitié_; Ger. _die Hälfte_.


=Half-breed.= With flat right hand pointing up, little finger next
middle of the breast, palm to right, halve the body down breast, swing
it far to left, return to centre, then swing far to right and give the
tribal sign for each half. Or, give the first sign only; that is, the
hand cutting in the middle.

  Fr. _le métis_; Ger. _der Mischling_.


=Halt= or =Stop=. Hold the right flat hand, palm outward and downward,
in front of the body, pointing upward and to front, hand about height of
shoulders; move the hand sharply to front and downward, stopping it
suddenly. Sometimes merely raise the hand flat forward.

This means also _Keep quiet_, _Wait a moment_, etc., when made gently.
“This sign is world wide. In a journey around the world, I have used it
in every country visited and found it instantly recognized. I saw a
train stopped by it in the Himalayas, also jinrikishas stopped in Java,
Singapore, Saigon, Canton, Hong Kong, Nagasaki, and Manila.” (Scott.)

  Fr. _Halte!_ Ger. _Halt!_

=Halve.= Same as _Half_; but jerk one part to right and one to left. (C)

  Fr. _couper ou diviser en deux_; Ger. _halbieren_.

For _One-Quarter_, lay the “knife hand” at last joint of left index; for
_Three-Quarters_, near base; see also _Quarter_.

  Fr. _le quart_; Ger. _das Viertel_.

=Handsome.= See _Beautiful_.


=Hang= (To be executed). Swing the right L hand over the head down to
the neck, palm in; close the thumb and index, then draw it up to height
of head, index pointing down. This is done in two graceful sweeps.

  Fr. _pendre_; Ger. _hängen_.


=Hang.= Hang right G index like a hook on straight left G index.

  Fr. _accrocher_; Ger. _aufhängen_.

=Hanker.= See _Want_.

=Happen.= See _Luck_.

=Happy.= See _Glad_.

=Happy Hunting Ground.= Sign _Die_, _Beyond_, and _Dwell_.

  Fr. _les Champs Elysées des Indiens_; Ger. _die seligen Jagdgefilde_.


=Hard= (Like rock). Hold out the left hand flat, edge down, and strike
the palm with the knuckles of the right two or three times.

  Fr. _dur_; Ger. _hart_.


=Hat= (Head cover). Bring the L right hand, back outward, in front,
close to, and a little above the head; lower the hand until thumb and
index are about opposite the eyes; spread thumb and index, passing down
close to forehead.

  Fr. _le chapeau_; Ger. _der Hut_.

=Hatchet.= See _Axe_.


=Hate.= Hold up both hands opposite left side of face in pose for
_Fire-off_, back of each to its side; spring both out as in _Fire-off_,
to left side, turning the left very little, so that it shoots forward;
the right shoots to the left. Compare _Abandon_ and _Scorn_; also
_Defiance_. Sheeaka used only _Defiance_ sign.

  Fr. _détester_; Ger. _hassen_.

=Have= (To possess). See _Possession_.

=Have= to, =Bound= to, =Must=, =Obliged= to, =Compelled= to (Bound
down). Sign _Prisoner_ and _Work_. Or, _That_, _Work_, _Strong_.

  Fr. _être obligé_; Ger. _müssen_.

=Hawk.= First make _Bird_ sign, then imitate the seizing of the prey
with both feet hawk-fashion, by means of both hands placed in front of
body opposite neck, palms outward, make grasping motion forward.
(Scott.) Or sign _Bird_ and with curved G indicate bill. See _Eagle_.

  Fr. _le faucon_; Ger. _der Habicht_.


=He.= Make the sign _Male_; or point with the thumb, other fingers

  Fr. _il_; Ger. _er_.

=Headache.= Touch head; then hold curved flat hand near and flirt the
fingers from behind the thumb two or three times to show the throbbing.

  Fr. _le mal de tête_; Ger. _das Kopfweh_.

=Healthy.= See _Well_.


=Heap= or =Very Much=. With curved hands show shape, beginning at the
lowest points. Compare _Many_, _Mound_, and _Much_.

  Fr. _l’amas_, _le tas_; Ger. _der Haufe(n)_.


=Hear.= Move the right G hand (pointed forward) from behind the right
ear, past the ear and forward. Compare _Listen_ and _Indian Nez Percé_.

  Fr. _entendre_; Ger. _hören_.


=Heart.= Bring the compressed right hand against the left breast, over
heart and pointing downward.

  Fr. _le coeur_; Ger. _das Herz_.

=Heat.= See _Hot_.

=Heaven.= Simply point up with right G, back to right and head high.
Compare _Heavens_ and _Happy Hunting Ground_; also, _Tall_.

  Fr. _le paradis_; Ger. _der Himmel_, _das Paradies_.


=Heavens=, =Skies=, or =Sky=. Hold both flat hands palms down, tips
touching, over and in front of the head; sweep them down sidewise in
outline of the dome. Compare _Clouds_, _Carriage_, _Hot Weather_.

  Fr. _le ciel_; Ger. _der Himmel_.


=Heavy= (Cannot hold up). Hold flat hands, a few inches apart, at same
level, backs down, in front of body and pointing to front. Raise them
slightly and let them drop several inches, finishing low. Compare

  Fr. _lourd_; Ger. _schwer_.


=Help.= Hold left forearm horizontally in front of body, hand A, and
place flat right hand under left forearm and lift it slightly. (Sheeaka;
borrowed from the Deaf.) Or, sign _Work_ and _With_.

  Fr. _aider_; Ger. _helfen_.

=Her.= See _Possession_.


=Herd of Animals.= Hold out left 5 fingers a little curved, level, far
advanced, shoulder high, backs up and out; moved forward and a little
down together. For _Herd grazing_ hold right 5 over left 5 wrist; draw
right back toward body in a slight arc up and down.

  Fr. _le troupeau_; Ger. _die Herde_.

=Herd= (Verb). See _Drive_.


=Here= (This spot). Swing the right G, back up, from pointing up, to
forward and down; then stab toward the ground two or three times.
Compare _Down_, _Earth_, _Place_.

  Fr. _ici_; Ger. _hier_.

=He who.= See _Doer_.


=Hide=, =To Cache=, =Conceal=, or =Lose=. Swing the flat or else
compressed right hand, palm down, under the flat left hand held in
front, palm down; the left hand rests on the right at end of sign.
(Sheeaka.) Sometimes add _Hush_. Compare _Enter_ and _Night_.

  Fr. _cacher_; Ger. _verstecken_.

=Hide= (Skin). Hold extended left hand, back up, in front of body, and
with the right thumb and forefinger gather up, with a pinch, the loose
skin on the back of left hand. Sometimes sign _Robe_.

  Fr. _la peau_; Ger. _das Fell_.


=High= or =Height=. Hold the flat right hand, back nearly up, pointing
to front, in front of right shoulder; raise the hand according to the
height intended. If it refers to humans, hold the right hand (compressed
or G) vertically pointing upward. (C) To show height of small objects or
animals, hold the flat left, palm up, under right. See _Tall_.

  Fr. _haut_; Ger. _hoch_.

=Higher.= See _Superior_.


=Hill=, =Bluff=, or =Butte=. Push right A fist, back out, straight up,
face high. For plural use both hands moved alternately up and down at
different places. Compare _Ridge_, _Lump_, and _Mountain_.

  Fr. _la colline_; Ger. _der Hügel_.

=His.= See _Possession_.

=History= or =Story= (Pictures of the past). Hold up flat left, palm
forward, and sketch on palm with right G; then sign _Past_. (C) Or, Sign
_Long_, _Past_, _Tell me_.

  Fr. _l’histoire_; Ger. _die Geschichte_.

=Hit= (To make a hit). See _Count Coup_.

=Hoax= (To wolf or beguile). Sign _I_, _Make_, _Him_, _Wolf_. (Seger.)

  Fr. _mystifier_; Ger. _jemandem etwas aufbinden_.


=Hog= or =Pig=. Indicate size, then with a circle of two thumbs and two
index fingers in front of mouth show muzzle; last, with flat right hand,
or flat fist back up, make a snout and root. Usually give only the last

  Fr. _le cochon_; Ger. _das Schwein_.


=Hold= (to hold a prisoner). Arms in a level circle, flat right hand
inside flat left and overlapping, both palms toward you; swing to right
and left. Compare _Defend_, _Keep_, and _Corral_.

  Fr. _tenir prisonnier_; Ger. _gefangen halten_.


=Hole.= Form a circle with thumbs and fingers of L hands. If need be,
for clearness, hold left hand in position and pass the compressed right
through the imaginary hole. Compare _Cook_ and _Boil_.

  Fr. _le trou_; Ger. _das Loch_.

=Holler.= See _Yell_.

=Home.= Sign _My_, _Teepee_.

  Fr. _la demeure_, _le foyer_, _le chez-soi_; Ger. _das Heim_.

=Home-sickness.= Sign _Heart_, _Want_, and _Teepee_.

  Fr. _le mal du pays_; Ger. _das Heimweh_.


=Honest= (Straight walk). Point right G straight forward from near
throat; push it down and up in a slight curve till it is upright, then
push it forward in two or three little jerks. See also _True_.

  Fr. _honnête_, _intègre_; Ger. _ehrlich_.

=Honor= (Upon my honor). With right index draw a small cross on the
heart. (Pop.)

  Fr. _parole d’ honneur!_ Ger. _auf Ehre!_ _bei meiner Ehre!_

=Hope.= Sign _Heart_, _Want_.

  Fr. _l’espoir_; Ger. _die Hoffnung_.


=Horse.= Hold the flat left hand, back to front, before face, fingers
level; move it to right; and then, for a moment, place the first and
second fingers of right astride it, as in _Ride_. Some omit the last
gesture. The movements of the hand indicate the height, action, and
speed of the horse.

  Fr. _le cheval_; Ger. _das Pferd_.


=Horseman.= Sign _Man_ and _Ride_. Or, place the V right astride of the
flat left and push both to right.

  Fr. _le cavalier_; Ger. _der Reiter_.

=Hot= or =Heat= (As water or iron). Hold the hand as in _Feel_; touch
the middle right finger tip to tongue; reach it forward and down, as
though touching a hot iron, quickly jerking it back. (A northern sign
understood by Cheyennes.) The use of the middle finger is general, no
doubt because it is longest.

  Fr. _chaud_; Ger. _heisz_.


=Hot weather= (Rays of sun beating down). Hold the 5 hands a few inches
apart, backs up, above and in front of head, pointing toward each other.
Lower the hands to level of face.

  Fr. _les grandes chaleurs_; Ger. _das heisze Wetter_.


=Hot= or =Sweating= (Personally). Draw right index crooked across the
brow, left to right, as though to run off the sweat, others and thumb

=Hotel.= See _Restaurant_.

=Hour.= See _Time_.


=House.= Indicate the double slope of the roof by flat hands, pointing
nearly up and joined together at the tips. Some use only the next sign
for _House_.

  Fr. _la maison_; Ger. _das Haus_.


=House of logs= (Corners of a log house). Bring the hands in front of
body and interlock the fingers near tips, fingers at nearly right angles
and horizontal. Some add _Roof_ by joining tips of flat hands as in
_House_. Compare _Basket_.

  Fr. _la cabane en bois_, _la hutte_; Ger. _das Blockhaus_.


=How!= or =Ho!= The Indian salutation is sometimes used with hand
salute; that is, all fingers closed except index and middle, as in

  Fr. _Ho!_ Ger. _Grüsz Gott!_

=How?= See _Question_.

=How many?= See _Question_.

=How much?= See _Question_.


=Hundred= (Whole circle of tens). Hold up both 5 hands, palms forward,
opposite right shoulder; thumbs nearly touching; swing to left and down.
Precede this with _one_ for _one hundred_, _two_ for _two hundred_, etc.

  Fr. _cent_; Ger. _hundert_.


=Hungry= or =Hunger= (Cuts one in two). Draw the lower edge of flat
right hand, back down, across the stomach; emphasize by drawing back and

  Fr. _avoir faim_, _la faim_; Ger. _hungrig sein_, _der Hunger_.


=Hunt or Searching for= (In the sense of seeking for). The fingers of
the right V hand brought near the eye, but pointing forward; then swing
horizontally from side to side, the eye looking wherever they point.
Compare _Choose_, _Find_, and _Look_. Or, shade the right eye with the
right hand and swing the head. (Pop.)

  Fr. _chercher_; Ger. _suchen_.


=Hunting= (With gun or bow). Hold out both G hands, one behind the
other; swing in up-curves forward and sidewise, but always one behind
the other.

  Fr. _chasser_; Ger. _jagen_.

=Hurry=, to _Come_ or to _Go quickly_. Make the sign for _Come_ (or
_Go_) three or four times, very quickly and emphatically. (Sheeaka.)


=Hurry= (Ride fast). Jump the flat hands up and down before you,
quickly, palms up. Compare _Light_, which is similar, but slower.

  Fr. _se dépêcher_; Ger. _eilen_.

=Husband.= Make sign _Male_ and _Marry_.

  Fr. _le mari_; Ger. _der Mann_; _der Gatte_.

=Hush.= See _Silence_ and _Halt_.

=Hypocrite.= Sign _Wolf_ and _Like_. Or _Face_ and _Two_. According to
Ruggles, the Paiutes sometimes use this second combination for _Liar_;
the Cheyennes understand it but do not use it.

  Fr. _le hypocrite_; Ger. _der Heuchler_.



=I=, =Me=, =Myself=, =Mine=. For _I_ touch the centre of the breast with
the right thumb extended, other fingers closed. This and the next are
used indiscriminately by the Cheyennes.

  _Me_ is touching the breast with point of compressed fingers.

  _My._ Lay the A hand on the forehead, palm to left, thumb pointing up;
  swing it forward and down level; that is, sign _Possession_, assuming
  the first person.

    Fr. _je_, _moi_, _mien_; Ger. _Ich_, _mich_, _mein_.

=Ice.= Sign _Water_ and _Hard_. Sometimes add _Cold_.

  Fr. _la glace_; Ger. _das Eis_.

=Icicle.= Sign _Water_ and _Cold_; then hold up right G, pointing
downward and dropped a little.

  Fr. _le glaçon_; Ger. _der Eiszapfen_.


=Idea=, =Thought= (Thought expressed). Lay the right G on the forehead,
pointing up, palm to left; swing it down to horizontal at mouth level,
then push it straight forward and up in a curve. Compare _So_.

  Fr. _l’idée_; _la pensée_; Ger. _die Idee_, _der Gedanke_.

=Idle.= Sign _Work_ and _Not_.

  Fr. _paresseux_; Ger. _müszig_.


=If=, =Doubt=, =Undecided=, =Perhaps=, or =Maybe so= (Heart looking two
ways). Lay the right V hand on the heart, pointed down and to left
front; rotate the hand on the wrist so the back is alternately up and
out. When many emotions (i.e., _perplexity_) are to be expressed, use
all fingers extended. See _Consider_.

  Fr. _si_, _peut-être_; Ger. _wenn_, _ob_, _vielleicht_.

=Ignorance= (I don’t know). Shrug shoulders and raise one flat hand.
(Pop.) Or, sign _Know_, _Not_. Compare _Forget_.

  Fr. _l’ignorance_; Ger. _die Unwissenheit_.

=Imperative Mood.= Sign the verb in question, then strike the flat
right, palm down, onto the flat left, palm up. Or add _Push_. (C)

=Impossible.= Sign _Can_ and _Not_. See also _Cannot_. The Cheyennes use
_True_, _Not_.

  Fr. _impossible_; Ger. _unmöglich_.

=Imprison.= See _Arrest_.


=In=, =Inside=, or =Within= (To put into). Make a semicircle of the left
arm held out level; then drop the compressed right hand downward between
the left and the body. _Outside_ begins the same, but the right drops
outside the left.


=Inside=, i.e., =in a Hole=. Make a horizontal ring of the left index
and thumb, then drop the right index down into it. For a house, use

  Fr. _en_, _dedans_, _dans_; Ger. _in_, _drin_, _im Innern_.

=Incite.= Sign _Push_, _Talk_, and _Go_; that is, try to talk into

  Fr. _inciter_; Ger. _anreizen_.

=Increase.= Hold out the flat hands, palm to palm, well apart at same
height; separate them more and more in slight jerks; or, if it is more
explicit, do it with the flat hands one above the other. See _Add to_.
Compare _Decrease_.

  Fr. _augmenter_; Ger. _vermehren_, _vergröszern_.


=Indian.= With the tips of right flat fingers, rub the side of the flat
left held out back up, in short strokes; meaning reddish, because all
men’s hands out west are red at this place. Compare _Smooth_.


=Indian.= Indicate the eagle feather at back of head. (Sheeaka.) Or sign
_Man_ and _Red_. (Scott.)

  Fr. _l’Indien_; Ger. _der Indianer_.

=Indian Tribe= or =Nation=. Give the _Tribal_ sign and add _All_ in each

=Indian= Tribal signs:


  =Apache.= (Probably using the notched-stick fiddle). Draw the right G
  finger _up and down_ along the left G several times, from near the
  point to the base, a foot long each stroke. Compare _Poor_.

  =Arapahoe.= With all fingers of right hand compressed so the points
  are together, tap the left breast, that is, sign _Mother_. As Sherman
  Coolidge tells me, the Arapahoes claim theirs to have been the mother
  of all tribes. In the south, the sign is rub the side of the nose with
  the right G, referring to their one-time salutation of nose-rubbing.

  =Banak.= Sign for _Lodge_ and _Bad_. (C)

  =Blackfeet.= Sign for _Moccasin_ and _Black_.

  =Caddo.= Draw the right N over the left N from the tips back to the
  knuckles (because they wore pants). (Father Isadore.)


  =Cheyennes.= (Perhaps meaning “striped tail,” because they used turkey
  feathers; or, more likely, “finger-choppers,” because they chopped
  their fingers when in mourning.) Hold out left G finger and cut it
  with the edge of the right G finger drawn across it once or twice,
  each time further up the hand. Compare _Often_ and _And all the time_.

  =Chippewa.= See _Ojibwa_.

  =Comanche.= Sign for _Snake_, pushing the hand forward. Compare
  _Shoshoni_. (Seger.)

  =Cree.= Sign _Rabbit_, _People_; but usually omit _People_.

  =Crow.= Sign _Bird_ slowly. Sometimes only one hand. Or hold S hand,
  palm forward, at brow for “Pompadour Indians.”

  =Dakota.= See _Sioux_.

  =Flathead.= See _Koutenais_.

  =Gros Ventre.= Sign _Big Belly_.

  =Hopi.= Sign _Dance_ and _Snake_.

  =Kiowa.= With the tips of the flat right, palm up, back to left,
  describe an upright ellipse near the right ear; because they used to
  cut their hair on that side to show the ear ornaments or ear painted

  =Koutenai.= Sign for _White-tailed Deer_. (C)

  =Mandan= (Tattooed chin and cheek). With right hand compressed so all
  tips touch, tap the chin and jaw. (C)

  =Navaho= (Makers of striped blankets). Sign for _Work_, _Blanket_, and

  =Nez Percé= (Pierced nose). Pass index of right G hand level under
  nose from right to left. Compare _Hear_.

  =Ojibwa= or =Chippewa= (Living in the Woods). Sign _Tree_ and
  _People_; or sign _Paddle_, _People_. (Blackfoot.)

  =Osage= (Shaved heads). Rub the flat right hand, palm out, over the
  side of the head and down, as though shaving the head; the little
  finger being the sharp edge.

  =Paiute.= Sign _Rabbit_, _Robe_.

  =Pawnee= (Wolf). Hold up the right V hand, palm forward, near right
  ear; then swing finger-tips forward.

  =Piegan.= Rotate half closed hand, palm in, near right cheek.

  =Pueblo.= Sign _Two Quivers_; that is, _Arrow_, _Two_; then drop
  compressed left once or twice into C right hand.

  =Sac= (Shaved heads). Same as _Osage_ sign.

  =Shoshoni= or =Snake Indians=. Sign for _Snake_ and sometimes add
  _Bad_, _Lodge_.

  =Sioux= (Cut throats). Draw the right G finger across the throat.

  =Uncapapa= (From their position in camp). Sign for _Sioux_ and
  _Encamp_, then make an incomplete circle with index fingers and
  thumbs; then, holding left in pose, strike last joint of index with
  tip of right G and similarly right index with tip of left G. (C)

  =Ute.= Sign _Black_ and _Red_.

  =Wichita= (Tattooed rings). With right G finger tap the forehead in a

  =Yankton.= Sign for _Sioux_ and _Nez Percé_. (C)

=Indian Agent.= See _Agent_.

=Indifference= (_None of my business_). Both hands held down by the
thighs; at the same time a shrug of the shoulders. (Pop.)

  Fr. _l’indifférence_; Ger. _die Gleichgültigkeit_.

=Infantry.= Sign _Soldiers_ and _Walk_.

  Fr. _l’infanterie_; Ger. _die Fusztruppen_, _die Infanterie_.


=Inferior= (To one). Hold up both G fingers, the one representing the
inferior much lower.


=Inferior= (To many). For several inferiors use the 5 hand to represent
them, while the G of the other hand up high represents the superior.

  Fr. _inférieur_; Ger. _untergeordnet_.

=Inhabit.= See _Dwell_.

=Injure=, =Doing evil to=. If with reference to another person, make
sign for _Work_ and _Bad_. If with reference to one’s self, make signs
_Do_, _to me_, _Bad_.

  Fr. _faire du mal_; Ger. _beschädigen_.

=Innocent.= See _Clean-handed_.

=In order that.= See _So that_.

=Inside.= See _In_.

=Interrogate.= See _Question_ or _Query_.

=Intervene.= See _Come between_.

=Invalid.= See _Sick one_.

=Investigating.= See _Searching_; also _Consider_.

=Iron.= See _Metal_.


=Island= (Round thing surrounded by water). Sign _Land_, then with L
hands make a horizontal circle; hold left hand in pose, sign _Water_
with right hand; then compress it and draw it point down around the
circle just made. Compare _Lake_.

  Fr. _l’île_; Ger. _die Insel_.

=Itching.= Scratch the left palm with nail of the right G index; or else
the thigh.

  Fr. _la démangeaison_; Ger. _das Jucken_.



=Jealous= (Elbowing aside). Hold the fists near the breast; alternately
swing each elbow out and back a little. (C)


=Jealous= (Hide and stab). Hold out flat left, back up, and with right G
stab under it once or twice.

  Fr. _jaloux_; Ger. _eifersüchtig_.


=Jesus= (The Cross above). The right G finger upright and crossed on top
with the left G; this cross then placed above the eyes, the face looking
upward; then the cross pushed toward the sky to the full extent of the
arms. The real meaning being, “He who was crucified and is now in
heaven.” (Scott.) Or sign _Big_, _Medicine_, _Child_.

  Fr. _Jésus_; Ger. _Jesus_.


=Joke= (Play talk). Sign _Play_; that is, hold the right 5 hand near the
mouth, back down, fingers a little curved; swing the hand forward and
upward; then add _Talk_.

  Fr. _la plaisanterie_; Ger. _der Scherz_.

=Joyous.= Sign _Heart_, _Glad_, and _Sing_. (C) Sign _Heart_, _Happy_,
or _Playing_.

  Fr. _joyeux_; Ger. _fröhlich_.

=Judge.= See _Consider_.

=Jump= (Human). Stand right V on left palm; assume these to be legs and
make them jump up and down. (Sheeaka.)


=Jump= or =Spring= (Anything). Hold compressed right hand, pointing to
left, near right shoulder; swing it up forward and down in a long curve.
Also used for _Animal_, in which case use several short jumps.

  Fr. _sauter_; Ger. _springen_.

=Junior.= See _Younger_; also _Inferior_.

