One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A small seal, especially one set in a ring, used instead of or with a signature to give authentication to an official document.
- ‘I should hope to receive your rejoinder, post marked with the utmost haste, delivered upon my doorstep and stamped with your signet within the fortnight.’
- ‘Griffin pressed his signet into the seal and handed it to the messenger with a soft smile.’
- ‘He saw it was sealed with his father's signet, which worried him.’
- ‘Since the great seal was heavy, the practice developed of employing a privy seal and later a signet.’
- ‘Then he sealed it with wax and applied a signet that he kept on the top shelf of the bookcase.’
Late Middle English: from Old French, or from medieval Latin signetum, diminutive of signum ‘token, seal’.
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