Learning How to Say Brother and Sister in Sign Language

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to say “brother” and “sister” in sign language. Whether you want to communicate with a sibling who is deaf or are simply interested in expanding your knowledge of sign language, this guide will provide you with the formal and informal ways to express these terms. We will also touch upon any regional variations, but focus mainly on the most commonly used signs.

Formal Ways to Say Brother and Sister

When it comes to formal sign language, the signs for “brother” and “sister” are distinct and can be easily learned. Keep in mind that sign language can differ slightly between countries, so the signs we discuss here are primarily used in American Sign Language (ASL).


The sign for “brother” in ASL involves using a flat hand with the thumb pointing upwards, placed on the forehead. This gesture symbolizes the male gender. Tap the hand twice on the forehead to complete the sign. It is worth noting that this sign can also mean “brother” for siblings who are deaf, regardless of the person’s gender identity.


The ASL sign for “sister” is quite similar to the sign for “brother.” Place a flat hand with the thumb up on the forehead, just above the eyebrow, and tap it twice. This gesture signifies the female gender. Like with “brother,” this sign is used universally for deaf siblings, regardless of gender identity.

Informal Ways to Say Brother and Sister

In more casual settings or with close family members, people often use shortened or modified versions of signs to refer to their brothers and sisters. These signs carry a warm and intimate tone, reflecting the close relationship between family members.


One informal way to say “brother” in ASL is by making a fist with your dominant hand and then extending your thumb. Take your extended thumb and gently tap it on your chin. This sign acts as a loving and endearing way to refer to a brother in a close relationship.


Similarly, the informal sign for “sister” in ASL is created by making a fist with your dominant hand and extending your pinky finger. Take your extended pinky and tap it gently on your chin. This sign adds a personal touch when referring to a sister in an affectionate manner.

Tips for Learning and Using Sign Language

Learning sign language is a beautiful experience that allows you to connect with the deaf community and communicate more effectively. Here are a few tips to enhance your sign language skills:

1. Practice Consistently:

Like any language, sign language requires practice to become fluent. Set aside regular time to practice and engage with the language, whether it’s practicing signs in front of a mirror, joining a local sign language club, or finding resources online.

2. Attend Sign Language Classes:

Consider enrolling in sign language classes offered by community centers, schools, or online platforms. An experienced instructor can guide you through the learning process, teach you proper grammar and syntax, and provide valuable feedback.

3. Utilize Online Resources:

The internet is a treasure trove of sign language resources. Explore reputable websites, videos, mobile apps, and online communities dedicated to sign language. These resources can provide additional support, practice exercises, and opportunities to connect with other learners.

4. Engage with the Deaf Community:

Immerse yourself in the deaf community to enhance your sign language skills. Attend deaf events, join social groups, or volunteer at organizations that support the deaf. Engaging directly with native signers will expose you to different signing styles, idioms, and cultural nuances.


Mastering sign language and learning how to say “brother” and “sister” connects us to a vibrant community with its unique language and culture. By practicing formal and informal signs for these familial terms, we can foster closer relationships with our deaf siblings and better communicate with the deaf community at large.

Remember to practice regularly, seek out sign language classes and online resources, and immerse yourself in the deaf community. Sign language is a beautiful way to bridge gaps between people and cultures, and learning it is a fulfilling journey.

Written by Melanie Kay

Hola! I'm Melanie, your friendly guide to American Sign Language (ASL). As a passionate ASL instructor, I get a kick out of sharing how to express everything from "Bacon" to "Mackenzie" and even "Mermaid" in sign language. Beyond my love for ASL, I have a soft spot for playing Minecraft, watching SpongeBob, and dreaming about the stars. With a heart full of stories from my travels to places like Hollywood and New York, I'd sign "I am from" in ASL with a happy heart. Let's embark on this fascinating ASL journey together!

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