=Just= or =Fair=. From a position near each side, bring the extended O
hands, palms inward, together so the tips of right thumb and index touch
tips of left thumb and index, like two balance pans side by side. (D)
Or, sign _True_ and _Same_, or _Good_.

  Fr. _juste_; Ger. _gerecht_.

=Just so.= Make the sign _Yes_ once or twice; or else, use _True_.

  Fr. _justement_, _précisément cela_; Ger. _genau so_, _ganz richtig_.



=Keep=, =Grasp=, or =Remember=. Hold out flat right hand, back to right,
fingers level; hold up left G hand, back to left; swing them together;
grasp left index in closed right hand and move the hands slightly to
right and left. Compare _Hold_ and _Remember_.

  Fr. _tenir_, _retenir_; Ger. _halten_, _behalten_.

=Keep close.= Sign _Good_ and _Near_. (C)

=Keep quiet.= Sign _Stop_ and _Sit down_, or simply _Stop_. See _Hush_.

  Fr. _taisez vous_, _tenez vous tranquille!_ Ger. _ruhig sein!_


=Kettle.= Indicate the shape of the mouth with both L hands; then,
holding left unchanged, pass the right G into it; then, with right, lift
as if by a handle. Some omit the “handle.” Compare _Basket_ and _Cook_.

  Fr. _le chaudron_, _la chaudière_; Ger. _der Kessel_.

=Kidney.= Hold up the two compressed hands, then swing them back against
the kidneys.

  Fr. _le rein_, (_d’animal_) _le rognon_; Ger. _die Niere_.


=Kill=, =Overcome=, =Win=, or =Be victor= (Striking with a club). Hold
the right A hand, back nearly up, in front of shoulder, back of hand
making a slight angle with wrist; strike to the front, downward and
little to left, stopping hand suddenly and giving it slight rebound.
For _Kill me_ or _Beat me_, make the sign toward one’s self.

  Fr. _tuer_, _vaincre_; Ger. _tot schlagen_, _siegen_.

=Kin=, =Kinsman=, or =Kinship=. Sign _Brother_ and _Distant_ or _Near_,
as the case may be.

  Fr. _le parent_; Ger. _der Verwandte_.

=Kind= or =Gentle=. Sign _Heart_ and _Good_.

  Fr. _aimable_; Ger. _freundlich_, _sanft_.

=King’s X.= See _Fins_.


=Knife= (Penknife or Jack-knife). (Whittling a stick.) With right A hand
make motion of whittling the index finger of the left G hand. (Blackfoot
and Pop.) The Cheyennes sign _Cut_ and _Bend_.

  Fr. _le canif_, _le couteau_; Ger. _das Messer_, _das Taschenmesser_.

=Knife= or =Dagger=. Thumb up straight, rest of fingers closed, hand at
side. (Pop.) Compare _He_, _Turn down_, and _Opossum_.

=Knife.= Hold left hand near mouth, then with lower edge of flat right
make as though cutting off a piece of meat held between the left hand
and the teeth. Understood but not used by Cheyennes. They indicate
length with right G on flat left back and add _Cut_.

  Fr. _le couteau_, _le poignard_; Ger. _das Messer_, _der Dolch_.

=Know= or =Be acquainted with=. Sign _Know_, as below.

  Fr. _connaître_; Ger. _kennen_.


=Know= or =Understand= (See, it is in my heart). Lay the right L hand,
back up, on heart; swing it out, up in a slight curve, and down a
little, palm up.

  Fr. _comprendre_, _savoir_; Ger. _wissen_, _verstehen_.

=Know, I don’t.= Shrug the shoulders and shake the head and raise the
right hand open, palm up, to level of shoulder, inclining the head to
the side. (Pop.) Compare _Don’t care_.

=Know=, =I know what I’m doing= (Perhaps “I smell a rat” is the verbal
form of the sign). Lay the right index on right side of nose. (Pop.)

  Fr. _je ne suis pas aveugle_; Ger. _ich weiss was ich mache_.

=Knowledge= or =Intelligence=. Tap the forehead and add _Big_. Compare

  Fr. _le savoir_, _l’intelligence_; Ger. _die Kenntnis_, _das Wissen_.


=Labor.= See _Work_.


=Lake.= Sign _Water_ and with both L hands make an incomplete horizontal
circle, then bring wrists together and swing finger tips apart. The last
gesture is to suggest _Wide_. Compare _Island_.

  Fr. _le lac_; Ger. _der See_.


=Lame= (Bobbing of horse’s head). Right A hand out in front, _back up_,
moved forward a little and at the same time jerked down by wrist action
and to left; repeat. Compare _Old_ and _Kill_.

  Fr. _boiteux_; Ger. _lahm_.


=Land=, =Country=, =Ground=, or =Earth= (Flat and extended). Pat toward
ground with one or both flat hands; then swing them apart, flat, palms
down, on a broad upward sweep left and right.

  Fr. _la campagne_, _la terre_; Ger. _das Land_, _die Erde_.

=Lantern.= Sign _Enclosure_, but make it perpendicular; then in the same
space sign _Fire_ twice.

  Fr. _la lanterne_; Ger. _die Laterne_.

=Large.= See _Big_ and _High_.

=Lasso.= Sign _Rope_, then hold right L hand over right shoulder, back
nearly to right, index pointing up; throw it forward, upward, and down,
close index and thumb and jerk the hand back. Often omit _Rope_.

  Fr. _le lasso_; Ger. _die Wurfschlinge_.


=Last.= Hold up the left 5 hand, thumb nearest you; push it straight
away, then tap the thumb with the G of the other hand. (Sheeaka.)

=Last= (One, After). Hold up 5 left hand and, away behind it, the G
right. (Blackfoot.) Compare _First_ and _Guide_.

  Fr. _le dernier_; Ger. _der Letzte_.

=Last year.= Sign _Winter_, _Beyond_.

  Fr. _l’année passée_; Ger. _voriges Jahr_.

=Late.= See _After_.

=Laugh.= Hold both curved 5 hands, palms up, near the sides, a foot
apart; then shake them up and down. Compare _Play_.

  Fr. _rire_; Ger. _lachen_.

=Law= (Written road). Sign _Write_, then _Across_ two or three times.
Compare _Council_ (No. 2.)

  Fr. _la loi_; Ger. _das Gesetz_.

=Lawyer.= _Whiteman_, _Law_, and _Know_.

  Fr. _l’avocat_; Ger. _der Advokat_.


=Lazy= or =Tired=. Shake the head, throw it back, then drop both nearly
open, hands limply, one held out at each side motionless. Compare _Weak_
and _Tired_.

  Fr. _paresseux_, _fatigué_; Ger. _faul_, _träge_, _müde_.


=Lead.= With right hand fingers grasp the flat left hand and drag it
forward. (Sheeaka; borrowed from the Deaf.) Sometimes used also for

=Lead.= Hold right A hand high in front of right shoulder, back to
right; move it forward by gentle jerks, as though leading a pony. See

  Fr. _conduire_; Ger. _führen_.


=Leaf.= Sign _Tree_, then shake right hand shoulder high, with thumb and
index pointed nearly up, forming an incomplete circle, others closed.
Compare _Money_ and _Fruit_.

  Fr. _la feuille_; Ger. _das Blatt_.

=Learn.= Sign _Book_, then follow the lines with the right G finger and
last draw it to _Me_. Or sign _Book_, _Look_, _Know_, making the last
sign once or twice toward the _Book_. See _Lesson_.

  Fr. _apprendre_; Ger. _lernen_.

=Leggings.= Draw the L hands, backs out, one on each leg from well down
to near hips.

  Fr. _les grandes guêtres_; Ger. _die ledernen Gamaschen_.

=Lend=, =Loan=, or =Borrow=. Sign _Give you_ (or me) and _By and By_,
_Give me_ (or you). Or, _Give_, _Little while_.

  Fr. _prêter_, _emprunter_; Ger. _leihen_, _borgen_.


=Less= (Compressed). Hold the open flat hands a foot or two apart, palm
to palm, one above the other. Hold the lower hand stationary and then
draw the upper in jerks down toward the lower. See _Decrease_.

  Fr. _moins_; Ger. _weniger_.

=Let it alone.= See _Abandon_.

=Letter= (Sticking on the stamp). Indicate size of letter, then close
right hand, thumb extended; wet thumb end on lips and press on open left

  Fr. _la lettre_; Ger. _der Brief_.

=Level=, =All right=. See _Good_, also _Prairie_.

=Liar.= Make sign for _Lie_; then indicate the person. To add the
intensive _Very much_ makes it equivalent to the strong and unprintable
English expression that is used in extreme cases.

  Fr. _le menteur_; Ger. _der Lügner_.

=Liberal.= See _Generous_.

=Liberate.= Sign _Prisoner_, throw the hands up and apart, then add
_Go_. (C) See _Pardon_.

  Fr. _délivrer_; Ger. _befreien_.


=Lie= or =False= (Two tongues or forked tongue). Hold the right V hand,
back out, a little in front and to the right of mouth, and pointing to
left; move the hand to left, past mouth, and downward.

  Fr. _le mensonge_; Ger. _die Lüge_.

=Life.= See _Alive_.

=Light= (Not dark). See _Day_.

=Light= (Not heavy). Hold out both flat hands, palms up; raise briskly
together in one or two jerks. Compare _Heavy_, which is the same in
pose, but in which the hands drop briskly. See _Hurry_, which is similar
but much faster and raised each time in one movement.

  Fr. _léger_; Ger. _leicht_.


=Lightning= or =Thunderbolt=. With right G index held high, make a quick
zigzag downward.

  Fr. _l’éclair_; Ger. _der Blitz_.

=Like= (To be partial to). Sign _Want_.

=Like= or =Alike=. See _Equal_.

=Listen, I will not.= Cover both ears with the hands and shake head.
(Pop. and Blackfoot.)

  Fr. _je n’écouterai pas_; Ger. _ich will nicht zuhören_.

=Listen.= Hold right L hand back to right near and around right ear;
rotate the hand by wrist action (Cheyenne). Or hold hollowed right hand
behind the right ear. (Popular sign understood by Cheyennes.) Compare

  Fr. _écouter_; Ger. _horchen_.


=Little of=, =Small=, =Piece of=, =Part=. Hold right hand in front of
body, shoulder high, back to right, end of thumb pressing against under
side of index so that only about half an inch of index is seen beyond
the thumb, other fingers closed. For emphasis, point at right with left

=Little= or =Small of Stature=. For small animal, person, etc., indicate
the stature by holding out flat right, palm down, above the ground or
above the flat left, palm up. See _Boy_.


=Little= or =Small degree or matter=, =Weak=. Hold the right fist above
the left as though both were grasping a thin stick, backs out. Twist the
right hand and draw it in a little to the breast, turning it so the palm
is a little upward instead of a little downward. Compare _Few_. Note
_Strong_ is its analogue.

  Fr. _petit_, _peu_; Ger. _klein_, _wenig_.

=Live.= See _Alive_.

=Live in.= See _Dwell_.

=Liver.= Compress the right hand, bend it much at the wrist, hold it so
the back is forward and down, fingers level and pointing back; lay it on
the right side under the ribs, draw it to the middle of the body
following under side of ribs.

  Fr. _le foie_; Ger. _die Leber_.


=Lock.= Against flat left palm turn thumb and index of right as a key.

  Fr. _fermer à clef_, _la serrure_; Ger. _schlieszen_, _das Schlosz_.


=Long.= Fully extend the left arm forward and downward, hand flat, palm
down; lay right G finger on the left wrist; then draw it up to the
shoulder. Often use _Big_.

  Fr. _long_; Ger. _lang_.

=Longing.= Sign _Heart_ and _Want_; or _Heart_, _Want_, and _See_.

  Fr. _le désir ardent_; Ger. _das Verlangen_.


=Long time= (Drawn out). Slowly draw the hands very far apart as though
pulling out a piece of gum or elastic. See _Time_.

  Fr. _longtemps_; Ger. _lange_.


=Look.= Make V hand and point with fingers in line of sight. Compare
_Hunting_ and _See_.

  Fr. _regarder_; Ger. _ansehen_, _hinsehen_.

=Look at that.= Point with forefinger at object and add _See_. Compare

  Fr. _regardez cela_, _voyez_; Ger. _sehen Sie das an_.

=Look out.= See _Warning_.

=Loose= or =Set Free=. See _Liberate_.


=Lose=, =Lost=, or =Astray= (Hid, find, and not; apparently referring to
the game of hide in the hand). Hold out both fists together, palms up,
for _Hid_; then look about and point with right G hand behind here and
there and to one side; add _Not_. (Sheeaka.)


=Lose.= The Cheyennes use _Hide_, which see. Compare _Night_.

=Lost=, =I am lost=. Sign _Look_, _Way_, _See_, _Not_. (Blackfoot.)

  Fr. _perdre_, _perdu_; Ger. _verlieren_, _verloren_.

=Love.= See _Fond_.


=Low.= Hold flat right hand low, back up.

  Fr. _bas_; Ger. _niedrig_.


=Luck=, =Happen=, =Chance=, or =Accident= (What turns up). Extend both G
hands in front, palm side up; turn them in toward each other till the
backs are up; forefingers still extended. Then add _Good_ or _Bad_. (D)
This suggests the gambling sticks in the Indian game. See _Of_.

=Luck= (Whatever befalls me). Sign _Medicine_, or shake the head and the
flat hand in front of the neck, then swing right G in a curve till it
strikes the breast. (Sheeaka. A doubtful Sioux sign.)

  Fr. _la chance_, _l’accident_; Ger. _der Zufall_.


=Lump= (Apparently “hill” that can be held in the hand). Hold up the
right A hand, waist high, palm to you, thumb pointing up, wrist bent so
arm is nearly level. Compare _Hill_.

  Fr. _la petite masse_; Ger. _der Klumpen_, _die kleine Masse_.

=Lunch= or =Luncheon=. Sign _Noon_ and _Eat_.

  Fr. _le déjeuner_; Ger. _das Mittagessen_.

=Lungs.= Hold the 5 hands on the breast, one at each side, and indicate
slow heaving. Compare _Sick_.

  Fr. _les poumons_; Ger. _die Lungen_.


=Lynx.= With the C hand at each side of the face indicate ruffs; with
rings of index fingers and thumbs, show the eyes; then on the G right
with the G left show the bob tail. (Sheeaka.) This is a description
rather than a name.

  Fr. _le lynx_; Ger. _der Luchs_.

=Lynx=, =Bay=, or =Bob-cat.= Sign _Cat_ and _Short tail_. (Scott.) The
Cheyennes, who do not know the true Lynx, sign _Animal_ and _Short

  Fr. _le lynx rouge_; Ger. _der Rotluchs_, _die amerikanische


=Mad.= See _Angry_ and _Crazy_.


=Make= or =Manufacture=. Hammer the top of one fist with the other two
or three times, giving both hands a twisting motion. (Sheeaka. Adopted
from the Deaf.) Compare _Work_, which is mostly used by _Indians_ for

  Fr. _fabriquer_; Ger. _anfertigen_.

=Make up one’s mind.= See _Decide_.


=Man= or =Male= (The one alone; the erect one). Right G held up at
height of chin, palm forward; many Cheyennes make it back forward. For
_Boy_ sign _Man_ then drop the hand down to a level that indicates
height, and turn it palm to you.

  Fr. _l’homme_; Ger. _der Mann_.

=Mandan.= See _Indian Tribes_.

=Manitoba= (Red River Country). Give signs for _Country_, _River_, _Red_

=Manner.= See _Way_.

=Man who.= See _Doer_.


=Many= (Many tens). Hold up both hands, face high, half closed, palms
forward; throw them forward in 5 shape. Repeat several times. See also
_Heap_ and _Much_.

  Fr. _plusieurs_; Ger. _viele_.


=Many times=, =Often=, or =All the time=. Hold out left arm level, hand
flat palm in; tap it a few times with right G hand from near wrist,
moving each time an inch or so toward elbow. Compare _Cheyenne_.

  Fr. _souvent_; Ger. _oft_.


=Married= or =Marry= (Side by side, united as one). Sign _Trade_, that
is, _Bargain_; then lay right G beside left G touching, both pointing
forward level, not moved. (C) The Cheyennes omit _Trade_. Compare
_Equal_, _Parallel_, and _Mates_.

  Fr. _marié_, _épouser_; Ger. _verheiratet_, _heiraten_.

=Marten= or =Sable=. Sign _Weasel_; that is, curve right G and push it
forward, back up, in bounds; indicate size, yellow throat; then, running
up a tree. This is a suggested description, as I found no established

  Fr. _la marte_, _la zibeline_; Ger. _der Marder_, _der Zobel_.

=Match.= Strike an imaginary match on right thigh, or left arm.

  Fr. _l’allumette_; Ger. _das Streichholz_.


=Mate= or =Partner= (One teepee and side by side). The G fingers in tent
form, then up side by side, touching. (Sheeaka.)

=Mate= or =Chum=. Sign _Friend_, _Same_.

  Fr. _le camarade_, _le compagnon_; Ger. _der Kamerad_.

=May= or =Maybe=. See _Perhaps_.

=Me.= Touch one’s own chest with the tips of the compressed fingers of
the right hand. (Sheeaka.) Compare _I_.

  Fr. _moi_; Ger. _mich_.

=Meals.= For _Breakfast_, sign _Eat_ and _Sunrise_; for _Lunch_, sign
_Eat_ and _Noon_; for _Dinner_, sign _Eat_ and _Sundown_.

  Fr. _les repas_; Ger. _die Mahlzeiten_.

=Mean= or =Intend=. Sign _Want_ and _Say_.

  Fr. _avoir en vue_, _vouloir dire_; Ger. _beabsichtigen_, _meinen_.

=Mean= or =Stingy=. Sign _Heart_ and _Few_.

  Fr. _avare_; Ger. _geizig_.

=Meanwhile.= See _While_.


=Meat= (=1=). Hold out the flat left, back up; then with the flat right,
palm up, slice pieces off the left palm. This is generally used, but
often with left palm up.


=Meat= or =Flesh= (=2=). With right index finger and thumb, grasp the
flesh between left index finger and thumb. (Sioux and Blackfoot.) Note,
if this be done by putting the right at the under side of the left, it
is the same as the next sign.


=Meat= (=3=). Lay the flat left hand, little finger down, between the
thumb and fingers of the flat right, as far in as possible; then pat the
back of the left by opening and closing the right a little and add
_Buffalo_. In conversation, _Buffalo_ without the first sign is often
used for _Meat_, just as we use _Beef_. The first part of this is much
like _Thick_ and _Thin_, but the whole of the left fingers are involved
and the right hand is not slid along.

The right in this, it will be noted, shows the pose of the hand when
holding a thick piece of meat to be cut up for drying.

Clark says there is no sign for _Meat_; yet, obviously, his sign for
_Bacon_ is compounded of _Meat_, _Thin_, and _Greasy_; and the sign he
gives for _Cutting up_, means _Cutting up meat_.

=Meat= (=4=). With right index and thumb, pinch the flesh at the palmar
base of the left thumb. (Father Isadore says this is fixed and universal
among the Comanches.)

  Fr. _la viande_; Ger. _das Fleisch_.


=Medal.= Make a circle of right thumb and index (other fingers closed);
lay it little finger in, on the centre of the breast. (C) Compare

  Fr. _la médaille_; Ger. _die Medaille_.


=Medicine=, =Mystery=, =Holy=, =Sacred=, or =Wonderful= (In the sense of
Sacred Mystery). Hold V right hand close to forehead, palm forward,
pointing up, separated; move the hand upward, twisting it so that the
tips of the extended fingers will describe a spiral curve. This is
hardly translatable.

  Fr. _le mystère sacré_; Ger. _das heilige Geheimnis_.

=Medicine= (A curative drug or potion). Hold out left C back to left and
pour into it from a bottle in right C hand. If a powder, pour on flat
left palm. If a pill, pour on palm and afterward pick up with index and
thumb. (Pop.) Sign _Medicine_ and _Eat_. (Cheyenne, recent.)

  Fr. _la médecine_, _le remède_; Ger. _die Arznei_.

=Medicine-Man= or =Shaman=. Make signs for _Man_ and _Medicine_.

  Fr. _le magicien_, _le médecin_; Ger. _der Medizinmann_, _der


=Meet.= Hold forefingers of both G hands a foot apart, pointing up, left
farthest off; move together till touching at the tips. Compare _Trade_,
_Mistake_, and _Avoid_.

  Fr. _rencontrer_; Ger. _treffen_, _begegnen_.

=Melancholy.= Incline the head slightly forward and rest forehead on
left hand, left forearm close to body. Understood by Cheyennes, but they
prefer _Heart on the Ground_.

  Fr. _triste_; Ger. _schwermütig_.


=Melt=, =Fade=, =Die out=, =Dissolve=. Hold up both “5” hands six inches
apart, fingers pointing up, palms toward you; let the hands drop and
slide aside, gradually assuming compressed position, backs up.

=Melt.= Sign _Wipe out_, but slide the right palm over the left toward
the tips in small jerks, then over and beyond.

  Fr. _fondre_; Ger. _schmelzen_, _vergehen_.


=Memories.= Head hung forward; right A hand dropped a foot under chin;
then sign _Time_, _Back_. (Blackfoot.)

  Fr. _les souvenirs_; Ger. _die Erinnerungen_.

=Memory= or =Remembering=. Sign _Heart_ and _Know_.

  Fr. _la mémoire_, _se rappeler_; Ger. _das Gedächtnis_, _sich


=Mend.= Lay the right G along to overlap the left G, then hammer on the
left with right fist. (Sheeaka.) Note, this is mending iron or wood; to
mend clothes, lay one index on other as above, then with right sew over
edge of left. (Blackfoot.) The Cheyennes usually sign _Make_ and _Good_.
Compare _Fix_.

  Fr. _raccommoder_; Ger. _ausbessern_, _reparieren_.

=Mercy.= In the Roman Arena, the appeal for mercy was made by stretching
the hand with first and second fingers raised and touching; others
closed. (Pop.)

  Fr. _la clémence_, _la miséricorde_; Ger. _das Erbarmen_, _die Gnade_.

=Mercy on Another.= See _Pity_.

=Mercy on Me.= See _Pity_.

=Merry.= See _Glad_.

=Message=, i.e., =Spoken=. See _Speech_.

=Metal.= Sign _Hard_ and describe or point to a piece of the metal in
question. Or sign _Strong_, _Hard_.

  Fr. _le métal_; Ger. _das Metall_.

=Meteor.= Sign _Star_ and with hand up high sign _Fire_ and let it drop
in a wavy line across the sky.

  Fr. _le météore_; Ger. _das Meteor_, _die Feuerkugel_.

=Midday= or =Noon=. _Sun_ and _Straight up_.

  Fr. _le midi_; Ger. _der Mittag_.


=Middle= (The point dividing in half). Hold out the left G hand, finger
level. Drop the right G hand down onto it at the middle joint. Compare
_Half_ and _Centre_.

=Middle.= Strike down with lower edge of flat right between the fingers
of left V held pointing up.

  Fr. _le milieu_; Ger. _die Mitte_.

=Middle one.= Hold up three fingers of left, tap the two outer with
right G, then bend the middle one down.

  Fr. _celui au milieu_; Ger. _der Mittlere_.

=Midnight.= Sign _Night_ and _Middle_.

  Fr. _le minuit_; Ger. _die Mitternacht_.


=Mile= (Stake, measure, and stake). Hold out closed left at arm’s length
in front of shoulder, back up, index and thumb joined at top; drop it
six inches, point down; then place index and thumb of similar right
against it and swing right out level to right for two or three feet and
drop it as before.

  Fr. _le mille_; Ger. _die Meile_.

=Milk.= With both S hands make motion of milking.

