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Autograph vs. Signature: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Autograph is a person's handwritten signature, especially of a famous individual, often for keepsake purposes. Signature is a person's name written by themselves, typically for authentication or acknowledging documents.
Autograph vs. Signature

Key Differences

An autograph is a celebrity or notable individual’s handwritten signature, often sought by fans as a memento. In contrast, a signature is a person's name written in a distinctive way, used primarily for legal or official verification.
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Nov 18, 2023
While autographs are commonly associated with fame and are collected for their sentimental or monetary value, signatures serve as a tool for identification and authorization in various legal, financial, and administrative contexts.
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An autograph can be on any item, like photos, books, or memorabilia, symbolizing a personal connection with the celebrity. Conversely, a signature is usually affixed to documents like contracts, checks, or ID cards, signifying consent or acknowledgment.
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Autographs often have a personalized touch, sometimes including a message or dedication, reflecting the signer's personality or the occasion. Signatures, however, are typically consistent and uniform, designed for quick recognition and verification.
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The value of an autograph lies in its association with a specific individual, especially those in the public eye, while the significance of a signature lies in its legal and personal authenticity, binding the signer to the document's contents.
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Comparison Chart

Primary Use

Collectible, memorabilia.
Legal authentication, document verification.
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Association

With celebrities or famous individuals.
With any individual.
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Context

Often informal, personal.
Formal, legal, administrative.
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Personalization

May include messages, dedications.
Usually consistent, without extra elements.
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Significance

Sentimental or monetary value.
Legal validity and personal acknowledgment.
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Autograph and Signature Definitions

Autograph

An autograph is a famous person's handwritten signature.
Fans eagerly awaited the author's autograph at the book signing.
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Signature

A signature is a written mark for authorizing documents.
He put his signature on the contract, finalizing the deal.
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Autograph

Autograph denotes a hand-signed inscription for fans or collectors.
The autograph on the poster included a personal message from the athlete.
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Signature

Signature denotes a person’s consent or agreement on paper.
The signature at the bottom of the letter confirmed its authenticity.
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Autograph

Autograph refers to a handwritten signature collected as a souvenir.
Her collection of autographs included various movie stars.
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Signature

One's name as written by oneself.
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Autograph

An autograph is a manually signed piece of memorabilia.
The autograph on the guitar skyrocketed its value.
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Signature

The act of signing one's name.
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Autograph

A person's own signature, especially considered as a collector's item.
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Signature

See e-signature.
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Autograph

A person's own handwriting.
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Signature

A distinctive mark, characteristic, or sound indicating identity
A surprise ending is the signature of an O. Henry short story.
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Autograph

A manuscript in the author's handwriting.
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Signature

(Medicine) The part of a physician's prescription containing directions to the patient.
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Autograph

To write one's name or signature on or in; sign
The actor autographed a picture of himself.
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Signature

A sign used to indicate key.
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Autograph

To write in one's own handwriting.
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Signature

A sign used to indicate tempo.
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Autograph

Written in the writer's own handwriting
An autograph letter.
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Signature

A letter, number, or symbol placed at the bottom of the first page on each sheet of printed pages of a book as a guide to the proper sequence of the sheets in binding.
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Autograph

A person’s own handwriting, especially the signature of a famous or admired person.
Some autograph-hunters were pestering the players after the game.
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Signature

A large sheet printed with four or a multiple of four pages that when folded becomes a section of the book.
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Autograph

A person's signature used as a mark of formal approval.
If you could just put your autograph on the ol' contract, please...
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Signature

See chemical signature.
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Autograph

A manuscript in the author’s handwriting.
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Signature

A person's name, written by that person, used as identification or to signify approval of accompanying material, such as a legal contract.
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Autograph

Written in the author’s own handwriting.
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Signature

An act of signing one's name; an act of producing a signature.
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Autograph

(art) Made by the artist himself or herself; authentic.
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Signature

(medicine) The part of a doctor’s prescription containing directions for the patient.
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Autograph

(transitive) To sign, or write one’s name or signature on a book etc
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Signature

(music) Signs on the stave indicating key and tempo, composed of the key signature and the time signature.
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Autograph

(transitive) To write something in one's own handwriting
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Signature

(printing) A group of four (or a multiple of four) sheets printed such that, when folded, they become a section of a book.
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Autograph

That which is written with one's own hand; an original manuscript; a person's own signature or handwriting.
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Signature

(computing) A pattern used for matching the identity of a virus, the parameter types of a method, etc.
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Autograph

In one's own handwriting; as, an autograph letter; an autograph will.
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Signature

(cryptography) Data attached to a message that guarantees that the message originated from its claimed source.
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Autograph

Something written by one's own hand
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Signature

(figurative) A mark or sign of implication.
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Autograph

A person's own signature
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Signature

A dish that is characteristic of a particular chef.
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Autograph

Mark with one's signature;
The author autographed his book
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Signature

(mathematics) A tuple specifying the sign of coefficients in any diagonal form of a quadratic form.
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Autograph

