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signature (n.)

1530s, a kind of document in Scottish law, from French signature (16c.) or directly from Medieval Latin signatura "signature, a rescript," in classical Latin "the matrix of a seal," from signatus, past participle of signare "to mark with a stamp, sign" (see sign (v.)).

Meaning "one's own name written in one's own hand" is from 1570s, replacing sign-manual (early 15c.) in this sense. Musical sense of "signs placed it the beginning of a staff to indicate the key and rhythm" is from 1806. Meaning "a distinguishing mark of any kind" is from 1620s.

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firm (n.)
"business house," 1744, according to Barnhart from German Firma "a business, name of a business," originally "signature," from Italian firma "signature," from firmare "to sign," from Latin firmare "make firm, affirm," in Late Latin, "confirm (by signature)," from firmus "strong; stable," figuratively "constant, trusty" (see firm (adj.)).
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paraph (n.)

"figure formed by a flourish of a pen at the conclusion of a signature" (a precaution against forgers), 1580s, from French parafe, paraphe "a paragraph, signature, a flourish," a shortened form of paragraph.

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countersign (v.)

also counter-sign, "to sign opposite to another signature, sign additionally," 1690s, from French contresigner (15c.); see counter- + sign (v.). Related: Countersigned; countersignature.

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witness (v.)
c. 1300, "bear testimony," from witness (n.). Meaning "affix one's signature to (a document) to establish its identity" is from early 14c. Meaning "see or know by personal presence, observe" is from 1580s. Related: Witnessed; witnessing.
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indie (n.)
"independent record company," 1945, shortening of independent. Among the earliest mentioned were Continental, Majestic, and Signature. Used of film production companies since 1920s, of theaters from 1942; extended by 1984 to a type of pop music issued by such labels.
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subscription (n.)

c. 1400, subscripcioun, "piece of writing at the end of a document," from Anglo-French subscripcion, Old French subscription (Modern French souscription) and directly from Latin subscriptionem (nominative subscriptio) "anything written underneath, a signature," noun of action from past-participle stem of subscribere (see subscribe). Meaning "act of subscribing money" is from 1640s.

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frank (v.)
"to free a letter for carriage or an article for publication, to send by public conveyance free of expense," 1708, from shortened form of French affranchir, from a- "to" + franchir "to free" (see franchise (v.)). A British parliamentary privilege from 1660-1840; in U.S. Congress, technically abolished 1873. Related: Franked; franking. As a noun, "signature of one entitled to send letters for free," from 1713.
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autograph (n.)
"a person's signature," 1791, from French autographe, from Late Latin autographum, from Greek autographon, neuter of autographos "written with one's own hand," from autos "self" (see auto-) + graphein "to write" (originally "to scratch;" see -graphy). Used earlier (1640s) to mean "author's own manuscript." As an adjective, "written by oneself," by 1832. Related: Autographic.
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