  Fr. _le lait_; Ger. _die Milch_.

=Milky Way= (Spirit’s Trail). _Die_ and _Way_, and sweep the right hand
high across the sky to show where.

  Fr. _la voie lactée_; Ger. _die Milchstrasze_.

=Mingle.= See _Mix_.

=Mink.= Sign _Water_, _Creek_, and _Animal_. (Blackfoot.) Sometimes
indicate size.

  Fr. _le foutereau_, _le mink_; Ger. _der Mink_, _der Nerz_.

=Minute= (Division of time). See _Time_. Hold left O hand horizontal for
_Watch_; tap around it with right G finger for _hours_; then for minute
add _One_, _Small_, and _Time_. _Second_ would be the same with added
signs _Few_ or _Very_. (Sheeaka.)

  Fr. _la minute_; Ger. _die Minute_.

=Minute= (Very small). Sign _Small_.

  Fr. _trés petit_; Ger. _winzig_.

=Mirage.= Hold right 5 hand high, opposite left shoulder, back out,
pointing to left; move it horizontally to right with a tremulous motion.

  Fr. _le mirage_; Ger. _die Luftspiegelung_.


=Mirror.= Flat right, points up, opposite face, shaken a little forward
and back as though adjusting the distance. Sometimes sign _Look_ first.

  Fr. _le miroir_; Ger. _der Spiegel_.

=Mislead.= Sign _Way_, then thrust right G to right and to left, but not
straight. Or sign _Tell_, _Straight_, _Not_.

  Fr. _égarer_; Ger. _verleiten_.

=Miss.= See _Avoid_.

=Mist.= See _Fog_.


=Mistake= (Mark missed). Hold up left G hand, then pass it by with right
G hand.

  Fr. _l’erreur_; Ger. _der Irrtum_.

=Mix= or =Mingle.= Hold up the 5 hands, face high, points up, palm to
palm touching; rotate one against the other. If in cookery, imitate the
movement of stirring. Compare _Play_.

  Fr. _mélanger_; Ger. _mischen_.

=Moccasin.= Pass the open hands over feet from toe to ankle. Usually but
one hand is used, and it need not touch the foot.

  Fr. _le mocassin_; Ger. _der Mokassin_.


=Mockery= or =Insolent defiance=. Spread the right hand with fingers
straight, point of thumb to point of nose, little finger toward the
enemy. (Pop.) Not Indian originally, but all understand it now.

  Fr. _la moquerie_, _la dérision_; Ger. _die Verspottung_.

=Modesty.= Cover the eyes with one flat hand, its fingers well apart.
(Pop.) See _Ashamed_ and _Fog_.

  Fr. _la modestie_; Ger. _die Sittsamkeit_, _die Bescheidenheit_.


=Money= (Coin). With right thumb and index, others closed, make a
horizontal circle. Compare _Sun_, _Fruit_, and _Leaf_.

  Fr. _l’argent_; Ger. _das Geld_.

=Money= (Paper). Sign _Writing_ and _Money_.


=Money= (Bills). Draw the flat left hand edgewise between the thumb and
fingers of the right; then on left palm indicate shape. (C)

  Fr. _billets de banque_; Ger. _die Banknoten_.

=Monkey= (Man’s face, dog’s run). Sign _Face_, _Man_, _Dog_, _Goes_.

  Fr. _le singe_; Ger. _der Affe_.

=Month= (One Moon). Sign for _One_ and _Moon_ and _Die_.

  Fr. _le mois_; Ger. _der Monat_.

Each tribe had, of course, its own names for the months. I have selected
the ones most likely to be widely popular, without regard to their


  =January= (Snow Moon). Sign _Moon_ and _Snow_.

    Fr. _le janvier_; Ger. _der Januar_.

  =February= (Hunger Moon). Sign _Moon_ and _Hunger_.

    Fr. _le février_; Ger. _der Februar_.

  =March= (Crow Moon). Sign _Moon_ and _Crow_.

    Fr. _le mars_; Ger. _der März_.

  =April= (Grass Moon). Sign _Moon_ and _Short grass_.

    Fr. _l’avril_; Ger. _der April_.


  =May= (Planting Moon). Sign _Moon_ and _Planting_.

    Fr. _le mai_; Ger. _der Mai_.

  =June= (Rose Moon). Sign _Moon_ and _Rose_.

    Fr. _le juin_; Ger. _der Juni_.

  =July= (Thunder Moon). Sign _Moon_ and _Lightning_.

    Fr. _le juillet_; Ger. _der Juli_.

  =August= (Red Moon). Sign for _Moon_ and _Red_.

    Fr. _l’août_; Ger. _der August_.


  =September= (Hunting Moon). Sign _Moon_ and then draw a bow as in

    Fr. _le septembre_; Ger. _der September_.

  =October= (Leaf-falling Moon). Sign _Moon_ and _Leaf-falling_.

    Fr. _l’octobre_; Ger. _der Oktober_.

  =November= (Mad Moon). Sign _Moon_ and _Mad_.

    Fr. _le novembre_; Ger. _der November_.

  =December= (Long Night). Sign _Moon_, _Night_, and _Long_.

    Fr. _le décembre_; Ger. _der Dezember_.


=Moon= (Horns in the sky, or crescent). Close right hand except thumb
and first finger, which forms a half-circle or crescent, held above the
right ear, back of hand forward. Sometimes expressed as _Night_ and

  Fr. _la lune_; Ger. _der Mond_.


=Moose= (Elk with flat horns). Hold up flat hands for horns; but swing
both backward and forward to indicate width; then, with both “L” hands,
indicate the hanging muzzle. (Blackfoot.)

  Fr. _l’orignal_; Ger. _das Elentier_, _der Elch_.


=More.= Hold out the flat left hand, palm up; then with right make as
though throwing sand on it more and more, three times. (Sheeaka.)
Compare _Most_. See _Repeat_, _Add to_, and _Ahead_.

  Fr. _plus_; Ger. _mehr_.


=Morning= or =Day= (Opening up). Both hands palms down, flat, near
together. Sweep them up, out, and apart; turning the palms up. The same
as _Day_.


=Morning= or =Dawn=. Hold out both arms level, full length, side by
side, hands flat, backs forward, tips touching; raise them slowly to
half height.

  Fr. _le matin_; Ger. _der Morgen_.

=Mosquito.= With right index and thumb make as though pricking right
cheek with a thorn; then slap the place with right palm.

  Fr. _le moustique_; Ger. _der Moskito_, _die Stechmücke_.


=Most.= Sign _More_, then raise the right flat hand high above it.
(Sheeaka.) Or sign _Ahead_, _All_.

  Fr. _le plus_; Ger. _meist_, _am Meisten_.


=Mother= (Nurse or parent, female). With the finger tips of the right
hand, make as though drawing milk from the left breast; add the sign for
_Female_ if necessary. (Scott.) Note the left breast for _Mother_,
nearer the heart; the right breast is for _Father_.

  Fr. _la mère_; Ger. _die Mutter_.

=Mother-in-law.= Sign _Brother-in-law_, _Old_, _Woman_.

  Fr. _la belle-mère_; Ger. _die Schwiegermutter_.

=Motor car.= Make signs for _Wheels_, _Horse_, _Not_. Or sign _Fire_
twice then make as though holding and turning steering wheel.

  Fr. _l’automobile_; Ger. _das Automobil_.


=Mound= or =Low Hill=. Flat hands together, backs up; separated and
swept down to show shape. Compare _Heap_, which is just the reverse;
also see _Box_.

  Fr. _la petite éminence_; Ger. _der Erdhügel_.

=Mount= (A horse). Hold right V to right side pointing up; swing it up
to right, over and down, points down, onto flat left, which is held
thumb up. Or, omit left. (Blackfoot.)

  Fr. _monter_; Ger. _steigen_.

=Mountain.= Hold up A hand as in _Hill_, but higher, and add _Hard_. Use
both hands alternately up and down in various places for plural. Compare
_Hill_ and _Lump_.

  Fr. _la montagne_; Ger. _der Berg_.

=Mountain Lion=, =Cat=. Sign _Cat_, _Long tail_, and _Jump_. (C) Or with
both L hands indicate large round tracks; then, with right G, pointed
down, raised and down, each time, indicate the zigzag trail. (Paiute
sign, given me by C. B. Ruggles.)

  Fr. _le couguar_; Ger. _der Kuguar_.

=Mountain Pass.= See _Gap_.

=Mourn.= With the flat hands used like knives, backs up, little fingers
as though sharp edges, make as though to cut off the hair at each side
of the head, and add _Cry_.

  Fr. _s’affliger_; Ger. _trauern_.


=Mouse= (Night nibbler). Sign _Animal_, with very small jumps, indicate
size and _Night_; then, with right forefinger and thumb, nibble at left
G forefinger.

  Fr. _la souris_; Ger. _die Maus_.


=Move=, =To move camp= (Teepee poles, travois). Both G hands in front,
backs out; lay right forefinger on left at middle joint, crossing at an
angle of 45 degrees, and push both hands forward in slight jerks, each
jerk a day’s journey.

  Fr. _changer de place_, _déménager_; Ger. _fortziehen_, _wegrücken_.

=Mowing machine.= Sign _Grass_ and _Knife_; the last at right lower than
waist. Add _Wagon_ if needed to indicate horse mower.

  Fr. _la machine à faucher_; Ger. _die Mähmaschine_.


=Much= or =Many=. Hold curved 5 hands, palm to palm, a foot apart; swing
down together and up face high, closing them; swing a little apart at
the finish.


=Much= (Heap.) Hold the flat hands so the palms are toward each other,
the left lower, and draw them apart, the left downward, the right
upward. The extent to which they are drawn apart indicates the quantity.
Compare _Big_, _Great_, _Heap_, _Increase_, and _Decrease_.

  Fr. _beaucoup_; Ger. _viel_.

=Much, Too.= See _Excessive_.

=Mud.= See _Soft_.


=Mule.= Hold extended hands alongside of ears, palms to front, fingers
pointing upward; by wrist action, flop the hands to front and rear,
representing motion of mule’s ears.

  Fr. _le mulet_; Ger. _das Maultier_.

=Murder.= Sign _Kill_ and _Free_. Meaning an unjustified killing.

  Fr. _le meurtre_; Ger. _der Mord_.

=Must.= See _Have to_; also _Begin_ or _Push_. See _Imperative_.

=Muskrat= or =Musquash=. Sign _Beaver_ and _Small_.


=Muskrat= (Tail, swimming and lump). Hold out right G, back up, nearly
level, pointing forward and to left; shake it, draw it to right; then
hold up compressed right hand, back up, pointing forward, and grasp
right wrist on lower side with left hand. (Blackfoot.)

  Fr. _le rat musqué du Canada_, _l’ondatra_; Ger. _die Bisamratte_.

=My=, =Mine=, or =My own=. Sign _Possession_; that is, hold out the A
hand, thumb straight up; then swing it in till it touches the breast; or
sometimes lay the spread flat hand on the breast. (Sheeaka.) See _I_.

=My=, =Mine=, or =My own=. Touch breast with point of compressed right,
then sign _Possession_.

  Fr. _mon_; Ger. _mein_.

=Mystery.= See _Medicine_.


=Name= (Of a man). Sign _Called_. “What is your name?” would be
_Question_, _You_, _Called_.


=Name= (Of animal). With right forefinger and thumb, others closed, make
an incomplete circle and lay it palm down against the palm of the flat
left hand, held forward, back to left. Compare _Brand_ and _Called_.
Scott gives it as illustrated.

  Fr. _nommer_, _le nom_; Ger. _(be) nennen_, _der Name_.

=Name, To sign one’s= (Thumb print). Press the thumb tip of the A hand
against the palm of the flat left. Compare _Letter_.

  Fr. _signer son nom_; Ger. _seinen Namen unterschreiben_.

=Named=. See _Called_.


=Narrow.= Hold flat hands out, palm to palm, about six inches apart,
fingers level and pointing forward; move them toward each other until
but one inch apart. Compare _Fast_, _Between_, _Few_, and _Road_.

  Fr. _étroit_; Ger. _eng_.


=Nation= (People all). Hold up both 5 hands, swing them toward each
other and away in a great circle. (Sheeaka.) Not well established.

  Fr. _la nation_, _le peuple_; Ger. _die Nation_, _das Volk_.


  =American.= Sign _Thirteen_, _Fires_. This was once used on the Ohio,
  referring to the Council Fires of the thirteen original colonies. Then
  add _Country_ by patting the ground with both flat hands and swinging
  them apart and up.

  According to Clark, sometimes called _Long Knives_. Draw a long line
  east and west; then with flat hand, point up, indicate all south of
  it. (Blackfoot.)

    Fr. _l’Américain_; Ger. _der Amerikaner_.

  =British= (Red coat). Touch the coat; then with fingers brush the
  cheeks for _red_.

    Fr. _les Anglais_, _les sujets anglais_; Ger. _die Briten_, _das
    britische Volk_.

  =Canadian= (Shaking off the snow). Shake the coat lapel with right
  hand. (D) The Blackfeet draw a long line east and west then with flat
  hand point to indicate all north of that line.

    Fr. _le Canadien_; Ger. _der Kanadier_.

  =Chinaman.= Indicate long tail by signing _Rope_ at back of head.

    Fr. _le Chinois_; Ger. _der Chinese_.

  =Dutchman= (Long pipe). Place thumb of Y hand at the mouth, draw it
  down and outward to indicate the long pipe. (D)

    Fr. _le Hollandais_; Ger. _der Holländer_.

  =Englishman.= Sign _White Man_, _Far_. (Blackfoot.)

    Fr. _l’Anglais_; Ger. _der Engländer_.

  =Frenchman.= Hold out the F hand well toward the left, palm up; draw
  it across in front of self from left to right, turning it palm down.
  (D) To sign _Hairy Man_ would translate the nickname “Poilu.”

    Fr. _le Français_; Ger. _der Franzose_.


  =German= (The double eagle). Cross the wrists of both 5 hands, thumb
  palm against thumb palm, and work the fingers. (D)

    Fr. _l’Allemand_; Ger. _der Deutsche_.

  =Great Britain= (Red-coat land). _Land_, _Coat_, and _Red_.

    Fr. _la Grande-Bretagne_; Ger. _das Groszbritannien_.

  =Holland.= Same as _Dutchman_.

  =Indian.= See _Indian_ on p. 106.

  =Irishman.= Hold out left S hand, back up; swing right V around it and
  end with V resting on back of left. (D) _Green Island Man_ would be
  more acceptable.

    Fr. _l’Irlandais_; Ger. _der Irländer_.

  =Japanese.= Sign _Country_ and _Rising Sun_. Or sign _Man_, _Short_,
  _Eyes_, _Oblique_. The last by pushing up the outer corners of the
  eyes with G fingers. (These are suggested.)

    Fr. _le Japonais_; Ger. _der Japaner_.

  =Jew= (Long beard). Placing the fingers of the bent 5 hand on the
  chin, draw them down and off, letting the hand assume the flat
  position as it leaves the chin. (D)

  (As a slang term.) Spread both hands open from opposite each shoulder,
  palms forward, and rotate them slightly on the wrist back and forth.

    Fr. _le Juif_; Ger. _der Jude_.

  =Italian.= With the little finger of I hand trace a cross in the
  centre of the forehead. (D)

    Fr. _l’Italien_; Ger. _der Italiener_.

  =Mexican= (Bearded White Man). Sign for _White Man_ and _Beard_. In
  this case, _Beard_ is made by rotating and jerking the 5 hand before
  the chin, points up.

    Fr. _le Mexicain_; Ger. _der Mexikaner_.

  =Negro.= Sign _White Man_, _Black face_. (C) Sheeaka also fumbled the
  open right over the knuckles of the half closed left, to indicate
  kinky hair.

    Fr. _le nègre_; Ger. _der Neger_.

  =Ontario= (Land of Lakes). Make signs for _Country_ and _Lakes_.

    Fr. _l’Ontario_; Ger. _das Ontario_.

  =Russian.= Arms akimbo, i.e., C hand on each side of the waist. (D)
  The Cheyennes call them _Ride Easy_ from the Cossack circus
  performers; but it is not an established sign. _Bear Man_ is

    Fr. _le Russe_; Ger. _der Russe_.

  =Scotchman= (Plaid clothes). Cross the fingers of the right 5 hand
  with those of the left 5 hand on the chest, then let each drop to
  continue the lines. (D)

    Fr. _l’Écossais_; Ger. _der Schotte_.

  =Spaniard.= Sign _Old_, _Mexican_.

    Fr. _l’Espagnol_; Ger. _der Spanier_.

  =White Man= (Hat man). With G right hand draw first finger across the
  brow. (C) For illustration see _White Man_ among W’s.

    Fr. _l’homme blanc_; Ger. _der Weisze_.

  Other countries are indicated in the Deaf Code by making the initial
  letter in the single-handed alphabet and swinging them in a circle in
  front of the forehead; but this mode contravenes the fundamental
  principle of Signs. (See Introduction.)

  Therefore, it is better to wait till a true sign is discovered.

=Near= or =Nearly=. Same as _Close_, which see.

=Near by.= See _By_.

=Nearest.= See _Next_.

=Need= or =Need to=. See _Must_.

=Needle.= Make the sign for _Sew_. (C)

  Fr. _l’aiguille_; Ger. _die Nadel_.

=Neighbor.= Sign _Close_ and _Dwell_, or _Sit_, _Close_.

  Fr. _le voisin_; Ger. _der Nachbar_.

=Nephew.= Sign _Brother’s_ (or _Sister’s_) _Son_. (C)

  Fr. _le neveu_; Ger. _der Neffe_.


=Never= (_Ever_ and _Not_). Right elbow fixed at side and with right G
hand out straight, describe a complete upright circle, left to right;
then throw the hand down to right in _Not_. (Sheeaka; probably borrowed
from Deaf.)

  Fr. _jamais_; Ger. _niemals_.

=Never mind.= See _Rub it out_.

=New.= Sign _Little time_, _Traded_. Or, _Little while_, _Made_, _Good_.

  Fr. _neuf_; Ger. _neu_.

=News.= With right G struck down to right and left (for _this_ and
_that_) and _Hear_.

  Fr. _les nouvelles_; Ger. _die Nachrichten_.

=Newspaper.= Sign _Writing_ and _Tell_ (i.e., _Talk_) to right and left.

  Fr. _le journal_; Ger. _die Zeitung_.

=Next.= See _Neighbor_.


=Next= or =Second=. Hold out the flat 4 left hand, palm down; with right
G draw the left index toward the right; then tap the middle finger of
left with right index. Or sign _Close_.

  Fr. _prochain_; Ger. _nächst_.


=Night= (Earth covered up). Bring the flat hands, backs up, well apart,
out in front of body, breast high; move them together in outline of a
dome, finally resting right wrist on left. Compare _Hide_.

  Fr. _la nuit_; Ger. _die Nacht_.


=No.= Hold flat right hand, back up, in front of body, fingers pointing
level and nearly forward. Swing the hand in a graceful curve to right
and front, at the same time turning it thumb up, finishing with the back
of hand to right and downward; the hand is swept into its position on a
curve. Usually abbreviated into a short jerk of the flat hand to right,
its palm kept facing left. Compare _Bad_ and _Different_.

For short range, shake the head; this is simple and universal. It is so
natural that babies and animals do it when offered bitter medicine, for
example. (Popular and Indian generally.)

  Fr. _non_; Ger. _nein_.


=No, I won’t listen=; or =Go away, the matter is ended=. Right G hand
upraised to level of face, palm out, index upright; wave the finger hand
from side to side by wrist action. Chiefly used by Cheyennes when
joking. It is general in Latin countries. Compare _White-tailed Deer_.

  Fr. _non, allez!_ Ger. _Punktum!_ _Schlusz!_

=None=, =Nothing=, =I have no money=. Turn the flat palms forward, one
near each trouser pocket. (Pop.)

  Fr. _il n’y a rien_; Ger. _nichts_.

=Noon.= See _Midday_.

=Notify.= See _Tell_.


=Now= (Emphatic “right now”). Hold up right G, back to right and
pointing upward about eight inches in front of the face; and, without
stopping, carry it a little to front; then stop and give a slight
rebound. Sometimes look up to make it clear that it relates to time of
day, that is, the sun’s course. Often it means _this_ as in _this day_;
_this moment_; _this night_.

  Fr. _maintenant_; Ger. _jetzt_.


=Numbers= and =Counting=. Up to _ten_ as shown on the fingers at the
foot of previous page and this.

  For 20—Sign 10, close the hands, then repeat it.

  For 25—Sign 20, then drop left, close right, and sign 5.

  For 30—Sign 10 three times; or else as below.


  For 20, etc., sign 10, then hold out left 5 hand pointing forward and
  draw right G along each finger from base to tip; each finger so
  pointed stands for 10.

  If over 50, do same with right hand and left index till enough tens
  are shown.


  For 100—Both 5 hands held up, palm forward, thumb tips touching, low,
  opposite right shoulder; swing in a vertical arch to low opposite left
  shoulder. This mode of multiplying by ten may be applied to other

  For 1,000—Sign 100 and on flat hands spread and pointing forward, palm
  down, with index of other hand show number of hundreds as above.


=Numbers= or =Counting=. Or, with the thumb of the same hand, touch each
of the finger tips in succession. (Popular and sometimes used by

  Fr. _les nombres_, _les numéros_, _compter_; Ger. _die Zahlen_,


=Numbers ordinal.= Point at or indicate the person or thing; then turn
down the first finger for 1st and the second finger for 2d and so on.
Also see _First_, _Next_, and _Last_.

=Numeral Sign=, =Arithmetic=, or =Counting=. Hold the left 5 hand, palm
up, fingers a little bent; with right G turn one or two left fingers
down on left palm.

The Deaf mode is the figure-sign, then, without changing position of arm
or hand, give the hand a twisting jerk from the wrist, which swings it
in a small circle.

  Fr. _les nombres ordinaux_; Ger. _die Ordinalzahlen_.

=Nun.= Sign _Woman_, _Black_, _Hat_.

  Fr. _la religieuse_; Ger. _die Nonne_.



=Oath= or =Swear=. Tap the chest with the tips of the flat right hand,
then hold it at head height, palm forward. (Sheeaka.) Sometimes point to
Heaven and Earth, then hold up flat right hand. (C) Neither is Cheyenne,
but both are understood by them. See _Promise_. With right G make a
small cross over the heart. (Pop.)

  Fr. _le serment_, _jurer_; Ger. _der Eid_, _schwören_.

=Obey.= Make sign for _Listen_. For emphasis add _Yes_. _Disobey_ is
putting the flat hands over the ears.

  Fr. _obéir_; Ger. _gehorchen_.

=Obliged to.= See _Have to_. (C)

=Ocean.= Sign _Water_ and _Very broad_. Some add _Salt_.

  Fr. _l’océan_; Ger. _der Ozean_.


=Of= (That from that). Hold right G hand out straight from right side,
palm up; rotate the hand so the index tip describes a small half-circle
inward and finally the palm is down. (D) Compare _Luck_.

  Fr. _de_; Ger. _von_.

=Offer= or =Propose=. Hold the flat hands, palms up, near you, then move
forward as though offering something. (Blackfoot.) The Cheyennes sign
_Want_ and _Give_.

  Fr. _offrir_, _proposer_; Ger. _anbieten_, _vorschlagen_.

=Office.= Sign _Writing House_.

=Officer.= Sign _Chief_; or, if military, sign _Chief_, _Soldier_. Or
indicate with the right index on the left shoulder or arm the insignia
of the particular rank.

  Fr. _l’officier_; Ger. _der Beamte_, _der Offizier_.

=Offspring.= See _Child_.

=Often.= See _Many times_.


