early 15c., "to ratify by a sign or seal," from Middle French consigner (15c.), from Latin consignare "to seal, register," originally "to mark with a sign," from com "with, together" (see com-) + signare "to sign, mark," from signum "identifying mark, sign" (see sign (n.)). Commercial sense is from 1650s. Related: Consignee; consignor.
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