An autograph is a celebrity’s signature, often personalized.
The singer's autograph on the album cover made it a prized possession.
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Signature

A resemblance between the external character of a disease and those of some physical agent, for instance, that existing between the red skin of scarlet fever and a red cloth; supposed to indicate this agent in the treatment of the disease.
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Signature

(internet) Text (or images, etc.) appended to a user's emails, newsgroup posts, forum posts, etc. as a way of adding a personal touch or including contact details.
Your signature must not exceed three lines of text, or 600 pixels in height.
Forum signature generator
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Signature

Distinctive, characteristic, indicative of identity.
Rabbit in mustard sauce is my signature dish.
The signature route of the airline is its daily flight between Buenos Aires and Madrid.
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Signature

A sign, stamp, or mark impressed, as by a seal.
The brain, being well furnished with various traces, signatures, and images.
The natural and indelible signature of God, which human souls . . . are supposed to be stamped with.
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Signature

Especially, the name of any person, written with his own hand, employed to signify that the writing which precedes accords with his wishes or intentions; a sign manual; an autograph.
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Signature

An outward mark by which internal characteristics were supposed to be indicated.
Some plants bear a very evident signature of their nature and use.
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Signature

A resemblance between the external characters of a disease and those of some physical agent, for instance, that existing between the red skin of scarlet fever and a red cloth; - supposed to indicate this agent in the treatment of the disease.
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Signature

The designation of the key (when not C major, or its relative, A minor) by means of one or more sharps or flats at the beginning of the staff, immediately after the clef, affecting all notes of the same letter throughout the piece or movement. Each minor key has the same signature as its relative major.
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Signature

A letter or figure placed at the bottom of the first page of each sheet of a book or pamphlet, as a direction to the binder in arranging and folding the sheets.
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Signature

That part of a prescription which contains the directions to the patient. It is usually prefaced by S or Sig. (an abbreviation for the Latin signa, imperative of signare to sign or mark).
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Signature

To mark with, or as with, a signature or signatures.
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Signature

Your name written in your own handwriting
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Signature

A distinguishing style;
This room needs a woman's touch
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Signature

A melody used to identify a performer or a dance band or radio/tv program
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Signature

The sharps or flats that follow the clef and indicate the key
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Signature

A sheet with several pages printed on it; it folds to page size and is bound with other signatures to form a book
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Signature

A signature is a person's name written in their own hand.
The document was validated with the CEO's signature.
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Signature

Signature refers to a distinctive way one signs their name.
Her signature was elegant and easily recognizable.
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Signature

A signature is a personal mark used for identification.
The artist's signature was present in the corner of every painting.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

How do celebrities personalize autographs?*

Celebrities may add a personal message, date, or the recipient's name to their autograph.
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Can a signature change over time?*

Yes, a person's signature can evolve over time but should remain consistent for legal purposes.
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Are electronic signatures and autographs valid?

Electronic signatures are legally valid, but electronic autographs may lack the sentimental value of a handwritten one.
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Is a signature required on all legal documents?*

Most legal documents require a signature for validity, but some may accept other forms of verification.
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Is an autograph legally binding like a signature?

An autograph is not typically used for legal purposes, unlike a signature which is legally binding.
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Is it easy to forge signatures and autographs?*

Both can be forged, but there are measures and experts to verify their authenticity.
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Do autographs increase in value over time?*

Autographs can increase in value, especially if the signer gains more fame or passes away.
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Do all cultures use signatures and autographs?*

Most cultures use signatures, but the concept and practice of autographs can vary.
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Can anyone's signature be an autograph?

A signature becomes an autograph when it belongs to a famous or notable person and is collected for its value.
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Are autographs always on paper?*

No, autographs can be on various items like books, clothing, or memorabilia.
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Are signatures confidential?*

Signatures are personal but not necessarily confidential, as they often appear on public documents.
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How do collectors verify the authenticity of autographs?*

Collectors use expert authentication services and provenance to verify autographs.
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Why are some autographs scribbled and hard to read?*

Some autographs are scribbled due to the speed of signing or the signer's unique style.
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Can a minor's signature be legally valid?*

A minor's signature can be legally valid but may have limitations depending on the context.
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Can an autograph have legal significance?*

While autographs are generally for personal value, in some cases, they may have legal relevance, like signed agreements by famous individuals.
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Can a printed name serve as a signature?*

A printed name is not typically considered a valid signature, which usually requires a handwritten mark.
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Can a signature be a symbol instead of a name?*

Yes, a signature can be a unique symbol, as long as it is consistently used and recognized as the person's mark.
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Is a thumbprint considered a signature?*

In some cultures and contexts, a thumbprint can serve as a legal signature.
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Are there any famous forgeries of autographs?*

Yes, there have been famous cases of autograph forgeries, particularly of high-profile individuals.
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How can one authenticate an autograph?*

Autographs are authenticated through expert analysis and verification processes.
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Nov 18, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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