=Oil= (Blowing oil off surface in pot). With both L hands form a big
level circle; then tilt it low on forward side and blow across it.
(Blackfoot, but understood by Cheyennes.)

  Fr. _l’huile_; Ger. _das Öl_.


=Oil= or =Grease=. Hold out the flat left, thumb up; with right thumb on
palm and right index on back (others closed); rub back and forth with
short, quick jerks. Compare _Thick_, _Thin_, _Bacon_.

  Fr. _la graisse_; Ger. _das Fett_.


=Old= (Walking with a stick). Hold right A hand, _back to right_, about
twelve inches in front of right shoulder, about height of breast; move
the hand a little upward, to front, downward and back into its first
position on small curve, repeating motion. Compare _Lame_.

  Fr. _vieux_; Ger. _alt_.

=Old Man.= Hold up the right index finger as in _Man_, then drop, crook,
and swing it in _Old_. See _Decrepit_.

  Fr. _le vieillard_; Ger. _der Greis_.

=Old=, =How old are you?= Sign _Question_, _Snows_, _You_; or
_Question_, _Counting_, _Colds_, _You_.

  Fr. _quel âge avez-vous?_ Ger. _wie alt sind Sie?_


=On= or =Upon=. Lay the flat right hand, palm down, on back of the flat
horizontal left, palm down. Compare _At_.

  Fr. _sur_; Ger. _auf_.


=Once.= Dip the finger ends of the right compressed hand down against
the palm of the flat left hand, bringing it away quickly. For _Twice_,
do it twice, etc. (Sheeaka.) Compare _This_ and _Repeat_.

=Once= (One go). Sign _One_ with right G index and push it forward low
down. (So, also, _Twice_ is _Two_ pushed forward, etc.)

  Fr. _une fois_; Ger. _einmal_.

=One who=, or =The man that does=. See _Doer_.

=Onion.= Sign _Potato_ and _Bad_, _Smell_.

  Fr. _l’oignon_; Ger. _die Zwiebel_.

=Only.= See _Alone_.


=Open.= The flat hands together, palm to palm, opened out flat as a
book. The same as _Book_ with _Writing_ omitted. Compare _Day_, _Book_,
_Shell_, and _Shut_.

  Fr. _ouvrir_, _ouvert_; Ger. _öffnen_, _offen_.


=Opossum.= Hold out the flat right, fingers doubled on palm, thumb
straight up; move it forward level. The thumb represents the tail. This
is an Australian sign given by E. C. Stirling. It is offered as a
suggestion and as a reminder that the Sign Language is world-wide. The
Cheyennes sign _Tree_, _Climb_, _Hang by tail_.

  Fr. _l’opossum_, _le (la) sarigue_; Ger. _das Opossum_.


=Opposite= or =Against=. Hold the G fingers up opposite each other,
pointing at each other. Compare =Against=.

  Fr. _opposé_, _en face_; Ger. _gegenüber_.

=Or.= See _Either_. Sometimes use _Different_.

=Orderly= or =Put in order=. See _Ready_.

=Ordinal Numbers.= See _Numbers Ordinal_.

=Other.= See _Another_.

=Other side.= See _Beyond_.


=Otter= (Wrapping the hair plait). With right thumb, index and middle
fingers together, others closed, describe a small spiral from near the
right ear down. Because the otter skin was the kind used in strips to
wrap the plaits of the Indians’ hair.

  Fr. _la loutre_; Ger. _der (die) Otter_.

=Our.= Sign _All_, _My_.

  Fr. _notre_; Ger. _unser_.

=Out of.= See _Absent_.

=Outside= or =Out of=. Make a semicircle of the left arm out level; drop
the compressed right hand without and beyond the semicircle. Compare
_In_, which it resembles, except in the last movement.

  Fr. _dehors_, _hors de_; Ger. _drauszen_.

=Over= or =Above=. See _Above_.

=Overcome.= See _Kill_.


=Overtake.= Hold out flat left hand at arm’s length, palm forward,
fingers pointing up; hold the right G hand near the breast, palm out,
pointing up; move it forward till it strikes the left hand. Use the left
G if only one is pursued. Compare _Arrive there_.

  Fr. _atteindre_; Ger. _einholen_.


=Owe= or =Debt= (Recorded and given). Write on the left palm and swing
it from _you_ to _me_ or otherwise, according to the case. (Sheeaka.)

=Owe.= Sign _Trade_, _Time_, _Money_, _Give_.

  Fr. _devoir_; Ger. _schuldig sein_.


=Owl.= Sign _Bird_ and _Big-eyes_; the latter by putting around each eye
a half-circle of thumb and index. (For _Horned Owl_ indicate the horns
with G hands.) For _Burrowing Owl_, sign _Owl_, _Hole_, and _Dancing_.

  Fr. _la chouette_, _le hibou_; Ger. _die Eule_.

=Own.= See _Possession_.



=Pack.= Hold out left flat hand, back to left (this is the horse); bring
right flat hand and place palm against left thumb, fingers pointing to
front (this is the right pack); raise the right hand and place palm
against upper part of left (this is the left pack); repeat these motions

  Fr. _emballer_; Ger. _packen_.

=Pain.= See _Ache_.

=Paint.= Use all the fingers of right hand as a brush painting the left
palm. Recent Cheyenne.

  Fr. _peindre_; Ger. _anstreichen_, _malen_.

=Paint the cheeks.= Sign _Red_, then rub the cheeks and front of the
face with palm of flat right hand moved in small circles.

  Fr. _se farder_; Ger. _schminken_.


=Palsy.= Both flat hands, backs up, near breast, shaking.

  Fr. _la paralysie agitante_; Ger. _die Schüttellähmung_.

=Panther.= See _Mountain Lion_.


=Paper= (Square to write on). With G fingers outline a square, then make
as though to write on it with right G.

  Fr. _le papier_; Ger. _das Papier_.


=Parallel=, or =Side by Side=. The index fingers of G hands laid side by
side, _not_ touching and _not_ moving. Some make right index point to
left and left to right in this. Compare _Equal_, _Race_, and _Marry_.

  Fr. _parallèle_; Ger. _parallel_, _gleichlaufend_.


=Pardon=, =Liberate=, or =Turn Loose= (Removing a halter). Hold both L
hands, palms up, near the neck, one on each side; sweep them up, over,
forward and down, as though removing a halter; at the finish the index
fingers are pointing forward and down. Sometimes add _Go_. See _Excuse_
and _Free_.

  Fr. _pardonner_; Ger. _begnadigen_.

=Part.= If _one-half_, indicate it as in the sign for that word; if
less, hold the right hand nearer end of index, according to portion
desired to be represented. See _Half_ and _Some_.

  Fr. _la partie_; Ger. _der Teil_.

=Partner.= See _Mate_.

=Parturition.= See _Born_.

=Pass by.= See _Avoid_.


=Past= (Time back). Make the sign for _Time_ and jerk the thumb backward
over the right shoulder, all fingers closed. (Sheeaka.) Or throw the
flat hand back over shoulder. In general, sign _Time_, _Back_. See _Ago_
and _Back_.

  Fr. _le passé_; Ger. _die Vergangenheit_.

=Pasture.= See _Corral_.

=Patrol.= See _Band_.

=Pawnee.= See _Indian Tribes_.

=Pawnshop= (House of three balls). _House_ and hold left hand up with
thumb, first and second fingers pointing straight down; then make a hoop
of right thumb and index and apply it in succession to the three hanging
tips. (Pop. and acceptable to Indians.)

  Fr. _le Mont-de-Piété_; Ger. _das Leihhaus_, _das Pfandhaus_.

=Pax.= See _Fins_.


=Pay= (i.e., “Will you give me?” or “Will you pay?”). Hold the right
hand forward at level of waist, palm up, fingers half closed, rubbing
the tip of first finger and tip of thumb together. (Popular and
understood by Sheeaka.) The Cheyennes sign _Money_, _Give me_.

  Fr. _payer_; Ger. _bezahlen_.

=Peace.= Clasp the hands in front of body.

  Fr. _la paix_; Ger. _der Friede_.


=Peak.= Sign _Mountain_, _Part_; then hold up high all fingers of right
hand in a point, back under.

  Fr. _le pic_; Ger. _die Spitze_.

=Peas.= Sign _Plant_, then with right index and thumb as in _Little of_
tap five or six times in a row along the side of the left G.

  Fr. _les pois_; Ger. _die Erbsen_.

=Pekan.= See _Fisher_.

=Penny.= Sign _Red_, _Money_.


=People.= Hold up the 5 hands, points up, and add _All_. Compare
_Nation_ and _Dance_.


=People.= Hold up both G hands at various heights, as in _Man_ sign.

  Fr. _le peuple_; Ger. _die Leute_, _das Volk_.

=Pepper= (Black sprinkler). Sign _Black_, then use right O hand as tho
it held a sprinkler. A Blackfoot sign understood by Cheyennes.

  Fr. _le poivre_; Ger. _der Pfeffer_.

=Perhaps.= See _If_.

=Permit.= See _Free_.

=Perplexed.= See _If_ and _Consider_.

=Petrol.= See _Spirit_.

=Period= or =Full stop=. Use _Done_ both No. 1 and No. 2.

  Fr. _le point_; Ger. _der Punkt_.

=Persevere=, =Persist=, or =Stick to it.= Hold both fists near breast
and firmly push them forward once or twice. That is, sign _Push_

  Fr. _persister_; Ger. _beharren_.

=Person= or =Individual=. Sign _Man_.

  Fr. _la personne_; Ger. _die Person_.


=Photograph.= Hold out the nearly flat left hand at arm’s length, face
high, palm to you, fingers level, pointing to right; from near it, draw
back right fist, palm to left and up, thumb out straight, as though
drawing something to the eye; then near the face change the right hand
to flat, slightly curved, back forward, fingers pointing to left, and
push it forward against palm of left, as in Print.

  Fr. _la photographie_; Ger. _die Photographie_.

=Picture.= Indicate the subject, then hold up both L hands to outline
bottom and two sides of a square. With imaginary pencil in right draw on
this; left remaining as it was. See _Portrait_ and _Photograph_.

  Fr. _le tableau_; Ger. _das Bild_.

=Pie.= Sign _Bread_, _Round_ (i.e., with right G, indicate a horizontal
circle of proper size), and _Sweet_. Then sidewise slide the flat right
exactly over the flat left, both with palms up. A description, rather
than a sign.

  Fr. _le pâté_, _la tarte_; Ger. _die Pastete_.

=Piece.= See _Little of_.

=Pig.= See _Hog_.


=Pipe.= Hold out right G breast high, back down, with index curled up,
pointing forward; jerk it forward once or twice.

  Fr. _le pipe_; Ger. _die Pfeife_.

=Pistol.= See _Gun_.


=Pity= or =Mercy= on another (Cry or shed tears for you). Hold G hands,
palms downward, index fingers up, in front of and near heart, few inches
apart, equally advance and same height; move the hands outward and
slightly downward, or toward person. Compare _Cry_.

  Fr. _avoir pitié de quelqu’ un_; Ger. _jemanden bemitleiden_.

=Pity= or =Have mercy on me= (Cry for me). Hold G hands well out in
front of body, as described above, but with backs out; bring them toward
body, slightly raising them.

  Fr. _plaignez-moi_, _ayez pitié de moi!_ Ger. _haben Sie Mitleid mit


=Place= or =Put= (Verb). Hold out flat left, back up; swing compressed
right over onto it, then open the right a little. Sometimes omit flat
left, or use instead compressed left hand held points up. Compare _Bet_.

  Fr. _mettre_; Ger. _stellen_, _legen_, _setzen_.

=Place= (Noun). With right G pointing down, indicate a large circle on
the ground. (A Pai-ute sign given by Mallery p. 500, also a popular

  Fr. _la place_; Ger. _der Ort_, _die Stelle_.


=Plant= or =Planting=. With right fingers and thumb, open as though to
drop a seed, then closed and moved on to drop another farther, and
another, all in the same row. Compare _Animal_ and _Jump_. See _Sow_.

  Fr. _planter_; Ger. _pflanzen_.

=Play= or =Recreation=. Hold up both slightly curved 5 hands, points up
and forward, palm to palm, about eight inches apart. Swing them from
side to side together, rotating them so the palms are once to front,
once to back on each swing. Compare _Dance_ and _Children_.

  Fr. _le jeu_; Ger. _das Spiel_.


=Playing= or =Fooling=. Hold out in front of shoulder the slightly
curved 5 hand, palm up; rotate slightly by wrist action. See _Joke_ and

  Fr. _jouer_; Ger. _das Spielen_.


=Plenty= (Many, piled up). Push forward with both 5 hands, palms first,
three times (i.e., sign _Many_); then raise the hands very high, palms
forward and down. (Sheeaka.) Or sign _Heap_ or _Full_. Compare _Many_.

  Fr. _l’abondance_; Ger. _die Fülle_.

=Ploughing.= Hold both fists forward as though holding plough, elbows
high; and push forward. Also used for cultivation in general.

  Fr. _le labourage_, _labourer_; Ger. _das Pflügen_.

=Poison-ivy= (Vine, nibbler). Sign _Vine_; that is, hold left forearm
upright, as in _Tree_, and with right G finger trace a climbing _Vine_
about it; then with thumb and first two fingers of right hand, scratch
on edge of flat left, held out back up.

  Fr. _le toxicodendron_; Ger. _der Giftefeu_, _der Giftsumach_.

=Polecat.= See _Skunk_.


=Policeman= or =Constable=. Place the curved right index and thumb,
little finger out, against left coat lapel. Compare _Medal_, _Brand_,
and _Name_.

  Fr. _le sergent de ville_; Ger. _der Schutzmann_.

=Police-station.= Sign _Policeman_ and _House_.

  Fr. _le poste de police_; Ger. _das Polizeibureau_.

=Ponder.= See _Consider_.


=Poor in property= (Scraped bare). With right G finger scrape down the
left G finger held up, from tip to base, several times. Compare _Indian
Apache_, and _Shame_.

  Fr. _pauvre_; Ger. _arm_.

=Poor in flesh.= See _Thin_.


=Porcupine= (Prickly hair). Sign _Hair_; then with tips of right 5 hand
strike or prick the left palm, held facing the right.

  Fr. _le porc-épic_; Ger. _das Stachelschwein_.

=Portrait.= Hold up the flat left hand, back forward, as though it were
a _Mirror_, then sketch on the same with an imaginary pencil, add _Face_
and indicate the person. See _Photograph_ and _Picture_.

  Fr. _le portrait_; Ger. _das Bild(nis)_.

=Positive of adjectives.= See _Comparative_.


=Possesses=, =Possession=, =Yours=, =His own=, =Belonging to=, etc.
(Held in the hand.) Hold right A hand, back to right, in front of the
neck, or even the forehead, and a few inches from it. Swing it forward
and down so the thumb is pointing straight forward.

  Fr. _posséder_; Ger. _besitzen_.

=Potato.= Curved 5 right hand held as low as possible, back down.

  Fr. _la pomme de terre_; Ger. _die Kartoffel_.

=Pour.= Hold out the left O hand, back to left, and pour into it with
the right O hand.

  Fr. _verser_; Ger. _gieszen_.


=Powder.= Hold out left hand, palm up; just above it, rub thumb and
finger tips of right. Or commonly omit left hand. Compare _Dust_.

  Fr. _la poudre_; Ger. _das Pulver_, _der Puder_.

=Power.= See _Can_.


=Prairie=, =Smooth land=, =Flat=, or =Level= (Level wide). Flat hands
side by side, palms up; then slowly wide spread on same plane. In
conversation, usually but one hand is used. Compare _Free_ and _Broad_.

  Fr. _la prairie_, _la plaine_; Ger. _die Prärie_, _die grosze Ebene_.

=Prairie-chicken.= See _Grouse_.

=Prairie-dog.= Sign _Mound_, _Hole_; then push right G up through hole
and add _Talk_.

  Fr. _la marmotte de la prairie_; Ger. _der Präriehund_.

=Praise.= See _Applause_.


=Pray.= Lay the flat hands palm to palm, point them to the sky, then
draw down toward self; repeat. (Sheeaka.)

=Pray.= Look up, sign _Talk_ (_No. 1._) _straight_.

  Fr. _prier_; Ger. _beten_.

=Present= (Time). Same as _Now_.

=Pretty.= See _Beautiful_.


=Pride=, =Proud=, or =Vain=. Draw the flat hand, palm down, over face to
breast; throw back head, look up and add _Good_. (Blackfoot.) This is
their sign for _Beautiful_ with the addition of the head thrown back. Or
sign _He, Think_, _He, Big Chief_. See _Conceit_.

  Fr. _la fierté_, _fier_; Ger. _der Stolz_, _stolz_.

=Priest.= Sign _Robe_ and _Black_.

  Fr. _le prêtre_; Ger. _der Priester_.

=Print.= Push the back of right flat curved hand slowly and firmly
against the palm of the left curved ditto, as in _Picture_, only several
times. Compare _Quandary_, _Approach_, _Photograph_ etc.


=Prison= (House of bars). Sign for _House_, then hold 4 hands up, side
by side for prison bars. Add _Man_ and _Look through_.

=Prison.= Sign _Prisoner_ and _House_.

  Fr. _la prison_; Ger. _das Gefängnis_.


=Prisoner= (Arrested). Clinch the fists and cross the wrists as though
bound, and press down a little.

  Fr. _le prisonnier_; Ger. _der Gefangene_.

=Private.= See _Secret_.

=Produce= and =Product=. See _Result_.


=Prominent= or =Conspicuous= (Stands on a hill). Sign _Hill_ up high,
then lay right G against it, pointing up, palm to self, back of right
against left hand. See _Famous_.

  Fr. _éminent_; Ger. _hervorragend_.

=Promise= (Word bound). Place the forefinger of right G perpendicularly
against mouth; bring down fist and, parallel with it, the other fist,
thumbs up; strike both down together twice. (Sheeaka.) Also see _Word of
Honor_, or _Cross my Heart_.

=Promise.= Sign _Talk_ (i.e., _Word_), _Give_.


=Promise=, =Sworn= (I swear). Tap the chest with tips of flat right
hand, then raise it, palm forward, and add _Talk_. (Sheeaka.) Compare

  Fr. _la promesse_, _promettre_; Ger. _das Versprechen_, _versprechen_.

=Proof= or =Prove=. See _Show_.

=Propose.= See _Offer_.

=Protect.= See _Defend_.

  Fr. _protéger_; Ger. _beschützen_.

=Push.= The same as _Begin_, which see.

  Fr. _pousser_; Ger. _schieben_.

=Put.= See _Place_.


=Quality.= See _Rank_.


=Quandary=, =In a fix=, =Run against=, or =Up against it=. Hold out the
curved left hand nearly at arm’s length, back forward; push the ditto
right from near the breast right out briskly and hard against the left.
Sometimes use _Against_. Compare _Approach_, which is similar, but is
slow, and right does not touch; also, _Print_, which pushes and is

  Fr. _l’embarras_; Ger. _die Verlegenheit_.

=Quarter= (But one of four). Hold up the left 4 hand, back out; then
with the right G turn the little finger down on the palm. Sometimes sign
_Half_, then again half of the tip portion.

  Fr. _le quart_; Ger. _das Viertel_.


=Quarrel= (Two persons springing at each other). Hold up both G hands
and alternately jerk left at right and right at left.

  Fr. _la querelle_; Ger. _der Streit_.

=Quench.= _Fire_ and _Wipe out_.

  Fr. _éteindre_; Ger. _löschen_.


=Question=, =Query=, =Interrogation=, =I am asking you a question=, =I
want to know=, usually equivalent to “Is that you?” (Groping or
uncertain.) Hold up the right hand toward the person, palm down and
forward, fingers and thumb open, spread, but a little curved; by wrist
action, swing the hand in small vertical semicircles. The diagram below
the illustration indicates the finger tips seen from in front. The
motion shown for the little finger is, of course, shared by all. This is
a very important and much-used sign; it appears before all questions.

If the person is quite distant, hold the hand higher, more spread, and
wave it several times to right and left.

When very near, merely raise the eyebrows. For long distance, raise both
arms like Y with hands flat and waved a little. (Crow.) See _Consider_.

  Fr. _l’interrogation_; Ger. _die Frage_.

The following are needed in asking questions:

  =How?= Sign _Question_ and _Work_ and _Way_.

    Fr. _comment?_; Ger. _wie?_


  =How many?= or =How much?= Sign _Question_; next hold the left hand
  open, curved, palm up, fingers spread; then with right G digit,
  quickly tap each finger on left in succession, closing it back toward
  the left palm, beginning with the little finger.

    Fr. _combien?_; Ger. _wie viele?_


  =What?= (As in “What are you doing?” “What is it?”) Sign _Question_;
  follow with the same sign much exaggerated; that is, with the arm
  action, swing the right 5 hand, palm under, fingers slightly bent and
  separated and pointing forward, in an arc of about a foot from right
  over to left and back once or twice. The Cheyennes in general use
  this, though they denied it when questioned. But it seems a good
  logical sign, the large arc being equivalent to “object.”

    Fr. _quoi?_ _que?_; Ger. _was?_


  =When?= If seeking a definite answer as to length of time, make signs
  for _Question_, _How many?_ and then specify time by sign for hours,
  days, etc. If asking in general _When?_ sign _Question_ and _Time_.

  =When?= If asking for an exact date or point hold up the left G, make
  a circle around its tip with right G, which always points at it. On
  reaching the starting point, the right G stops, touches the tip of
  left G. (Sioux, given by Sheeaka.) This probably represents the shadow
  going around the tree. See _Time_.

    Fr. _quand?_; Ger. _wann?_

  =Whence?= Strike to left with right G, back up, then over to right a
  foot away, then back and again; point to the person and sign _Come_.
  Usually it needs no _Question_.

    Fr. _d’où?_; Ger. _woher?_


  =Where?= or =Whither?= (What direction?). Sign _Question_; then with
  forefinger sweep the horizon in a succession of bounds, a slight pause
  at the bottom of each, the head following the finger. (Sioux and
  Arapahoe.) The actual line of the finger is illustrated in the lower
  plan, the hand being gracefully rotated on the wrist in doing it. Or
  sign _Question_ and _Somewhere_.

  =Where?= Sign _Question_ and _Look_.

  =Where?= (In an abstract sense). Extend the open hands, palm up, from
  the sides out low to the front, and swing them from side to side with
  a look of inquiry on the face. (Pop.)

    Fr. _où?_; Ger. _wo?_ _wohin?_


  =Which?= (When the objects are in sight). Sign _Question_ and point
  with right G in three or four directions, downward or toward the
  objects in question.


  =Which?= (When the objects are not in sight). Sign _Question_; then
  hold left hand in front of you, with palm toward you, fingers to right
  and held apart; place the end of the right forefinger on that of the
  left forefinger and then draw it down across the other fingers.

    Fr. _quel_, _lequel?_; Ger. _welcher?_

  =Whither?= Sign _Question_ and _Go_, in two or three directions.

    Fr. _où?_; Ger. _wohin?_

  =Who?= Sign _Question_ and _Man_.

    Fr. _qui?_; Ger. _wer?_

  =Why?= Sign _Question_, but do it very slowly. (C)

  =Why?= Sign _Question_ and _Want_.

    Fr. _pourquoi?_; Ger. _warum?_

=Quick.= See _Fast_ and _Hurry_.


=Quiet, be=, =Be not alarmed=, =Have patience=. The palm of the flat
hand held toward the person and gently depressed once or twice. See

  Fr. _soyez tranquille_; Ger. _beruhigen Sie sich_.

=Quiet, be.= See _Silence_.

=Quit.= See _Give up_; also _Finish_.



=Rabbit.= Move the M hand straight to the front, back up and undulating
on the wrist, to imitate the rabbit hopping forward; then make V right
hand and turn it to look back. (Scott.) The Cheyennes omit the second
part of this.

