One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The action of "sign"; especially the action of blessing or consecrating by making the sign of the cross.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Robert Parker (?1564–1614), religious controversialist. From post-classical Latin signation-, signatio action of signing with the cross (late 2nd or early 3rd cent. in Tertullian), action of sealing, indication from classical Latin signāt-, past participial stem of signāre + -iō.
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