  Fr. _le lapin_; Ger. _der Hase_.

=Raccoon= or =Coon=. Draw the V hand horizontally across the face and
nose. If necessary, also indicate _Size_ and striped tail.

  Fr. _le raton_; Ger. _der Waschbär_.


=Race.= Move the index fingers forward and up, side by side, as in
_Equal_; but keep them moving a long way forward and upward. Compare
_Parallel_, _Marry_.

  Fr. _la course_, _le concours_; Ger. _das Wettrennen_, _der Wettlauf_.

=Rags=, =In rags=. Touch _Coat_, add _Old_; then hold left 5 slightly
curved, back up and use ditto right as though to comb out the fingers of
left, once or twice.

  Fr. _les guenilles_, _en loques_; Ger. _die Lumpen_, _zerlumpt_.

=Railroad train= or =Cars=. Sign _Fire_ twice upward for puffs, then add
_Fast_. Compare _Motor car_.

  Fr. _le train_ [_de chemin de fer_]; Ger. _der Eisenbahnzug_.


=Railroad.= Indicate _Train_ as above; then push the right G finger
quickly along the back of the left V hand and on beyond. (Sheeaka.)

=Railroad.= Sign _Road_; then with the two G hands, backs up, indicate
rails as in _Parallel_.

=Railroad.= Sign _Hard_ (i.e., metal); then hold out two G fingers,
backs up, six inches apart, and push both together far forward and a
little up.

  Fr. _le chemin de fer_; Ger. _die Eisenbahn_.

=Railroad Station.= Make the signs of _Railway_ and _House_; adding, if
necessary, _Alight_ and _Aboard_.

  Fr. _la gare_; Ger. _der Bahnhof_.


=Rain= (Falling from clouds). Hold A hands, backs up, opposite forehead,
near each other; lower them slightly, mostly by wrist action; at the
same time open and separate fingers and thumb so they point downward;

  Fr. _la pluie_; Ger. _der Regen_.


=Rainbow.= Sign _Rain_ then indicate the arch with a slow sweep of the
flat right hand, back up, high above head.

  Fr. _l’arc-en-ciel_; Ger. _der Regenbogen_.

=Rank= or =Quality= (Of a soldier.) With the right G, indicate stripes
on left arm, or else touch each shoulder for epaulets.

=Rank= or =Quality=. Sign _Chief_; then lay upright right G, palm
forward, against back of left ditto, as in _Rising man_, sliding the
right up and down to various heights.

  Fr. _le rang_; Ger. _der Rang_, _die Würde_.

=Rank, What is his?= Sign _Chief, Big_; _Chief, Little_; _Question_.
Sometimes omit _Chief, Little_.

  Fr. _quel rang-a-t-il?_; Ger. _Welchen Rang bekleidet er?_

=Rapid.= See _Fast_.


=Rapids.= Sign _River_, _Rock_; and pass the right 5 hand, back up,
points first, swiftly forward and down, in an up and down waved course.

  Fr. _le rapide_; Ger. _die Stromschnelle_.


=Rash= (Going forward blind). Hold left hand on eyes and point right G
index forward, moving it to front.

  Fr. _imprudent_; Ger. _unvorsichtig_, _verwegen_.

=Rattlesnake.= Sign _Snake_, then hold right G finger, pointing up, near
shoulder, and shake it.

  Fr. _le serpent à sonnettes_; Ger. _die Klapperschlange_.

=Reach.= _Arrive there._


=Ready=, =Orderly=, or =Arranged=. Extend the open hands, palm to palm,
a few inches apart, pointing outward and parallel to each other, over
toward the left side; lift them both together from the wrists, move
toward the right a little and let them come down again; repeat the
motion until by stages the hands have been moved over to the right side.

=Ready.= Sign _All_, _Good_; or use _Arranged_, or combine them into
_Arranged_, _All_, _Good_. See _Arranged_.

  Fr. _prêt_; Ger. _bereit_, _fertig_.

=Recall to memory.= See _Bring back_.

=Receive.= Hold out hollow right hand, palm up, half open; draw it back,
slightly closing fingers. Compare _Give to me_.

  Fr. _recevoir_; Ger. _erhalten_.


=Recover=, =Get well=, =Get all right again=, =Revive=, or =Save=. Hold
right G hand, back up, in front of breast, pointing to left and front;
raise the hand with a graceful sweep, at same time turn it back to front
and index pointing upward. The actual course of the index tip, if seen
from above, is as in the dotted line under the hand.

If one is near death by disease, this may be used to denote recovery; if
in great danger, this would mean escaped.

  Fr. _se porter mieux_, _se rétablir_; Ger. _sich erholen_.

=Recreation.= See _Play_.

=Reduce.= See _Decrease_.

=Reflect.= See _Idea_ and _Consider_.

=Refuse.= See _Won’t_.

=Religion.= Sign _Medicine_ and _Way_.

  Fr. _la religion_; Ger. _die Religion_.

=Remain.= See _Sit_.


=Remember.= Sign _Heart_, _Know_. Or, in popular code, touch the
forehead with right G, raise the brows and nod.

=Remember, I=; or =Understand=. Hold right G index upright and grasp it
firmly with left hand, face high.

  Fr. _je me souviens_; Ger. _ich erinnere mich_.


=Remember not= (It slips from my grasp). As above, but let the right G
index slip down and out. See _Forget_.

  Fr. _je ne me souviens pas_; Ger. _ich erinnere mich nicht_.

=Remembering.= See _Memories_.


=Repeat=, =Again=, or =Back.= Place the finger tips of the compressed
right hand on the left palm, as the latter is held in front of the body,
back down, and strike once or twice. (Sheeaka. Probably borrowed from
Deaf.) Compare _Once_, _Twice_, _Often_, and _More_.

=Repeat.= Hold up right G, chin high, back up, pointing to left and
forward; lash down with it like a whip twice or more as best fits in.
Sometimes sign _Come back_. Compare _All the time_.

  Fr. _répéter_; Ger. _wiederholen_.

=Reply.= See _Answer_.

=Request.= See _Beg_.

=Resemble.= See _Alike_.

=Respond.= See _Answer_.

=Responsible.= Sign _I_ (or whoever it is), _Do_, _That_ Or _My_ (or
_His_) _Way_. (Seger.) Sign _Carry_ and _That_ (Suggested.)

  Fr. _responsable_; Ger. _verantwortlich_.

=Restaurant= or =Hotel=. Sign for _House_ and _Eat_.

  Fr. _le restaurant_, _l’hôtel_; Ger. _das Restaurant_, _das Hotel_.

=Restrain= or =Prevent=. Sign _Hold_ and _Keep quiet_. Sometimes use _Do

  Fr. _réprimer_, _empêcher_; Ger. _zurückhalten_, _verhindern_.

=Result.= Sign _After, Work, See_.

  Fr. _le résultat_; Ger. _das Ergebnis, die Folge_.

=Retreat= (Of many). Sign _Charge_, then reverse and withdraw the hands.

=Retreat= (Of one). Sign _Going_, then turn the G hand palm toward you
and draw it back with similar action. (Understood; not established.)

  Fr. _la retraite_; Ger. _der Rückzug_.

=Reverie.= Bow the head, resting the mouth on the A fist. Compare

  Fr. _la rêverie_; Ger. _die Träumerei_.

=Revile.= See _Blackguarding_.

=Revive.= See _Recover_.

=Revolver.= Sign for drawing from belt behind and present the same,
using right G hand, back to right. Add _Fire-off_, if need be. See

  Fr. _le pistolet, le revolver_; Ger. _der Revolver_.

=Rich.= Sign _Possesses, Heap, Money_.

  Fr. _riche_; Ger. _reich_.


=Ride= (To ride an animal). Hold the hands as in _Horse_, and then move
the hands to the front on short vertical curves.

  Fr. _aller à cheval_; Ger. _reiten_.


=Ridge= (Of hills). Hold the A hands touching, thumbs toward face and
upright; draw them apart a foot. Compare _Soldiers_ and _Hill_.


=Ridge.= Sign _Hill_ with right, then hold 5 out at arm’s length, face
high, flat, and bent, so the fingers point to the left; swing it slowly
horizontally across to the right. This last seems to mean “lying across
the horizon” and appears in several combinations. See _Mirage_.

  Fr. _la crête_; Ger. _der Kamm_.

=Rifle.= See _Gun_.

=Right.= See _Good_.

=Rill.= See _Creek_.

=Ring= (For finger). Hold up left 5 hand; then with right index and
thumb make as though slipping a ring on the ring finger.

  Fr. _la bague_; Ger. _der Ring_.


=Rising man=, or =Coming man= (Man rising to stand on a hill). Hold up
left as in _Hill_; lay right G behind or beside it, against the thumb,
palm forward, pointing up; push right up until the base of the index is
sitting on top of the left; that is, becomes _Prominent_. See
_Prominent_ and _Famous_.

  Fr. _l’homme qui arrivera_; Ger. _der Mann der Zukunft_.


=River=, =Big stream=, or =Running water=. Sign _Water_ then with
tremulous movement draw flat right 4 hand, palm down, from opposite left
breast to opposite right; fingers always level and pointing to left.
Compare _Creek_ and _Rill_.

  Fr. _la rivière_; Ger. _der Flusz_.


=Road= (i.e., Highroad; especially between high banks, hills, or
fences). Holding the open hands, palm to palm and pointing forward,
carry them forward, as if they represented the sides of a road; then add
_Going_ by pushing the flat right hand forward in line between, palm to
left, fingers level. (Sheeaka.) Or sign _Way_ and _Wagon_.

  Fr. _le chemin_, _la route_; Ger. _der Weg_, _die Landstrasse_.

=Robe.= Sign _Coat_; but instead of ending at waist, sweep the hands as
low as possible.

  Fr. _la robe_; Ger. _das Kleid_, _die Robe_.

=Rock= or =Stone.= Sign _Hard_ and sometimes indicate shape. For _Stone_
add _Lump_. Compare _Metal_.

  Fr. _la roche_, _la pierre_; Ger. _der Fels_, _der Stein_.

=Root.= First sign _Tree_ or _Grass_, as may be; then point down, place
the 5 hands together at the wrists, backs up and level; pointing left to
front and left, right to front and right; then move them out and apart.

  Fr. _la racine_; Ger. _die Wurzel_.


=Rope= (Trailing after the horse and twisted). Sign _After_; then, as
right is drawn to rear, make tip of index describe a spiral curve.
Commonly omit the left hand.

  Fr. _la corde_; Ger. _das Seil_, _der Strick_.


=Rose= (Flower). Hold the fingers of the left hand straight, little
separated, arranged in a circle, back to left and front; in front of
body, index finger horizontal and pointing to right and front; with
right hand make as though picking berries from the left finger tips. (C)

  Fr. _la rose_; Ger. _die Rose_.

=Rotten= (Meat). Indicate smell, etc.

  Fr. _pourri_; Ger. _faul_, _verfault_.

=Rub it out=, =Erase=, =Annul=, =Never mind=, =As you were=. Put middle
finger of right hand to tongue, then rub left palm and wipe the palm
with under side of right forearm. (Sheeaka. A white man’s sign now
understood by Indians.)

Or, if afar, simply shake the flat right hand quickly and vigorously
from side to side as it is held palm forward in front of the face.
(Pop.) Compare _Easy_ and _Erase_.

  Fr. _effacer_; Ger. _auswischen_, “_Schwamm drüber!_”


=Rumor= (A little flying thing). With flat 5 right hand, palm down,
shoulder high, swing out level from throat to right, working all the
fingers as in playing piano. (A Paiute sign, given me by Mary Austin.) A
combination of _Wind_ and _Fly_.

  Fr. _la rumeur_; Ger. _das Gerücht_.

=Run.= Swing the fists at each side as in running.

  Fr. _courir_; Ger. _laufen_.

=Run against.= See _Quandary_.


=Run away=, =Slip away=, =Clear out=, =Sneak= (Run under cover). Hold
out flat left hand, palm down; push right G hand under it quickly and
sinuously. Sometimes preface it by laying one hand over the eyes.
Compare _Jealous_.

  Fr. _filer_, _se sauver_; Ger. _ausreiszen_, _weglaufen_.

=Running Water.= See _River_.


=Sacred.= See _Medicine_.

=Sad.= See _Sorrow_.


=Saddle.= Hold out both S hands, palms up, side by side (sometimes
inches apart), about height of shoulders, forearms vertical, wrists bent
so backs of hands are nearly down.

  Fr. _la selle_; Ger. _der Sattel_.

=Safe.= See _Recover_ or _Alive_.

=Sage Brush= (Bunches). With all finger tips together pointing up, swing
the hand to various places in front of right shoulder. (C) Compare
_Peak_ and _Canoe_.


=Sage.= Sign _White_, _Good smell_, _Grass_.

  Fr. _la plante aromatique de la prairie_; Ger. _der Präriebusch_.

=Salt.= Sign _Powder_, then the act of sprinkling with finger and thumb.
(Blackfoot.) Touch the tongue cautiously with the right G. Compare
_Sugar_ and _Pepper_.

  Fr. _le sel_; Ger. _das Salz_.

=Same.= See _Equal_.

=Sanctuary, to claim.= See _Bar up_.

=Satisfied.= See _Contented_.

=Save.= See _Recover_, also _Free_.

=Save= or =Except=. See _But_.

=Savey= or =Sabe=. This word universal in the west is the same sign as

=Saw.= With lower edge of right, thumb up, saw across the upper edge of
left wrist held out horizontally.

  Fr. _la scie_; Ger. _die Säge_.

=Say.= See _Call_.

=Scalp= (To). Point to scalp, make as though pulling it forward and sign
_Cutting_ under. The last two gestures being done out in front of the

  Fr. _scalper_; Ger. _die Kopfhaut abziehen_.

=Scatter!= (A command to scouts). See _Go_ and _Scatter_.


=Scatter= or =Sow= (As seeds). Hold the closed hands, backs up, near
each other and close to breast; move right hand well to front and right,
left well to front and left; that is, widely separate the hands,
swinging each in a half-circle out, so the palms are a little outward,
at the same time extending and separating fingers and thumbs. (C)
Compare _Bad_ and _Scorn_; in these the hands are not moved apart.

=Scatter.= Swing closed right to left, there opening to 5 so palm is to
left and forward; then same movement with hand opened to right, each
time in a graceful sweep. The Cheyennes say the above is _Throw away_.

  Fr. _disperser_, _semer_; Ger. _ausstreuen_, _säen_.

=Schoolhouse.= Sign _House_ and _Writing_; usually preceded by

  Fr. _l’école_; Ger. _die Schule_.


=Schoolteacher.= Sign _Book_ and _Chief_.

  Fr. _le maître d’ école_; Ger. _der Lehrer_.

=Scold.= See _Abuse_; also _Fault-finding_.

=Scorn.= Turn the head away and with one hand throw an imaginary handful
of sand toward the feet of the person. This is the same as _Bad_, except
for the turn of the head.

  Fr. _le mépris_; Ger. _die Verachtung_.


=Scout.= Same as _Wolf_, but hold the hand near the right ear. Sometimes
use _Advance Guard_, which see. The Cheyennes sometimes sign it as
_Wolf_, _Soldier_.

  Fr. _le coureur_ (_d’ armée_); Ger. _der Späher_.

=Scout, to.= Sign _Wolf_ and _Look_.

  Fr. _aller à la découverte_; Ger. _spähen_.


=Scout=; that is, _Boy Scout_. Hold up the right hand with finger and
thumb forming a ring, other three fingers straight up. (Pop.)

  Fr. _le petit éclaireur_; Ger. _der jugendliche Pfadfinder_.

=Scout=; of the _highest degree_. Add the sign _Wolf_ to the foregoing.


=Scout leader= or =Patrol leader=. Sign _Boy Scout_; then lay the 4 left
hand on left side of head to indicate plume. (Suggested.)

=Scout, Tenderfoot.= Make signs _Boy Scout_ and _Small_. (Suggested.)

=Sculptor.= Right fist closed, thumb held up straight and free, then
used as a trowel on an imaginary wall. (Pop.)

  Fr. _le sculpteur_; Ger. _der Bildhauer_.

=Search me.= With a hand grasping each lapel, spread open the coat.

  Fr. _examinez-moi_; Ger. _was weisz ich?_ (Pop.)

=Seasons.= The four seasons are _Little Grass_ (_Spring_); _High Grass_
(_Summer_); _Leaf Fall_ (_Autumn_); and _Cold_ or _Snow_ (_Winter_).
Each is given in alphabetic place.

=Secret= or =Private= (Talk under cover). Left hand flat, horizontal,
near left cheek; with right, sign _Talk_ under it. Usually sign _Talk_
and _Hide_.

  Fr. _le secret_; Ger. _das Geheimnis_.

=Seek.= See _Hunt_.


=See.= The fingers of V hand pointed forward (as in _Look_) then
advanced a little in the line of sight; sometimes for extra point, it is
changed into G hand and pushed forward. Also compare _Hunt_ and _Lie_,
_Look_ and _Find_. The difference between _Look_ and _See_ is not
observed by most Indians; but it is well to maintain it.

  Fr. _voir_; Ger. _sehen_.

=See me.= Point at one’s own chin with the right V hand and touch

  Fr. _voyez-moi_; Ger. _sehen Sie mich_.

=Seem.= See _Appear_.


=Seize.= Move the open hands forward; grasp and draw back as though
seizing some object.

  Fr. _saisir_; Ger. _ergreifen_.

=Select.= See _Choose_.

=Sell.= See _Trade_. On the Stock Exchange, the clenched fist thrown
forward and down means _Sell_. Probably in imitation of the auctioneer’s
hammer. See _Kill_.

=Sell=, =Sold= or =Bought= i.e., =Marketed=. On middle of side of left G
held out, tap two or three times with middle side of right G. This is
also used for _Buy_, which see for illustration. It is supposed to have
had origin in an old gambling game. See _Trade_.

  Fr. _vendre_; Ger. _verkaufen_.


=Send= (Command and Go). Hold the right A near the breast; swing it out,
up and down a foot; then swing the right G higher and farther.

  Fr. _envoyer_; Ger. _senden_, _schicken_.


=Separate= or =Apart=. Lay the G fingers side by side, backs up; spring
them apart, widest at tips, moving them forward and out.

  Fr. _séparer_; Ger. _trennen_.

=Several.= Extend the fingers of the right A hand, one at a time,
beginning with the index. (Sheeaka.)

  Fr. _plusieurs_; Ger. _mehrere_.


=Sew.= Hold flat left hand index edge up, thumb level with index; move
right G hand index with extended thumb, across left index once or twice
as in sewing; each time nearer the body and each time turning the right
index nail down, as it is moved forward. Compare _Awl_.

  Fr. _coudre_; Ger. _nähen_.

=Shade.= Sign _Sun_, _Not_.

=Shadow= (Of a person). Indicate the person; then sign _Going_, _There
by me_, _Same_. _There by me_ is indicated by pointing to the ground on
the left side with right G.

  Fr. _l’ombre_; Ger. _der Schatten_.

=Shall.= See _Will_.

=Shaman.= See _Medicine-man_.

=Shame= (On you). (The finger of scorn made sharper.) Point left index
at person, all others closed; and with right index similarly held, rub
it on back of left index from middle to tip and beyond. (Pop.) See
_Ashamed_. In France the idea is conveyed by the _Horns_. See _Evil

  Fr. _fi! fi donc!_ (Pop.); Ger. _Schäme dich!_


=Sharp= or =Keen=. Hold out flat right hand, palm up; touch little
finger edge lightly with ball of left thumb and add _Good_. For _Sharp
points_ see _Porcupine_.

  Fr. _affílé_; Ger. _scharf_.

=Shave.= Use the flat right hand as a razor, palm to right, points up,
little finger next right cheek as the edge; move it toward the right

  Fr. (_se_) _raser_; Ger. (_sich_) _rasieren_.

=Shawl.= Sign _Blanket_ and _Fringe_. For _Fringe_, hold out the left 5
hand points forward, level; then push the similar right over it forward
several times.

  Fr. _le châle_; Ger. _der Schal_.

=She.= Sign _Female_ and point with G finger at the person.

  Fr. _elle_; Ger. _sie_.


=Sheep, Mountain=, or =Bighorn=. With compressed hands above each eye,
pointed backward, trace the sweep of horns, ending below ears, with
points turned forward.

  Fr. _le mouton sauvage_; Ger. _das amerikanische Groszhornschaf_.

=Sheep, Common.= Sign _Bighorn_ and _White Man_.

  Fr. _le mouton_; Ger. _das Schaf_.

=Shell.= Hold the curved hands side by side, close and open them on the
under side, as though hinged on top. Compare _Boat_, _Book_, _Bowl_, and

  Fr. _la coquille_; Ger. _die Muschelschale_.

=Shield= (Noun). With both L hands a little apart, index fingers pointed
down, make a large incomplete circle to left of left breast. See

  Fr. _le bouclier_; Ger. _der Schild_.


=Shine=, =Shimmer=, or =Glitter=. Hold out the curved right 5 hand, palm
down; lower it slightly, shaking it quickly sidewise. Compare _Snow_,
_Glitter_, and _Easy_.

  Fr. _briller_, _étinceler_; Ger. _scheinen_, _glänzen_.


=Ship.= Raise and spread thumb and two first fingers to be masts, others
closed; then push the hand forward slowly in a rising and falling line.
(Deaf sign for _Sailing Ship_. For Indian sign see _Boat_, _Big_.)

  Fr. _le navire_; Ger. _das Schiff_.

=Shoe.= Sign _Moccasin_, _White Man_.

  Fr. _le soulier_; Ger. _der Schuh_.

=Shoot= (A gun). See _Fire_.

=Shoot= (An arrow). Sign _Bow_, then snap the index fingers out
straight. To add _Hit with an arrow_, hold up the flat left and thrust
the right G through it.

  Fr. _lancer_ (_une flèche_); Ger. _schieszen_.

=Shop.= See _Store_.

=Short.= For things which grow, hold the flat hand back forward, fingers
pointing up at desired height. For things which do not grow, use the
flat hand, palm down; or else, both flat hands side by side, palm to
palm. The same as _Low_.

  Fr. _court_; Ger. _kurz_.

=Shot-gun.= See _Gun_.

=Shout.= See _Yell_.

=Show=, =Prove=, =Proof=, or =Behold=. Raise flat left hand, palm
forward. Lay index of right G on it and turn the two about, pushing them
forward as though to show something. (Sheeaka. Borrowed from the Deaf.)

=Show=, =Prove=, =Proof=, or =Behold=. Hold out the flat left, palm up,
pointing forward and down. Point to the person in question with right G,
then at left palm with right V.

  Fr. _montrer_; Ger. _zeigen_.


=Sick=, =Suffering=, =Sick one=, or =Invalid= (Throbbing). Hold flat
hands out near breast; move the hands quickly outward and back several
times. Compare _Lungs_.

  Fr. _malade_; Ger. _krank_.

=Side by Side.= See _Parallel_.

=Sign Language=, =To talk in Sign Language=. Touch the back of left hand
with tip of right, the back of right with tip of left and add _Talk_.

  Fr. _le langage des signes_; Ger. _die Gebärdensprache_.


=Silence=, =Silent=, or =Hush=. Lay the extended index, pointing upward,
over the mouth. In the more vigorous form of _Shut up_, lay the flat
hand on the mouth (recent).

  Fr. _silence!_ _taisez-vous!_; Ger. _schweigen!_ _still!_

=Silly.= See _Foolish_.

=Silver.= Sign _Money_ and _White_.

  Fr. _l’argent_; Ger. _das Silbergeld_.

=Sin= or =Badness=. Same as _Bad_. See _Evil_.

=Since.= See _After_.


=Sing.= Hold right V hand, back to right, in front of face; finger tips
a little higher than and close to mouth, pointing nearly up. Move the
hand briskly so finger tips describe a small horizontal circle. Compare
_Lie_ and _Abuse_.

  Fr. _chanter_; Ger. _singen_.

=Sioux.= See _Indian_.

=Sister.= Sign _Woman_ and _Brother_.

  Fr. _la soeur_; Ger. _die Schwester_.

=Sister-in-law.= Sign _Brother-in-law_ and _Woman_.

  Fr. _la belle-soeur_; Ger. _die Schwägerin_.


=Sit=, =Sit down=, or =Remain=. Hold the right A hand in front of and a
little lower than right shoulder, back to right; move the hand
emphatically downward a few inches. Compare _Wait_ and _Aboard_.

  Fr. _s’asseoir_; Ger. _sitzen_.

=Skin.= See _Hide_.

=Skinny.= See _Lean_.


=Skunk= or =Polecat=. Indicate _Size_ and tail up; that is, curving G
up, palm forward; move in gentle jerks forward, and then add _Smell_,
_Bad_. Compare _Weasel_.

  Fr. _la bête puante_, _la mouffette_; Ger. _das amerikanische_

=Sky.= See _Heavens_.

=Sled= or =Sleigh= (The runners). Both G hands, backs down, 4 inches
apart; index fingers curved and pushed forward. The idea is helped by
_Snow_ on _Ground_.

  Fr. _le traineau_; Ger. _der Schlitten_.


=Sleep.= Hold both flat hands, backs up, in front of breast, same level;
swing both over to the left in an up and down curve, in which the right
(only) turns palm up; the left continues back up; then lower the head a
little to right. Some finish with both palms up.

Journeys are one sleep, two sleeps, etc., on the Plains.

  Fr. _le sommeil_, _dormir_; Ger. _der Schlaf_, _schlafen_.

=Sleepy.= Rub the eyes with the fists. (Pop.) Or yawn and lay the head
on one side, closing the eyes. (Sheeaka.) Both of these are understood
by the Cheyennes, but they use _Want_, _Sleep_.

  Fr. _avoir sommeil_; Ger. _schläfrig_.


=Slow.= Hold out the flat left hand, palm to right; ditto right hand
opposite, palm to left; in slow jerks, move the left hand forward; at
the same time, jerk the right, making the latter fall behind. Compare

  Fr. _lent_; Ger. _langsam_.


=Small=, =Few=, or =Crowded=. Compress both hands so the fingers are
straight, but at an angle with the back of the hand; hold them about
eight inches apart, backs out, pointed up and forward, right higher;
move them together till the right is over the left. Sometimes the
Cheyennes made this sign with the closed fists to mean _Few_. Compare

  Fr. _peu_; Ger. _wenig_.

=Smaller, to make.= See _Decrease_.

=Smart.= See _Cunning_.


=Smell.= Hold V hand, back up, fingers pointing to chin; swing fingers
up so the nose passes between them. Compare _Blood_ and _Brother_. Place
the palm close before the tip of the nose. (Pop.)

  Fr. _sentir_; Ger. _riechen_.

=Smell=, =A bad smell=, or =Stink=. Sign _Smell_ and hold the nostrils,
or sign _Bad_. (Sheeaka.)

  Fr. _la mauvaise odeur_, _la puanteur_; Ger. _der üble_ _Geruch_,
  _der Gestank_.

=Smell=, =A good smell=. Sign _Smell_ and _Good_.

  Fr. _la bonne odeur_; Ger. _der gute Geruch_, _der Duft_.

=Smoke.= For distant smoke, like a signal-fire smoke, make sign for
_Fire_ and continue raising hand in a spiral till higher than head.

  Fr. _la fumée_; Ger. _der Rauch_.


=Smoke a pipe= (Action of filling it). Hold up the left A, thumb up, tap
on top two or three times with flat right, then add _Pipe_, jerking it
forward two or three times.

  Fr. _fumer_ (_une pipe_); Ger. _rauchen_ (_eine Pfeife_).

=Smoke a cigarette.= Put index and thumb to mouth as though holding a
cigarette. (Blackfoot.)


=Smooth= or =Level=. Rub the back of the flat left hand, held palm down,
with whole palm of the flat right, back and forth, in long strokes.
Sometimes use _Prairie_. Compare _Indian_ and _At_.

  Fr. _lisse_; Ger. _glatt_.

=Smooth Ground.= See _Prairie_.


=Snake= (Its motion). Hold the right H (or sometimes G) hand, back to
right, waist high, fingers pointing to front; move it several inches to
front in a sinuous line from side to side. Compare _Fish_, _Creek_, and

  Fr. _le serpent_; Ger. _die Schlange_.

=Sneak.= See _Run away_.


=Snow.= Raise and spread both hands a foot apart, backs up, fingers
curved; then softly lower them in slow, short zigzags. For _Rain_, the
lines down are straight. _Years_ are commonly called _Snows_ or
_Winters_. Compare _Shimmer_.

  Fr. _la neige_; Ger. _der Schnee_.


=So=, =Just so= (That’s true). Swing the right G index from 45 degree
angle down to level; then add _Straight_, swinging index up slightly at
finish. Sometimes sign _Yes_. Compare _Idea_.

  Fr. _si_, _précisément cela_; Ger. _so_, _jawohl_.


=So that=; =In order that= (So, that). Strike down a foot with the right
G in front of breast, then strike it on the left flat hand held opposite
left breast. (Sheeaka.)

  Fr. _de sorte que_, _pour_; Ger. _um_, _damit_.

=Soap.= Rub the hands together as in washing them.

  Fr. _le savon_; Ger. _die Seife_.


=Soft or Muddy Ground= (Animal’s legs going down). Form a horizontal
half-circle of left index and thumb; drop the right fist into it;
reverse the hands and repeat.

  Fr. _la terre molle_, _la boue_; Ger. _die weiche Erde_, _der

=Soft=, in general. Sign _Hard_ and _Not_.

  Fr. _mou_; Ger. _weich_.

=Soil.= See _Earth_.


=Soldiers= (In a row, spread out). Hold the flattened fists out in
front, side by side, backs up so basal joints of the fingers are nearly
level and the middle joints form a row; then swing them apart.

In many whose fingers are stiff the row is made with the basal joints
plumb, as in the upper cut; but the correct way is as below.

“This represents the line of the Indian soldiers that, pending the order
to charge, held back the people in the buffalo hunt.” (Scott.) Compare
_Ridge_, _Done_, and _Fat_.

  Fr. _les soldats_; Ger. _die Soldaten_.

=Some= (Here and there one). Point with index finger downward and at
some near spot on the ground, then change to another farther off, then
to another. (Scott.)

  Fr. _quelques_; Ger. _einige_.


=Some=, =A part of=. Hold out level flat left, back forward and out; lay
flat right thumb up on left index near the tip; then jerk it toward tip
and beyond. This is much like _Halve_; but the right is casually brushed
along the edge of the left and at no time precisely placed.

  Fr. _du_; Ger. _etwas_.


=Sometimes= (Different times). Sign _Time_, moving the hands apart in
short jerks. (Seger.) Compare _By and by_.

  Fr. _quelquefois_; Ger. _zuweilen_.


=Somewhere.= Hold right G up near right shoulder; swing it in a curve up
and down to opposite left shoulder and back. Also used in the question

  Fr. _quelque part_; Ger. _irgendwo(hin)_.

=Son.= Sign _Born_ and _Male_.

  Fr. _le fils_; Ger. _der Sohn_.

=Song= or =Poem= (Written singing). Sign for _Sing_ and _Write_.

  Fr. _la chanson_; Ger. _das Lied_.


=Soon= or =Early=. Sign _Time_, then stop with the fingers an inch
apart. Compare _Sometimes_, _Time_, _By and by_, _Close_.


=Sorrow=, =Distress=, =Discouraged=, =Down-hearted=, =Sadness=, or =Sad=
(Heart on the ground). Lay the right compressed hand on the heart,
pointing down; then throw it forward and down, ending the sign with the
flat hand very low, palm up, near the ground.

  Fr. _le chagrin_, _la douleur_; Ger. _das Leid_.


=Sorry= (It grinds my heart). Rub the fist on heart in circle two or
three times. (Blackfoot.)

This is less strong than _Sorrow_ and is used as a polite expression of
interest, equivalent to “What a pity.” (Eastman.) See also _Trouble_.

  Fr. _j’en suis fâché_; Ger. _leid tun_, _es thut mir leid_.

=Soul.= See _Spirit_.

=Sour.= See _Bitter_.

=Sow.= See _Sew_.

=Sow Seeds.= See _Scatter_.

=Spark.= See _Fire_.

=Speak.= See _Talk_.

=Spear.= Make as though thrusting a spear with both hands.

  Fr. _la lance_; Ger. _der Speer_.


=Speech=, =Message=, or =Talk=. That is, a long talk, as at council, by
oneself. (Handing out words.) Hold the flat right hand, back down,
pointing to left, at lower lip and swing it forward several times.
Compare _Discussion_ and _Talk_.

  Fr. _la harangue_; Ger. _die Rede_.

=Speech to me= or =Tell me=. Speech by another addressed to oneself is
the same as the preceding, but swing the right hand in toward the chin
instead of out. Compare _Drink_, _Water_, _Discussion_, and _Talk_.

=Spell=, that is, =Spell it=. Make writing in the air, then sign _Talk_.

  Fr. _écrivez le_; Ger. _buchstabieren Sie es_.


=Spider.= Hold the palm of the right hand about one and a half inches
from a flat surface; spread the fingers and thumb and work them like
legs; the hand represents the body. (Scott.) Compare _Bunch_ and _Herd_.

  Fr. _l’araignée_; Ger. _die Spinne_.

=Spirit= or =Petrole= (Water of strong power). There is no established
sign; but Sheeaka understood this combination: _Water_ and _Strong_. A
Cheyenne gave it _Lantern_, _Different_, _Strong_, _Pour_.

  Fr. _l’essence_, _le pétrole_; Ger. _das Benzin_.

=Splendor.= See _Glow_.

=Spoon.= Use the cupped right hand as a spoon.

  Fr. _la cuiller_; Ger. _der Löffel_.


=Spotted.= Hold out the level left arm and with right curved 5 hand
finger tips tap the left arm at various places on the inside, from the
wrist up, as though flecking it with the tip of a brush, at both up and
down strokes. Compare _Striped_.

  Fr. _tacheté_; Ger. _getupfelt_.


=Spring= (Water coming up and spreading). Make the sign for _Water_,
then a large horizontal circle with L hands (as in _Hole_); then push
the right compressed hand up through the left L hand and, as it comes
up, extend the fingers with a slight snap to represent the bubbling

  Fr. _la source_; Ger. _die Quelle_.

=Spring= (Little grass time). Sign _Grass_ and _Short_. Add _Time_ if
there is doubt.

Show longer grass for June, etc.

  Fr. _le printemps_; Ger. _der Frühling_.

=Squeeze.= See _Few_.


=Squirrel.= Hold both compressed hands near the mouth and give a quick
motion of the lips. (Ruggles.) Or sign _Tree_ with left hand, then with
compressed right hand as in _Animal_ indicate running up and around.

  Fr. _l’écureuil_; Ger. _das Eichhörnchen_.

=Squirrel, Flying.= Sign _Squirrel_, _Fly_; and then with right hand
flat, palm down, simulate flight down and up in a long sweep. This is
merely a description, not an established sign.

  Fr. _l’écureuil volant_; Ger. _das Flughörnchen_.

=Stand= (As a man). Make right V hand stand on left palm, the fingers
representing legs. For an animal, use all four fingers of right. See

  Fr. _se tenir debout_; Ger. _stehen_.


=Stand up= (As a tree or pole). Hold G hand, back forward, erect over
shoulder. Compare _Tall_ and _Up_.

  Fr. _être debout_; Ger. _aufrecht stehen_.


=Star.= Make the sign for _Night_, then cross the right G with left G
near the tips and hold up high. Some flirt the index tip from behind the
curved thumb in different directions up high, to mean twinkling. This is
nearly like _Talk up high_.

  Fr. _l’étoile_; Ger. _der Stern_.

=Stay.= Sign _Stop_, _Wait_, and _Sit down_.

  Fr. _rester_; Ger. _bleiben_.


=Steal= (To seize under cover). Hold out flat left hand pointing out,
back up; reach right G hand under wrist, then draw it back with a sweep,
curving it into a hook at the same time.

  Fr. _voler_; Ger. _stehlen_.

=Steamboat.= Sign _Boat_, _Big_, _Fire_, holding the hand above the
forehead for the last.

  Fr. _le bateau à vapeur_; Ger. _das Dampfboot_.

=Stingy.= See _Mean_.

=Stink.= Sign _Bad Smell_.

=Stir.= Hold left as in C, back out, and make as though stirring its
contents with a ladle held in right. Compare _Tea_.

  Fr. _remuer_; Ger. _rühren_.

=Stone.= Sign _Rock_ and _Lump_.

=Stop.= See _Halt_.

=Stop= or =Full Stop=. See _Period_.

=Store= or =Shop=. Sign _House_ and _Trade_.

  Fr. _le magasin_, _la boutique_; Ger. _der Laden_.

=Storm.= Sign _Strong_ then _Wind_, shaking the fingers when opened and
sometimes adding the sound of blowing.

  Fr. _l’orage_, _la tempéte_; Ger. _der Sturm_.

=Story.= See _History_.

=Straight.= See _Honest_; also _True_.

=Stranger.= Sign, _My_, _People_, _Not_. Or _Man_, _Different_.

  Fr. _l’étranger_; Ger. _der Fremde_.

=Stream.= See _River_.


=Strike.= Hold out flat left, palm up; strike it with the edge of flat
right hand. Compare _Chop_ and _Kill_.

  Fr. _frapper_; Ger. _schlagen_.

=Strike, To make a.= See _Count Coup_.


=Striped.= Hold out flat left with forearm level and draw the right flat
palm across it at different points on the upper side. Compare _Spotted_.

  Fr. _rayé_; Ger. _gestreift_.


=Strong.= With left fist, back out, grasp an imaginary stick; then also
grasp it four inches higher with right fist, back in. Give a strong
outward twist to the right, finishing with the right fist below the left
and back downward. The left is not moved. This means physically strong
in most cases, and few Indians distinguish this from _Very much_; which
see. Compare _Little_.

  Fr. _fort_; Ger. _stark_.


=Subtract= or =Take from=. Holding out the flat left, palm toward you,
with all the right fingers and thumb make as though seizing something on
the left palm; draw the right to you and down. (Sheeaka. Borrowed from
the Deaf.) Compare _Place_.

  Fr. _soustraire_; Ger. _abziehen_.

=Succeed.= Sign _Push_, _Work_, and _Finish_. Compare _Fail_.

  Fr. _réussir_; Ger. _Erfolg haben_.

=Suffering.= See _Sick_.


=Sugar= or =Sweet.= Rub the tongue with tips of extended index and
second finger of right hand, then add _Good_. Compare _Salt_ and

  Fr. _le sucre_; Ger. _der Zucker_.

=Sullen= or =Sulky=. Sign _Heart_, _Angry_, _Hide_. (Blackfoot.) See

=Summer= (Time of high grass). Sign _High_, _Grass_. Or sometimes sign
_Hot_ only.

  Fr. _l’été_; Ger. _der Sommer_.


=Sun.= Form a circle with index and thumb of right hand; hold hand
toward east and swing it in a great up-curve toward the west. In
conversation, the circle is often incomplete.

  Fr. _le soleil_; Ger. _die Sonne_.

  =Sunday.= Sign _Day_ and _Medicine_.

    Fr. _le dimanche_; Ger. _der Sonntag_.

  =Monday= is _Day after Medicine Day_.

    Fr. _le lundi_; Ger. _der Montag_.

  =Tuesday= is _Two Days after Medicine Day_.

    Fr. _le mardi_; Ger. _der Dienstag_.

  =Wednesday= is _Three Days after Medicine Day_.

    Fr. _le mercredi_; Ger. _der Mittwoch_.

  =Thursday= is _Four Days after Medicine Day_.

    Fr. _le jeudi_; Ger. _der Donnerstag_.

  =Friday= is _Two Days before Medicine Day_.

    Fr. _le vendredi_; Ger. _der Freitag_.

  =Saturday= is _Little Medicine Day_.

    Fr. _le samedi_ Ger. _der Sonnabend_.


=Sunrise.= Make a ring of the right index and thumb, others closed,
level, at full length toward the east; then raise it, chiefly by wrist
action, so the ring is nearly at an angle of 45 degrees.

  Fr. _le lever du soleil_; Ger. _der Sonnenaufgang_.

=Sunset.= The reverse of Sunrise; that is, hold the ring to the west and
swing it down from 45 degrees to level or lower.

  Fr. _le coucher du soleil_; Ger. _der Sonnenuntergang_.


=Superior= or =Higher= (One above another). Hold both G fingers side by
side, upright, one of them higher to represent the person or thing. When
it is _One above many_ use the left “5” hand instead of left G. See
_Rising Man_, also _Chief_.

  Fr. _supérieur_; Ger. _höher_ (_stehend_), _vorgesetzt_.

=Superlative.= See _Comparative_; also _Very much_.

=Supper.= Sign _Night_ and _Eat_.

  Fr. _le souper_; Ger. _das Abendessen_.


=Surprise=, =You surprise me=. Hold flat hand on the mouth. This can be
made stronger by using both hands. Sometimes also for emphasis precede
this with a slap down of the flat right on the flat left, palm to palm.
See _Astonishment_.

  Fr. _étonner_; Ger. _überraschen_.


=Surrender= or =Give up=. (No weapons.) Hold both 5 hands, palms
forward, at height of head. Sometimes one hand only.

  Fr. _rendre, se rendre_; Ger. _sich ergeben_.


=Surround= or =Encircle=. Hold out both L hands at arm’s length, then
swing them together to form a level circle. See _Enclosure_.

  Fr. _entourer_; Ger. _umgeben_.

=Swap.= See _Trade_.

=Swear.= See _Oath_.


=Sweat.= Draw the hooked right index across the brow as though wiping
off sweat. See _Hot_.

  Fr. _la sueur_; Ger. _der Schweisz_.

=Sweat Lodge= or =Turkish Bath=. Sign _Medicine_ and _Wickey up_. (C) Or
with 5 hands indicate the shape beginning at top, then sign _Open_,
_Enter_, _Sweat_.

  Fr. _le sudatorium_, _le bain turc_; Ger. _das Schwitzbad_.

=Sweet.= See _Sugar_.

=Sweetheart= or =Lover=. Touch G to lips and add _Heart_. (Modern, but
now in general use among Cheyenne boys.)


=Sweetheart= or =Lover=. Thrust the right L hand forward, level, back up
and to right, turning slowly by wrist action so the thumb rises two or
three inches up and down on the axis of the index. Compare _Courting_
and _Glitter_.

  Fr. _le bien-aimé_; Ger. _der Geliebte_.

=Swift.= See _Fast_.


=Swim= (Probably to suggest a fish tail in action). That is, “Will you
come in swimming?” Hold right hand as high as the face, back forward,
all fingers closed except index and middle, these are spread like V and
pointed to left. Move the hand a little to right (Pop.)

  Fr. _nager_; Ger. _schwimmen_.

=Swimming=. Sign Water, then strike out with hands as in swimming.

  Fr. _nageant_; Ger. _schwimmend_.

=Swoop.= See _Dive_.


=Table= (Flat top, square shape). Swing flat hands, palms down, as in
_Broad_ turn sharply and draw both toward you; with a V hand on each
side, strike down for legs, then sign _On_ and _Eat_. A description, not
an established sign.

  Fr. _la table_; Ger. _der Tisch_.


=Tail.= Right G hand, back up, at left side, pointing back and down.

  Fr. _la queue_; Ger. _der Schwanz_.


=Take= or =Bring= (From some one else). Reach out the G hand, hook the
index and draw it toward you, in and upward, as though pulling a string
up and back. Compare _Steal_.

  Fr. _prendre_ (_de quelqu’un_); Ger. _nehmen_ (_von Jemandem_).

=Take= (From oneself). The same, but point index toward body, hook it
and draw away.

  Fr. _prendre_ (_de soi-même_); Ger. _nehmen_ (_von sich selber_).

=Take from.= See _Subtract_.


=Talk= or =Say= (A little talk). Hold right hand under mouth, index and
thumb tips together, pointing forward, and move slightly forward,
snapping the index from behind the thumb two or three times. Compare
_Called_, _Telltale_, _Speech_, _Bark_.

  Fr. _parler_; Ger. _sprechen_.


=Talk, to me.= Make the same gesture as above, but point and draw the
hand toward the cheek.


=Tall= or =High=. Move the flat right straight up to arm’s length, back

  Fr. _grand_, _haut_; Ger. _hoch_, _grosz_.


=Tangle= or =Tangled=. Revolve the 5 hands, in and out, one about the
other. Compare _Play_.

  Fr. _embrouiller_; Ger. _verwirren_.


=Taste.= Join the first finger and thumb, rest their points on the lower
lip and work the lips. Compare _Salt_, _Sugar_, _Sour_, and _Bitter_.

  Fr. _goûter_; Ger. _schmecken_.

=Taste bad= (To taste and throw away). Sign _Taste_ and _Bad_. (Seger.)

  Fr. _avoir un goût mauvais_; Ger. _schlecht schmecken_.

=Tattler.= See _Telltale_.


=Tattoo.= Tap the place with all five finger tips in a point.

  Fr. _tatouer_; Ger. _tätowieren_.


=Tea= (Stirring it). Trace the rim of the left O hand with the thumb and
finger tip of the right O hand, other fingers extended. (Sheeaka.)
Compare _Stir_. Or sign _Leaf_, _Drink_.

  Fr. _le thé_; Ger. _der Tee_.

=Teacher.= Sign _Writing_ and _Chief_. See also _Guide_.

  Fr. _le professeur_; Ger. _der Lehrer_.

=Team.= Sign _Horse_, _Two_; with L hand indicate _Halter_ and add
_Coat_ for _Harness_.

  Fr. _l’attelage_; Ger. _das Gespann_.


=Teepee= or =Lodge=. Cross the tips of the G fingers held high. In
_Tent_ they are not crossed.

  Fr. _la loge (la hutte) des Indiens_; Ger. _die Indianerhütte_.

=Telegraph.= On forefinger of left G hand, palm up, tap with crooked
forefinger of right hand, as though telegraphing; then shoot it along
left forefinger and on in line. (Crow sign, La Forge.)


=Telegraph.= Sign _Wire_, then tap on it two or three times with right G
and add _Talk_, shooting it far ahead.

  Fr. _le télégraphe_; Ger. _der Telegraph_.

=Telephone.= Sign _Wire_; raise O hand to the ear like the receiver,
then add _Talk_.

  Fr. _le téléphone_; Ger. _der Fernsprecher_.

=Tell about.= See _Explain_ and _Speech_.

=Tell me.= See _Talk_ and _Speech_.


=Tell-tale=, =Tattling=, or =Tattle= (Magpie or Chatterer). Make a bill
with forefinger and thumb; hold it at the mouth, pointing forward; open
and shut it, but do not advance it. Note, it does not get anywhere;
_Talk_ does.

  Fr. _le rapporteur_; Ger. _der Ausplauderer_.

=Tenderfoot.= Make signs for _Scout_ and _Little_. (Scott.)

  Fr. _le novice_; Ger. _der Neuling_.

=Tense=, of verbs, indicated by _Now_, _Time Back_, and _Future_, that
is _Time Ahead_.


=Tent.= Like _Teepee_, but do not cross the fingers. Sometimes add
_White Man_.

  Fr. _la tente_; Ger. _das Zelt_.

=Than.= See _As_.


=Thank you=, or =Gratitude=. Raise the open right hand within a foot of
the face, back down and to right; then carry it outward and downward
toward person, bowing at same time (Pop). For this the Cheyennes use one
hand as in _Gratitude_, which see. Sign _Give_, _Good_. (Blackfoot.)

  Fr. _merci_, _je vous remercie_, _la gratitude_; Ger. _ich danke
  dir_ (or _Ihnen_), _die Dankbarkeit_.

=That.= Point with right G at the person or thing. Compare _This_,
_There_, and _Yonder_.

  Fr. _ce ... là_; Ger. _der_, _jener_.


=That= or =Which=, relative pronoun (The one behind that). Left L hand
pointing to right. Lay right forefinger on end of left, then turn it up
and back to touch the thumb. (D)

  Fr. _qui_, _que_, _lequel_; Ger. _welcher_.


=That place.= Hold out right G, back up, at arm’s length, face high,
pointing forward; strike it down three or four times, chiefly by finger
action. Compare _Then_ and _Here_.

  Fr. _là_; Ger. _da_, _dort_.

=Theatre=. Sign _House_, _Look_, _Big_, _Many_. (Sheeaka.)

  Fr. _le théâtre_; Ger. _das Theater_.

=Their=. See _Possession_.


=Then= (That time). Swing right G, point first, forward and down in an
18-inch curve. Compare _Yonder_ and _That place_.

  Fr. _alors_; Ger. _damals_.


=There.= Simply point with middle finger, others closed, hand held
breast high. Compare _Challenge_.


=Thick.= Hold out flat left, back to left, place right underneath palm
up; clasp left with it, rub right fingers and thumb tips back and forth
on the middle of the left hand in long, slow rubs. Compare _Meat_,
_Thin_, _Oil_, and _Bacon_.

  Fr. _épais_; Ger. _dick_.

=Thief.= Sign for the person and add _Steal_. (C)

  Fr. _le voleur_; Ger. _der Dieb_.


=Thin= (Not thick). Like _Thick_, but rub lower edge and little finger
of left with tips of right thumb and index finger united, others closed.
Usually the little finger side is the _Edge_. Compare _Bacon_, in which
all of the fingers are used; also, _Oil_, _Thick_, and _Meat_.

  Fr. _mince_; Ger. _dünn_.


=Thin= or =Poor in flesh= (Flesh clawed off). Bring both 5 hands, backs
forward, in front of breast and touching it. Move each to its side,
curving the fingers more.

  Fr. _maigre_; Ger. _mager_.


=Things.= The 5 hands similarly pointing forward, backs up, waist high,
one at each side of the body; swing once or twice in small circles
nearly vertical, but a little forward in the upper part.

  Fr. _les choses_; Ger. _die Dinge_.


=Think= (Drawn from the heart). Lay right G on the heart, back up, and
swing it outward ten inches and a little up.

  Fr. _penser_; Ger. _denken_.

=Thinking.= See _Consider_.

=Thirst=, =Dry=, or =Drouth=. Sign _Want_ and _Drink_.

  Fr. _la soif_; Ger. _der Durst_.


=This.= Hold flat left palm up near body and thrust right G down to it.
For _These_ repeat it several times.

  Fr. _ce ... ci_; Ger. _dieser_.

=Thought.= See _Idea_.

=Thousand.= Sign _Hundred_ and then _Ten times_. See _Numbers_.

  Fr. _mille_; Ger. _tausend_.


=Thread.= Rub thumb and index together, as though twisting a thread, and
sign _Sew_. Compare _Powder_.

  Fr. _le fil_; Ger. _der Faden_.

=Threaten.= Shake clenched fist toward the person.

  Fr. _menacer_; Ger. _drohen_.


=Through.= Push the right flat hand edgewise outward between the middle
and third fingers of the left, which are held pointing upward. Compare

  Fr. _par_, _au travers de_; Ger. _durch_.

=Thunder.= Clap the hands loudly in front of face and add a rapid zigzag
with the right G finger for _Lightning_.

  Fr. _le tonnerre_; Ger. _der Donner_, _das Gewitter_.

=Thy= or =Thine=. Sign _You_. _Possess._

  Fr. _ton_; Ger. _dein_.


=Ticket=. Hold out H left, back up; lay the right G across it at the
middle knuckles; add _Writing_ and indicate _Railway_, _Theatre_,
_Pawn_, etc., as needed.

  Fr. _le billet_; Ger. _das Billett_.

=Till.= See _To_.


=Time= (Duration). Join the index finger and thumb of each hand at tips,
other fingers closed; hold back of right hand to right, left to left,
thumb tips touching; draw the hands apart, slowly and level. A little
apart means _Little time_; a long way is _Long time_, etc. Sign _After,
Little time_, for _Bye and bye_. So leaving the hands touching means
_Now_; and _Time, Long, Behind_ means _Long time ago_. A much-used sign.
See _Ago_ and _Past_.

  Fr. _le temps_; Ger. _die Zeit_.


=Time afterward=, =After a little time=, =Bye and Bye=. Hold out the
left G level, pointing forward, breast high; lay the right G on the back
of the left, draw it back toward the wrist an inch. For _Time ahead_,
sign _Time_ and _Ahead_, that is, hold up left G and swing right G
parallel and far ahead in the same line. Or sometimes for _Time ahead_
or _Future_ give the _Time_ sign first given, but draw the right
forefinger and thumb in an up and over curve far ahead, instead of to
the right.

  Fr. _plus tard_; Ger. _später_.


=Time= (Shadow around tree). Hold up left G, point right G at it and
swing it around, finally touching it at top. (Sioux, Sheeaka.) This is
used for exact point or date.

  Fr. _l’époque_; Ger. _die Zeit_, _der Zeitpunkt_.

  =Hour.= Indicate in the sky the position of the sun at that hour.

  =Hour= (i.e., sixty minutes). Hold up the left hand with back toward
  you, index and thumb joining in a complete vertical circle; with right
  G on this as a pointer, move an inch and add _One_.

    Fr. _l’heure_; Ger. _die Stunde_.

  =Minute= or =Moment=. Hold the flat left hand pointed forward, thumb
  up; lay the right G on it like a pointer and move it the least bit.
  (Sheeaka.) The Cheyennes sign _Hour_ and _Small_. In giving _Time_ it
  is safest to do it in railway style; that is, 45 minutes after 4 would
  be 4 hours and 45 minutes; not a quarter before 5.

    Fr. _la minute_; Ger. _die Minute_.

  =Second.= Make the signs _Minute_ and _Very small_. (Sheeaka.)

    Fr. _la seconde_; Ger. _die Sekunde_.


  =Day= or =Light= (The opening up, as contrasted with _Night_, the
  closing over). Hold out the level flat hands in the same horizontal
  plane, backs up, pointing to front, a few inches apart. Swing them
  upward apart to right and left, and then downward on a curve, turning
  the palms up; ending when the hands are about opposite shoulders and a
  little higher than at the start.

  For the days of the week, see under _Sun_.

  Sometimes “_one sun_” is “_one day_.”

  For _To-day_ the sign for _Now_ is first made.

    Fr. _le jour_; Ger. _der Tag_.

=Time of Day=, as morning, forenoon, noon, afternoon, etc. Point to the
sun’s position in the sky at the time. See _Midnight_.

  Fr. _l’heure du jour_; Ger. _die Tageszeit_.

  =Week.= Sign _Suns_, _Seven_ (Sheeaka) or _One Medicine Day_. Compare

    Fr. _la semaine_; Ger. _die Woche_.

  =Month.= Crescent or Horns in the sky. See illustration in M.

    Fr. _le mois_; Ger. _der Monat_.

  =Seasons.= _Spring, Short grass_; _Summer, High grass_; _Autumn,
  Falling leaf_; _Winter, Cold_ or _Snow_.

    Fr. _les saisons_; Ger. _die Jahreszeiten_.

  =Year.= Sign _One Cold_ (Cheyenne). Or better perhaps, though not
  general, sign _Snow_, then swing the right G in a circle to left, down
  and up on right, then again make _Snow_, meaning from snow around to
  snow. (Sheeaka.) Sign _One Snow_ (Blackfoot).

    Fr. _l’an_, _l’année_; Ger. _das Jahr_.


=Tired= or =Weary=. Hold out G hands, backs up, six inches apart, drop
them and draw them to you a little. Sometimes used for _Quit_. See
_Lazy_. Compare _Afraid_.

  Fr. _fatigué_; Ger. _müde_.


=To=, =Till=, or =Until=. Hold the left G a little forward, palm to you;
swing the right G upward till the forefingers meet at tip. (Sheeaka;
probably borrowed from the Deaf.) Compare _Meet_.

  Fr. _jusqu’à_; Ger. _bis_.

=Tobacco= (Ground in the palm). Hold flat left hand, back down, in front
of body; grind on it the heel of closed right in small circles.

  Fr. _le tabac_; Ger. _der Tabak_.

=To-day.= Sign _Day_ and _Now_.

  Fr. _aujourd’hui_; Ger. _heute_.


=Together= or =Gather= (Gathered together). Press the palms of the flat
hands together two or three times, swinging them apart and together once
or twice, so the tips describe six-inch vertical circles going down on
the outside and up on the inside of each. Note this also means _Gather_.
See also _With_, _Meet_, and _Heap_.


=Tomahawk.= Hold the flat right hand in the hollow of the horizontal
left arm (C). Compare _Baby_. Or sign _Axe_ and _Smoke_.

  Fr. _le tomahawk_, _la hache de guerre des Indiens_; Ger. _die
  Streitaxt der Indianer_.

=To-morrow.= Sign for _Another_ and _Sunrise_. Compare _Yesterday_.

  Fr. _demain_; Ger. _morgen_.

=Too=, =Too much=. Sign _Enough_, but raise both hands at arm’s length
above the head. (Scott.) Sometimes use _Heap_. See also _Excessive_,
_Ahead_, and _Over_.

  Fr. _trop_; Ger. _zu viel_.

=Too= or =Also=. Sign _Equal_, _With_, or _And_.

  Fr. _aussi_; Ger. _auch_.

=Touch.= See _Feel_.


=Town.= Sign _House_; then, keeping the flat hands at same angle, swing
them wide apart, keeping left near body, right far away. Add _White Man_
if needed.

  Fr. _la ville_; Ger. _die Stadt_.

=Track= or =Trail=; i.e., to follow by _Trail_. Sign _Walk_ and point to
the ground with right G; move it forward in a sinuous course. Sometimes
add _Look_.

  Fr. _tracer_; Ger. _aufspüren_.


=Trade=, =Exchange=, =Swap=, =Bargain=, =Buy=, or =Sell=. Hold G hands
pointing up, one at each shoulder; move them together in a down curve
till wrists are crossed. See _Avoid_.

  Fr. _trafiquer_, _troquer_, _faire le commerce_; Ger. _tauschen_,
  _handeln_, _Handel treiben_.

=Trail= (A road). See _Way_.

=Train.= See _Railroad_.


=Trap= or =To trap=. Make a large level circle of forefingers and thumbs
for the trap; then snap these up together, index alongside index, thumb
alongside thumb to indicate the closing.

  Fr. _le piège_, _prendre au piège_; Ger. _die Falle_, _mit der Falle


=Travel.= Hold out the 5 hands, palm to palm, but left a foot advanced
and six inches higher, both of them vibrated up and down. This means
_Keep on Going_. See _Work_, _Go_, and _Walk_.

  Fr. _voyager_; Ger. _reisen_.

=Treaty.= Sign _Shake Hands_ and _Write_; that is, write with right
index on flat left palm.

  Fr. _le traité_; Ger. _der Vertrag_.


=Tree.= Hold right forearm upright in front of shoulder, fingers
straight, spread upward. For plural use both hands. For _Forest_, hold
left outside and touching right; draw right near body and push left far
away. See _Forest_.

  Fr. _l’arbre_; Ger. _der Baum_.

=Tribe= or =Troop=. See _Bunch_.


=Triumph.= Wave one hand in circle above the head as swinging a flag. At
a distance, wave a hat, coat, or blanket.

  Fr. _le triomphe_; Ger. _der Triumph_.

=Troop= or =Tribe=. See _Bunch_.

=Trot.= Indicate the kind of animal, then with S hands, backs up,
indicate movement of feet as in trotting. (C)

  Fr. _le trot_, _trotter_; Ger. _der Trott_, _traben_.

=Trouble= or =Perplexity=. See _Consider_, _Doubt_, _Sorry_, and

  Fr. _le trouble_, _la perplexité_; Ger. _die Sorge_, _die Bestürzung._


=True=, =Truth=, =Certain=, =Sure=, =Straight= (One straight trail). The
G forefinger pointing straight forward under the chin, then moved
forward with an upward curve. Compare _Honest_.

  Fr. _vrai_, _la vérité_; Ger. _wahr_, _die Wahrheit_.

=Try= or =Attempt=. Sign _Work_ and _Begin_.

  Fr. _essayer_; Ger. _versuchen_.

=Turkey=. Sign _Bird_; then indicate _Beard_ with compressed right hand
under the chin, pointed down and shaken. (C)

=Turkey=. Sign _Bird_; then hold right G at forehead, back up, curved,
pointed down, and drop it past the nose down below chin.

  Fr. _le dindon_; Ger. _der Truthahn_, _der Puter_.

=Turkish Bath.= See _Sweat Lodge_.


=Turn him down= or =Thumbs down=. This dates from the Roman arena. Right
arm at full length, fingers closed, thumb extended and pointing
downward; meaning “Kill him” or “it.” See _Knife_.

=Turn into.= See _Grow_.

=Turn loose.= See _Free_ and _Pardon_.


=Turtle= or =Tortoise=. Hold right hand low, back up, flat, but fingers
bent back on palm; push it forward, giving it by wrist action a
serpentine course. See _Fog_.

  Fr. _la tortue_; Ger. _die Schildkröte_.

=Twice.= See _Once_.

=Twinkle.= Sign _Star_ and _Talk_.

  Fr. _étinceler_; Ger. _funkeln_.


=Twins.= Lay V fingers, palm in, on abdomen and add _Born_.

  Fr. _les jumeaux_; Ger. _die Zwillinge_.

=Typewrite.= Sign _Write_; then with both hands strike here and there at

  Fr. _écrire à la machine_, _dactylographier_; Ger. _mit der
  Schreibmaschine schreiben_.


=Ugly.= Sign _Face_; i.e., swing the right 5 hand in a circle near the
face, and add _Bad_.

  Fr. _laid_; Ger. _häszlich_.

=Unable.= See _Can’t_.

=Uncertain.= Sign _Perhaps_, _Know_, and _Not_.

  Fr. _incertain_; Ger. _unbestimmt_.

=Uncle.= Sign _Father_ (or _Mother_) and _Brother_.

  Fr. _l’oncle_; Ger. _der Onkel_.

=Undecided.= Bow the head forward, resting the right G on the lips. See
also _Thinking_ and _If_.

  Fr. _en doute_; Ger. _unschlüssig_.

=Under.= See _Below_.

=Understand.= See _Know_; also, _Keep_.

=Unfair.= See _Excessive_.

=United.= Sign _Alliance_ or _With_.

  Fr. _uni_; Ger. _vereinigt_.

=United States of America.= There is no well-established sign, but the
Indian of a hundred years ago referred to the United States as the
“Thirteen Fires,” i.e., Council Fires. So that _Thirteen_ and _Fires_
would answer. The Blackfeet indicate the Boundary Line running east and
west, then all south of it.

So, also, for the individual States, in the absence of established
signs, we may use their nicknames. These, however, are mere suggestions.

  Fr. _les États-Unis d’Amérique_; Ger. _die Vereinigten Staaten von

  =Alabama= (Cotton State). _Country_ and _Cotton_. The latter by
  pointing to something by cotton.

  =Arizona= (Cactus State). _Country_, _Trees_, and _Sharp_, as in

  =Arkansas= (Bear State). _Country_ and _Bear Black_, to distinguish
  from _Russia_.

  =California= (Golden State). _Country_ and _Gold_; for gold pinch the
  lobe of the ear, or point to any gold or yellow thing in sight; if it
  is near, take an imaginary pinch of it, to exclude the object that is
  made of it.

  =Colorado= (Centennial State). _Country_ and _100 Years_ or _Snows_.

  =Connecticut= (Nutmeg State). _Country_, _Fruit_, and _Hard_.

  =Dakota, North= (Flickertail State). _Country_ and holding G hand,
  palm up, wag the index to express the tail of the Flickertail gopher.

  =Dakota, South= (Coyote State). _Country_ and _Small Wolf_.

  =Delaware= (Diamond State). _Country_ and, for _Diamond_, place the
  right thumb and index on an imaginary stone on ring finger of left;
  then add _Twinkle_.

  =Florida= (Peninsular State). _Country_ and _Water_. The half into the
  left C hand, held level and facing the right, lay the right N fingers,
  backs up.

  =Georgia= (Cracker State). _Country_, _Corn_, and _Grind_, as in
  _Coffee_. The Crackers were so called because of their cracked corn

  =Idaho= (Land of the Shoshoni). _Country_ and _Snake_.

  =Illinois= (Prairie State). _Country_ and _Prairie_.

  =Indiana= (Hoosier State). _Country_ and _Who is here?_

  =Iowa= (Hawkeye State). _Country_, _Hawk_, and _Eye_.

  =Kansas= (Sunflower State). _Country_, _Flower_, and _Sun_.

  =Kentucky= (Blue Grass State). _Country_, _Grass_, and _Blue_.

  =Louisiana= (Pelican State). _Country_, _Bird_, _Long bill_; and with
  index show outline of the pouch.

  =Maine= (Pine Tree State). _Country_ and _Tree_.

  =Maryland= (Terrapin State). _Country_ and _Turtle_.

  =Massachusetts= (Bay State). _Country_ and _Bay_.

  =Michigan= (Wolverine State). _Country_ and _Wolverine_ or
  _Bushy-tailed Bear_. Indicate _Bear_, then _Tail_ and _Bushy_.

  =Minnesota= (Gopher State). _Country_ and _Small Striped Animal_. With
  compressed right hand, back up, indicate a small animal; then draw the
  fingers of left 4 hand along it for stripes.

  =Mississippi= (Bayou State). _Country_, _Bay_, and _Trees_.

  =Missouri= (Banner State). _Country_ and _Flag_. Or else, “_Show me
  State_,” thus, with flat right hand shade right eye, knit brows, look
  here and there.

  =Montana= (Land of the Blackfeet.) _Country_ and _Blackfeet_.

  =Nebraska= (Shallow River). _Country_, _River_, _Broad_, and _Low_. Or
  _Pawneeland_, _Country_, and _Wolf_, which is the Pawnee sign.

  =Nevada= (Silver State). Sign _Country_, _Metal_, and _White_; bring
  right hand hollow under left and shake as though jingling coins.

  =New Hampshire= (Granite State). _Country_ and signs for _Hard_ and

  =New Jersey= (Blue State). _Country_, _Color_, and _Blue_.

  =New Mexico= (Sunshine State). Make sign for _Country_ and _Sun_.

  =New York= (Empire State). _Country_ and _Crowned_, which is indicated
  by placing both 5 hands on the sides of the head like the feathers in
  a war-bonnet.

  =North Carolina= (Tar Heel State). _Country_, _Heel_, and _Black_.

  =Ohio= (Buckeye State). _Country_, _Deer_, and _Eye_.

  =Oklahoma= (Sooners State). _Country_ and _Soon_, or else _Country_
  and _Kiowa_.

  =Oregon= (Beaver State). _Country_ and _Beaver_.

  =Pennsylvania= (Keystone State). _Country_ and _Keystone_, thus: Hold
  up right hand, fingers out, pointing up, a space between the ring and
  middle fingers only; hold all fingers of left hand extended and join
  at tips to form a wedge; put this wedge in the opening between the
  fingers of the right hand.

  =Rhode Island= (Little State). _Country_ and _Very Small_.

  =South Carolina= (Palmetto State). _Country_ and _Leaf_; then indicate
  the shape of leaf with flat hand and fingers spread to their utmost.

  =Tennessee= (Long Rifles). _Country_, _Rifle_, and _Long_.

  =Texas= (Lone Star State). _Country_, and _Star_, _Alone_.

  =Utah= (_Mormon_ or _Many Wives State_). _Country_, _Mates_, _Many_.

  =Vermont= (Green Mountain State). _Country_, _Mountain_, _Color_, and

  =Virginia= (Tobacco State). _Country_ and _Tobacco_.

  =Washington= (Evergreen State). _Country_, _Green_, and _Always_.

  =West Virginia= (Panhandle State). _Country_ and _Cook by frying_;
  then hold out flat spread left hand, palm up, and grasp the wrist with
  the right.

  =Wisconsin= (Badger State). _Country_ and _Badger_.

  =Wyoming= (Land of Cheyennes). _Country_ and _Cheyennes_ or _Finger

=Unjust.= Sign _Honest_ and _Not_. See _Excessive_.

  Fr. _injuste_; Ger. _ungerecht_.

=Unless= or =Except=. See _But_.

=Unlucky.= Sign _Medicine_ and _Bad_.

  Fr. _malheureux_; Ger. _unglücklich_.

=Until.= See _To_.

=Unwise.= See _Foolish_.


=Up= or =Upward=. Point up with flat hand or else the right G, raising
the same about head high. The index means specifically “that thing up
there”; whereas the flat hand means the abstract idea “up.” Compare
_Tall_ and _Stand_.

  Fr. _en haut_, _haut_; Ger. _auf_, _hinauf_, _aufwärts_.


=Us.= See _We_.


=Vain.= Sign _Beautiful_; then draw head and body back with an arrogant
look. (Blackfoot.) Sign _Paint_, _Dress_, _Good_, _Love_. (C) See

  Fr. _vain_; Ger. _eitel_.


=Valise.= Hold out both arms, level, low, parallel; hands flat, but bent
at right angles to arms; palms to you, tips touching. Add _Clothes_ and
_Enter_ twice or three times.

  Fr. _la valise_; Ger. _der Handkoffer_.


=Very Much=, =Heap Much=, =Strong=, =Brave=, =Superlative=. Hold left S
hand, back out, in front of body; forearm horizontal and pointing to
right and front; bring the ditto right hand some six inches above and a
little in front of left hand; strike downward with right hand, mostly by
elbow action, the second joints of right hand passing close to and about
on a line with knuckles of left hand. This is very like _Strong_ and
seems in some renditions to be the same.

It is also used for _Very_, _Very Much_, and for a certain strong
English adjective that is omitted from the Sunday School readers.
Compare _Strong_.

  Fr. _beaucoup_, _très_; Ger. _sehr_, _viel_.

=Vessel.= See _Bowl_.

=Victor.= See _Kill_ and _Triumph_.

=Vigilant= or =Watchful=. Sign _Look_, in different directions, and _All
the time_.

  Fr. _vigilant_; Ger. _wachsam_.

=Village= (Many Lodges). Sign _Lodges_ or _Teepees_ and _Many_.

  Fr. _le village_; Ger. _das Dorf_.

=Vine.= Sign _Tree_ with left; then with right G trace the vine’s course
about it.

  Fr. _la vigne_; Ger. _die Ranke_.

=Volley.= See _Fire_.


=Vomit.= Hold compressed right hand back up below chin, pointed to left
and upward, move it upward forward and down, point first, once or twice.

  Fr. _vomir_; Ger. (_sich_) _brechen_, _sich übergeben_.


=Wager.= See _Bet_.


=Wagon.= With index and thumb of each hand make two vertical circles,
hands held backs up, a foot apart and shoulder high; by wrist action
rotate these circles and move them forward a little.

  Fr. _la voiture_; Ger. _der Wagen_.


=Wait= (Stop here). Flat hand up, palm forward; then gently bent forward
to nearly level, palm down. Compare _Halt_.

  Fr. _attendez!_; Ger. _warten!_


=Waken.= Sign _Sleep_ and _Arise_ (That is, lay the right G horizontally
on breast and swing it out upright a foot away, back to right). Or sign
_Sleep_ and _Done_, i.e., _Ended_.

  Fr. _réveiller_, _s’éveiller_; Ger. _wecken_, _erwachen_.


=Walk= or =March=. (For a person.) (Shape and movement of feet.) Hold
out the flat hands, backs up, a few inches apart, pointing to front;
swing the right forward, upward, and downward to same height as when
starting; then the left ditto; draw the right hand to rear. Repeat these


=Walk= (For an animal). With the S hands, backs up, go through the same
as above.

  Fr. _marcher_; Ger. _gehen_.


=Wall= or =Fence=. Push flat hands straight forward, points up, palms
in; then, when well out, turn palms toward you and swing together.
Compare _Valise_ and _Box_.

  Fr. _le mur_; Ger. _die Mauer_, _das Gitter_.


=Wandering.= Hold up right G, palm forward; advance it with excessive
sweeping zigzags from side to side, forming loops. These loops are 18
inches across; their plan, seen from above, is in the lower scroll.
Compare _Alive_ and _White-tail Deer_.

  Fr. _errant_; Ger. _wandernd_.


=Want= (To), =Crave=, =Desire=, =Wish=, =Anxious for=, =Will= (Thirsty
for). Hold the right hand, back to right, in front of and near chin;
form a vertical incomplete circle with G index and thumb. Swing the hand
down past the mouth, outward and upward, turning it at the finish so
that the little finger is as high as the index.

  Fr. désirer; Ger. wünschen.

=Wapiti.= See _Elk_.

=War.= See _Fight_.

=War-cry.= See _Battle-cry_.


=Warm, To= (One’s hands). Hold out both flat hands, side by side, breast
high, backs up, slightly curved as though over a fire; then rub them
together. (Blackfoot.)

=Warm=, =I am warm=. Draw the 5 hands down over breast, then hold out
together, palms down, pointing forward. See also _Hot_.

  Fr. _chaud_; Ger. _warm_.


=Warning=, =Beware=, =Caution=, or =Look out=. Raise right index, rest
closed; turn hand so as to have right eye, index, and the person in
line; at the same time, shake the head a little. (Sheeaka.)

  Fr. _l’avertissement_, _prenez garde!_; Ger. _die Warnung_,


=Warpath, To go to War= (The thumb chasing the index). With its index at
a right angle with the palm and pointing toward the left, other fingers
closed, its thumb extended and upright near base of the index, back of
hand outward; move the right hand forward with a long downward then
upward curve in front of the right shoulder.

  Fr. _le chemin de guerre_; Ger. _der Kriegspfad_.

=Washing Clothes.= Rub with both fists as on a rubbing board. Old
gesture was to rub the right fist circularly, palm down, on the left,
palm up.

  Fr. _laver_; Ger. _waschen_.

=Washington.= Sign _White Man_, _All_, _Chief_, _High_. (Sheeaka.)


=Watch= (A timepiece). Form a horizontal circle with thumb and index of
left hand, others closed; tap around on this with the tip of right G.

  Fr. _la montre_; Ger. _die Taschenuhr_.

=Watch.= See _Look_.

=Water, Running.= See _River_.


=Water= (In general). Bring the slightly cupped right palm from forward
nearly level to near the chin. Compare _Drink_ and _Speech_.

  Fr. _l’eau_; Ger. _das Wasser_.

=Waterfall.= See _Fall of Water_.


=Way=, =Manner=, =Road=, =Method=, =Custom=, =Plan=, =Trail=, =Law=,
etc. Both hands flat, palms up, but thumb sides higher, side by side,
pointing front, breast high, alternately advanced and withdrawn. Much
used among _Indians_ and sometimes equivalent to _-ship_ or _-ness_, as
in _Kingship_ or _Goodness_. Compare _Walk_ and _Road_.

  Fr. _le chemin_, _la manière_; Ger. _der Weg_, _die Art und Weise_.


=We=, =Us=, and =Our= (Me all). Touch one’s chest with right thumb,
fingers closed, then add _All_. (Sheeaka.) The Cheyennes sign _Me_,
_All_, and _Together_.

  Fr. _nous_, _notre_; Ger. _wir_, _unser_.


=Weak.= Swing the bent arms slowly from side to side as in walking
weakly. Or _Strong_, and _No_. See _Tired_ and _Lazy_.

  Fr. _faible_; Ger. _schwach_.

=Weary.= See _Tired_.


=Weasel.= With right G curved, back up, imitate bounding; then indicate
_Tail_ and _Half_, _Black_. (Sheeaka.)

  Fr. _la belette_; Ger. _das Wiesel_.

=Week.= See _Time_ and _Sun_.

=Weep.= See _Cry_.

=Weigh= (Metaphorically). See _Consider_.

=Welcome.= Sign _Come_ and _Good_.

  Fr. _bienvenu_; Ger. _willkommen_.


=Well=, =Good Health= (Body strong). Flat hands one on each side of the
body; draw them away, clench them and move them down with a jerk.
(Sheeaka.) The Cheyennes sign _All_, _Body_ (_as above_), _Hard_.
Compare _Sick_ and _Lungs_.

  Fr. _bien portant_, _la bonne sante_; Ger. _wohl_, _die Gesundheit_.

=What?= See _Question_.

=When?= See _Question_.

=Whence?= See _Question_.

=Where?= See _Question_.


=Wherever= (All places). Hold right G out, back up, pointing toward
horizon. Swing slowly in a half-circle up and over to left, then back to
right; repeat.

  Fr. _en quelque lieu que ce soit_; Ger. _wo auch nur_.

=Whether.= See _If_.


=Whetstone.= Sign _Hard_, then hold out left N hand and rub right N hand
on it, with long, sweeping strokes.

  Fr. _la pierre à aiguiser_; _Ger. der Wetzstein_.

=Which?= See _Question_.

=Which.= See _Who_.

=While, After a.= See _Bye and bye_.


=While=, =Every Little While=. Hold out left G, pointing to right; with
left G tap on it several times, each time moving the right nearer the
base of left G. See, _All the time_. Compare _Peas_ and _Buy_.

  Fr. _à chaque moment_; Ger. _jeden Augenblick_.


=While=, =Meanwhile=, or =During=. Sign _Time_, slowly moving hands
until about six inches apart. Some shake the right hand in drawing it
back. Or sign _Time_, _Sit_. Compare _Time_, _Sometimes_, _Soon_.

  Fr. _pendant_; Ger. _während_.

=Whirlwind.= See _Cyclone_.

=Whiskey.= Sign _Fire_ and _Water_, or _Crazy_, _Water_. Although some
Cheyennes call beer fire-water, because of the explosion and froth.

  Fr. _le whiskey_, _l’eau-de-vie_; Ger. _der Whisky_, _der Branntwein_.


=Whisper=, or =Speak Privately=. Hold up flat right hand, thumb at one
side of the mouth, and incline the head. Or sign _Hide_ and _Talk_.

  Fr. _chuchoter_; Ger. _flüstern_.

=White= (Color). See _Colors_.


=White= or =White Man= (Hat or Cap wearers). Hold right G hand, back up
and to right, in front of, close to, and a little to left of face,
pointing to left; draw the hand to right, index finger passing
horizontally in front of eyes. Sometimes add _Man_.

  Fr. _l’homme blanc_; Ger. _der Weisze_.

=Whither?= See _Question_.


=Who= or =Which= (This equals that). Hold the two G fingers side by side
on left; then, keeping the relative positions, swing them to the right.
(W. C. Roe.) Probably modern. This is the same as _As_; the context
alone shows which is meant.

=Why?= See _Question_.


=Wicky-up.= Swing the curved G fingers together in dome shape, left tip
resting on right tip; then change to curved 4 hands and swing down and
apart on a curve. (C)

=Wide.= See _Broad_.

=Wife.= Make signs for _Female_, then _Marry_. Usually sign _My_ (or
_His_) _Woman_.

  Fr. _la femme_; Ger. _die Frau_, _die Gattin_.

=Wild.= Sign _Bad_; then push both 5 hands forward, thumbs up, six
inches apart, switching them simultaneously from side to side. Sometimes
use _Crazy_ or _Free_.

=Wild= (Wild animal). Sign _Look_ backward, then add _Go_ quickly.
Sometimes use _Free_.

  Fr. _sauvage_; Ger. _wild_.

=Will.= See _Want_.


=Will= or =Shall= (Futurity). Hold the right open flat hand, palm to
left, pointing straight out and elevated near ear. Push it straight
forward and upward the length of the arm. Sometimes sign _Time Ahead_ or
_Far Ahead_. Compare _Past_ and _Future_.

  Fr. _le futur exprimé par l’inflexion du verbe_; Ger. _werden_,

=Win= or =Overcome=. Make sign for _Kill_; and indicate in what way.
Thus, a person winning at gambling “Kills” the other in that way.

  Fr. _gagner_, _vaincre_; Ger. _gewinnen_, _siegen_.


=Wind.= Hold up the 5 hands, shoulder high, backs up, a few inches
apart, pointed forward and hands moved with a tremulous motion in
direction of wind. If strong wind, preface this with _Fire-off_ or
_Charge_. Or Sign _Forward_, using both hands. See _Rumor_ and _Storm_.

  Fr. _le vent_; Ger. _der Wind_.


=Wing.= Hold out left arm level, bent; sweep flat right 5 hand over it
from shoulder down. Or, sometimes flap one hand as in _Bird_. Compare

  Fr. _l’aile_; Ger. _der Flügel_.


=Winter= (Cold time). Hold closed hands in front of body, forearms about
vertical, hands several inches apart; give a shivering, tremulous motion
to hands; Sometimes, and particularly with Northern Indians, the sign
for _Snow_ is made. Add _Time_, if there is any doubt.

  Fr. _l’hiver_; Ger. _der Winter_.


=Wipe Out=, =Excuse=, or =Forgive= (To wipe it off). Hold left hand
flat, palm up; smartly brush it with finger tips of right flat hand,
from wrist to fingers and beyond. Compare _Exterminate_ and _Color_.
For the stronger idea, see _Pardon_.

  Fr. _excuser_; Ger. _verzeihen_.


=Wire.= Hold right G back nearly up, pointing to left, about face high,
near left shoulder; draw it across level to right shoulder. Compare
_Creek_ and _Rope_.

  Fr. _le fil de métal_; Ger. _der Draht_.

=Wise=, =Wisdom= (Heart and head good). Sign _Heart_, then touch
forehead and sign _Good_. (C) Or, _Heap_, _Understand_. Sometimes use

  Fr. _sage_, _la sagesse_; Ger. _klug_, _die Weisheit_.

=Wish.= See _Want_.


=Witch.= Cross the upright thumb of right hand on the middle of the
index, which is a little bent, other fingers straight, held so one can
sight over the thumb at the person meant. (Ruggles.) Also used for
_Distrust_ and _Discredited_. Widely established in the mountains.

  Fr. _la sorcière_; Ger. _die Hexe_.


=With= or =Together=. Hold out the flat left, fingers forward, level,
back to left; and lay the side of the right G finger, pointed forward,
against the centre of the left palm. Sometimes means _Add_. See
_Together_ and _Beside_.

  Fr. _avec_, _ensemble_; Ger. _mit_, _zusammen_.

=Within= or =Inside=. See _In_.


=Wolf.= Hold the right V hand, palm forward, near right shoulder,
pointing straight upward; move it a little forward and up. See _Scout_.

  Fr. _le loup_; Ger. _der Wolf_.

=Wolverine.= Sign _Bear_, _Small_, and indicate bushy tail. This is
merely a description, not an established sign.

  Fr. _le carcajou_, _le volverenne_; Ger. _der braune Vielfrasz_.


=Woman.= Make the sign for _Female_; sometimes also indicate height.
Compare _Comb_.

  Fr. _la femme_; Ger. _die Frau_.

=Wonderful.= See _Glow_.

=Wood= or =Timber=. Sign _Tree_, then indicate size and shape. Add
_Chop_ and throw forward (i.e., onto fire).

  Fr. _le bois_; Ger. _das Holz_.

=Woodchuck= or =Groundhog=. With compressed right, back up, pushed
forward, rolling from side to side, indicate the animal, its _Size_;
then, with left H hand near upper lip and right H hand near lower, show
the action of the front teeth, which differ from those of other rodents
its equal in size in being _White_. This is not an established sign, but
suggested as a description.

  Fr. _la grande marmotte d’Amérique_; Ger. _das virginische


=Woodcraft Boy.= The Y hand; this denotes the Horned Shield, the symbol
of the Order. (Not Indian.)


=Woodcraft Girl.= Make the sign of _Sun_ on the heart and then raise it
to the zenith. (Not Indian.)


=Woodpecker.= Sign _Bird_, then hold left arm upright for _Tree_ and on
this place the partly compressed right; make it hop up and tap the left
palm with curved right G.

  Fr. _le pic_, _le pivert_, _l’èpeiche_; Ger. _der Specht_.


=Word= (One piece of talk). Make C and lay it on the mouth, then swing
it forward and a little down. (A very doubtful sign given by Sheeaka.)

  Fr. _le mot_; Ger. _das Wort_.

=Word of Honor.= See _Cross the heart_. (Pop.)


=Work=, =Doing=, =Make=, or =Act=. Hold the flat hands four inches
apart, palm to palm, level, left a little ahead; push them forward a
little, simultaneously, and, at the same time, swing the points upward
and downward briskly by wrist action, so that the finger points follow
the lines shown in the cut. To complete the sign, the action should be
repeated at the left side with the hands reversed with regard to each
other; but usually the first only is given. Possibly refers to fleshing
a hide, which was about the hardest work in an Indian camp. For _Work
hard_, use both A fists instead of flat hands.

  Fr. _travailler_; Ger. _arbeiten_.

=World.= See _Earth_.


=Wound= (The course of arrow or bullet). Swing the right G hand toward
the body, point first, back of hand to left and front, so that the tip
just grazes the surface of the body and passes on, as though glancing
off. Compare _Ache_.

  Fr. _la blessure_; Ger. _verwunden_.


=Wrap.= Bring the slightly compressed hands, backs outward, in front of
body, backs of fingers of right hand resting against inner surface of
left, index fingers about horizontal; rotate the hands around each

  Fr. _envelopper_; Ger. _einwickeln_.

=Wrestle.= Cross the wrists about two feet in front of the face, hands
clenched as in _Prisoner_; then wriggle them from side to side.

  Fr. _lutter_; Ger. _ringen_, _kämpfen_.


=Wring.= Hold the left A hand palm up and the right A hand back up,
index of each touching thumb of the other as though holding a rope; then
twist by wrist action till the position of each hand is reversed.

  Fr. _tordre_; Ger. _ringen_.

=Wrinkle.= Wrinkle the skin of forehead and pinch same; also draw lines
on face with finger tip. Sometimes omit last.

  Fr. _la ride_, _le pli_; Ger. _die Runzel_, _die Falte_.


=Write= or =Writing=. With an imaginary pencil in right fingers, write
on left palm; or in the air simply.

This last preceded by _Come_ is commonly used in European hotels for
“_Give me my bill_.”

  Fr. _écrire_; Ger. _schreiben_.

=Wrong.= Sign _Honest_ and _Not_; or else _Bad_. Sometimes use
_Different_ and _Bad_. See _Crooked_.

  Fr. _tort_; Ger. _unrecht_.


=Year.= See _Time_.


=Yell=, =Holla=, or =Cry Out=. Place the G hand on the mouth, jerking it
much upward and a little forward to show the sound coming out of the
mouth and going far. Compare _Called_.

  Fr. _holá_ _hé!_ Ger. _holla!_; _hallo schreien_.


=Yes= (Bowing of the head and body). Hold right hand upright near
shoulder, index and thumb only extended, others closed; move it slightly
to the left and a foot downward, at the same time closing the index over
the thumb. Or simply nod.

  Fr. _oui_; Ger. _ja_.


=Yesterday= (Beyond the night). Sign _Night_; then, holding left in
position, swing the right upward and to right on a curve, finishing at
height of left, palm up, i.e., _Beyond_. Or, sign _Before_ and _Day_.
Or, _One_, _Sleep_, _Behind_.

  Fr. _hier_; Ger. _gestern_.


=Yonder=, =Over yonder=. Point as in _There_, or with G, then swing the
finger up over and down farther ahead. Compare _Far_.

  Fr. _là-bas_; Ger. _drüben_, _dort_.


=You= or =Thou=. Singular, point at the person; for plural, point, then
add _All_; that is, swing the finger in a horizontal circle (You, all).

  Fr. _vous_; Ger. _Sie_.

=Young= (A sprout). Hold the hand as in _Grow_; then lower it
emphatically a foot. Sometimes use _Old_ and _Not_.

  Fr. _jeune_; Ger. _jung_.

=Younger.= Sign _Born_ and _After_.

  Fr. _plus jeune_, _cadet_; Ger. _jünger_.

=Your.= See _Possession_.



Code of Signals Used to Indicate Various Fouls

  Signals.                    Fouls.

  Grasping of wrist           Holding
  Shaking fists               Unnecessary Roughness
  Crossed legs                Tripping
  Sifting of hands            Illegally in motion
  Hands on Hips               Off-side
  Arm aloft                   Refusal of Penalty
  Arms extended sidewise      Incompleted F. Pass
  Arms folded                 Interlocked interference
  Both arms aloft             Score
  Military Salute             Loose-ball foul

NOTE—These signals will be given to the press-stand by the referee from
behind the offensive team.




The stories of Lobo, Silverspot, Molly Cottontail, Bingo, Vixen, The
Pacing Mustang, Wully and Redruff. Price, $2.00. (Scribners.)


The story of a long hunt that ended without a tragedy. Price, $1.50.


The story of old Wahb from cubhood to the scene in Death Gulch. Price,
$1.50. (Century Company.)


This is a school edition of number one, with some of the stories and
many of the pictures left out. Price, 50c. net. (Scribners.)


A musical play in which the parts of Lobo, Wahb, Vixen, etc., are taken
by boys and girls. Price, 50c. (Doubleday, Page & Co.)


The stories of Krag, Randy, Johnny Bear, The Mother Teal, Chink, The
Kangaroo Rat, and Tito, the Coyote. Price, $1.75 net. (Scribners.)


Twelve large pictures for framing (no text), viz., Krag, Lobo, Tito Cub,
Kangaroo Rat, Grizzly, Buffalo, Bear Family, Johnny Bear, Sandhill Stag,
Coon Family, Courtaut the Wolf, Tito and her family. Price, $6.00.


This is a school edition of Lives of the Hunted with some of the stories
and many of the pictures left out. Price, 50c. net. (Scribners.)


A book of adventure and woodcraft and camping out for boys, telling how
to make bows, arrows, moccasins, costumes, teepee, war-bonnet, etc., and
how to make a fire with rubbing sticks, read Indian signs, etc. Price,
$1.75 net. (Doubleday, Page & Co.)


The story of a big California grizzly that is living yet. Price, $1.25
net. (Scribners.)


The stories of a Slum Cat, a Homing Pigeon, The Wolf That Won, A Lynx, A
Jackrabbit, A Bull-terrier, The Winnipeg Wolf, and a White Reindeer.
Price, $1.75 net. (Scribners.)


The Manual of the Woodcraft Indians, first edition, 1902. (Doubleday,
Page & Co.)


A collection of fables, woodland verses, and camp stories. Price, $1.25
net. (Century Company.)


Showing the Ten Commandments to be fundamental laws of all creation. 78
pages. Price, 50c. net. (Scribners.)


or Domino Reynard of Goldur Town, with 100 illustrations by the author.
209 pages. Price, $1.50 net.

A companion volume to the Biography of a Grizzly. (Century Company.)


In two sumptuous quarto volumes with 68 maps and 560 drawings by the
author. Pages 1,267. Price, $18.00 net.

Said by Roosevelt, Allen, Chapman, and Hornaday to be the best work ever
written on the Life Histories of American Animals. (Scribners.)


A handbook of Woodcraft, Scouting, and Life Craft including the
Birch-Bark Roll. 192 pages. Price, 50c. Out of print. (Doubleday, Page &


The Adventures of a Boy Scout with Indian Quonab and little dog Skookum.
Over 200 drawings by the author. Price, $1.75 net. (Doubleday, Page &


A canoe journey of 2,000 miles in search of the Caribou. 415 pages with
many maps, photographs, and illustrations by the author. Price, $1.75
net. (Scribners.)


with over 500 drawings by the author. Price, $1.75 net. (Doubleday, Page
& Co.)


One hundred of the best-known forest trees of eastern North America,
with 100 maps and more than 200 drawings. Price, $1.00 in cloth, 50c. in
paper. (Doubleday, Page & Co.)


with over 150 sketches and photographs by the author. 226 pages. Price,
$1.75 net. In this Mr. Seton gives for the first time his personal
adventures in studying wild animals. (Doubleday, Page & Co.)


The fourteenth Birch-Bark Roll. 100 pages. 25c. paper, 75c. cloth.
(Doubleday, Page & Co.)


More animal stories introducing a host of new four-footed friends, with
200 illustrations by the author. Net, $1.50. (Doubleday, Page & Co.)


A handbook of Woodcraft and outdoor life for members of the Woodcraft
League. 440 pp. 700 ills. Price, 50c. (Doubleday Page & Co.)


Like the foregoing but adapted for girls. 424 pp., Illus. Price, 50c.
(Doubleday, Page & Co.)


A novel. A tale of the open country. Net, $1.35. (Doubleday, Page & Co.)


A Universal Signal Code, Without Apparatus, for use in the Army, the
Navy, Camping, Hunting, Daily Life and among the Plains Indians. Net,
$3.00. (Doubleday, Page & Co.)


(Published by DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & CO.)


A book of outdoor adventures and camping for women and girls. How to
dress for it, where to go, and how to profit the most by camp life.
Price, $2.00.


A companion volume, giving Mrs. Seton’s side of the many camp-fires she
and her husband lighted together in the Rockies from Canada to Mexico.
Price, $1.75 net.


       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber’s Notes

Variant spelling and hyphenation have been preserved as printed. Simple
typographical errors have been corrected.

  page xlii
  The hands are always held or moved so as to illustrate,[TN: changed
  hyphen to comma]

  page xliv
  the single-hand alphabet as given in the cut on page li[TN: was "II"]

  page xlv
  or, ‘I have nothing more to say,’[TN: added closing quote]

  footnote 2
  This would manifest itself in a growing conformity[TN: was

  page 49
  pointing to left, rotate a little back and forth. (Blackfoot.)[TN:
  moved period inside closing parenthesis.]

  page 60
  Fr. _le dîner_; Ger.[TN: added period]

  page 61
  Hold out both flat hands, palms[TN: removed comma] up, level,

  page 107
  because they chopped their fingers when in mourning.)[TN: period
  printed outside parenthesis]

  page 113
  For _Kill me_ or _Beat me_, make the sign toward one’s self.[TN: was a

  page 132
  =Money= (Paper). Sign _Writing_ and _Money_.[TN: added period]

  page 135
  Fr. _le couguar_;[TN: was a period] Ger. _der Kuguar_.

  page 146
  O[TN: added heading]

  page 216
  sides of the head like the feathers in a war-bonnet.[TN: added period]

  page 227
  Sometimes, and particularly with Northern Indians,[TN: was a period]

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Sign Talk - A Universal Signal Code, Without Apparatus, for Use in the - Army, the Navy, Camping, Hunting, and Daily Life" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.