What Is the Sign of ‘I Love You’ – Explained

Love is a universal feeling that transcends all boundaries, languages, and cultures. It’s a deeply emotional expression of one's affection towards someone. However, every culture has it’s unique way of conveying the message of love. In the world of sign language, the sign for "I love you" is a powerful gesture that needs to be executed with precision to convey the right meaning. This gesture involves the combination of three handshapes that represent the letters I, L, and Y, thereby symbolizing the sentiment of love.

What Is the Sign for Love?

Love is a powerful emotion that’s been expressed in various ways throughout history. People have used different symbols and gestures to convey their feelings of love to those close to them, and the American Sign Language has it’s own unique way of expressing this sentiment.

For deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals, the sign for “love” is especially powerful, as it allows them to communicate this complex emotion in a way that’s natural and intuitive to them. It’s a symbol of inclusion and belonging, helping to foster a sense of community and connection among people who might otherwise struggle to fully express themselves in a hearing-dominated world.

However, the I Love You sign isn’t just limited to American Sign Language or television game shows. It’s become a popular symbol of love and affection across the world, transcending language barriers and cultures. So, who exactly invented this widely recognized sign? Let’s delve into the history of the ILY sign and discover how it came to be.

Who Invented the I Love You Sign?

However, it’s important to note that the sign I Love You has been a part of the American Sign Language (ASL) community for much longer than that. In fact, the ASL sign for I Love You can be found in John Bulwers 1644 book “Chirologia: or, The Natural Language of the Hand,” where it’s shown as an adaptation of the sign for the letter Y and the sign for the letter L.

Over time, the sign has evolved and changed, just as any language does, and has become a beloved symbol of love and affection around the world. It’s now recognized as a universal symbol of love and is often used by people of all ages and cultures.

While the origin of the sign may be unclear, what’s certain is that it’s become an important way for people to express their love and affection for one another. From romantic relationships to friendships, the sign I Love You is a powerful symbol of the deep connections we share with others, and it’s use has only grown in popularity over the years.

Sign Language Interpreting Services and Their Importance in Facilitating Communication for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

  • Sign language interpreting services provide access to communication for the deaf and hard of hearing.
  • Interpreters act as a bridge between hearing and non-hearing individuals.
  • Effective communication is crucial in healthcare, legal, educational, and business settings.
  • Interpreting services can facilitate effective communication and lead to better outcomes.
  • Interpreters are trained professionals who understand both language and culture.
  • Sign language interpreting services are protected by law in many countries.
  • Remote interpreting services are becoming more common, providing access to services in rural areas or during emergencies.
  • More advocacy and awareness is needed to increase the availability and quality of sign language interpreting services worldwide.

Source: The Sign I Love You of Sign Language: Meaning, Origin …

The expression of love can take many forms, and one of the most famous ways of expressing it non-verbally is through the BSL I love you hand sign. This sign incorporates three handshapes to form the message of “I love you.” Let’s take a deeper look at the meaning behind this sign and it’s significance.

What Is the BSL I Love You Hand Sign?

The BSL (British Sign Language) I love you hand sign is a powerful and meaningful gesture used to express affection and love towards someone. This sign is commonly used in the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, as well as by those who communicate using sign language. The beauty of this hand sign lies not only in it’s simplicity but also in the emotional connection that it creates between the signer and the receiver.

The I love you hand sign is a universal symbol of love that transcends language barriers, cultural differences, and physical abilities. It’s one of the most recognizable hand gestures in the world, and it’s often used by actors, musicians, and other performers to express their love and gratitude towards their fans. This hand sign has become a cultural phenomenon, and it’s now widely used in popular culture, social media, and everyday communication.

It’s used by police officers, firefighters, and other first responders to communicate with deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals in emergency situations. It’s also used in medical settings, where it’s used to comfort and reassure patients who may be experiencing pain or discomfort.

It’s universal appeal and emotional resonance make it a timeless symbol that will continue to inspire and uplift people for generations to come.

History and Origins of the BSL I Love You Hand Sign

  • The BSL (British Sign Language) I Love You hand sign originated in the early 1900s
  • The sign was created by combining the letters “I”, “L”, and “Y” in sign language
  • The BSL I Love You hand sign is commonly used in deaf communities as a way to express love and affection
  • Different sign languages around the world may have their own versions of the I Love You hand sign
  • The use of hand gestures to express emotions and feelings has a long history in human culture
  • The BSL I Love You hand sign has become a popular symbol of love and is often featured in artwork and media

Learning sign language is a rewarding experience, especially when you get to express endearing messages like “sweetheart” to the people you love. In American Sign Language (ASL), this sign is easy to remember and execute with just a little bit of practice. Let’s take a closer look at the ASL sign for “sweetheart.”

What Is the Sign Language for Sweetheart?

Sign language is a unique form of communication that allows people to express themselves using visual gestures and movements rather than spoken words. Within the vast and complex world of sign language, there are a variety of different signs and signal systems that people use to convey meaning and offer expression. One of the most commonly used signs in American Sign Language is the sign for “sweetheart.”

This particular sign is unique in that it’s both simple and elegant, utilizing minimal gestures to convey a relatively complex emotion or message. By bringing the hands to the chest, forming modified “A” hands, and then gently tracing the outline of ones heart with ones fingers, this sign communicates both love and affection without the need for verbal language.

Like many other signs in ASL, the sign for sweetheart represents a meaning that’s more than just the sum of it’s parts. Rather, this gesture carries with it a range of subtext and emotions that can vary based on the speaker, the context of the conversation, and the personal experiences of those involved. For some, the sign may simply be a sweet and simple way of expressing fondness or endearment. For others, it may carry with it a deeper and more complex emotional resonance.

It allows us to express ourselves in a way that’s personal, meaningful, and unique to each individual, while also connecting us to a larger community of people who share our experiences and struggles. Whether we’re signing the word for sweetheart or any other sign within the rich and vibrant world of ASL, we’re participating in a shared language of love and connection that’s the power to bring us all together.

The History and Evolution of Sign Language as a Form of Communication

Sign language has been used for centuries as a way for deaf people to communicate. Over time, sign language has evolved and changed depending on the location and culture of the users. Different sign languages have emerged in various parts of the world, such as American Sign Language (ASL) and British Sign Language (BSL). Today, sign language is recognized as an official language in many countries and is taught in schools for deaf children.

Now that we’ve covered the hug sign, we can move on to exploring other commonly used signs in American Sign Language (ASL). Learning ASL is a great way to better communicate and connect with members of the deaf community or individuals who’re hard of hearing. Let’s dive in!

What Is the Sign for Hug?

This gesture is a universal symbol of empathy, love, and care that transcends language barriers and cultural divides. It’s importance is paramount in human communication, as it conveys a message of warmth and affection that’s often difficult to express through words alone. The hug sign is commonly used to show support, condolences, and congratulations, as well as to simply express joy and happiness.

The act of hugging is deeply ingrained in human nature and has been a part of our social and emotional lives for as long as we’ve been sentient beings. It’s a way to connect with others, to share emotions and feelings, and to physically express our affection.

For those who can’t hear or speak, physical expressions like hugging and the hug sign are crucial for building relationships and connecting with others.

In addition to it’s social and emotional significance, the hug sign has also been used in political and social activism.

It transcends borders, cultures, and languages, and it’s been a part of our social and emotional lives since the dawn of humanity. It’s impact on our emotional and physical well-being can’t be overstated, and it serves as a testament to the power of touch, connection, and empathy.

Cultural Differences in Hugging: How Different Cultures Interpret and Use the Hug Sign

  • Some cultures interpret hugging as a way of expressing intimacy and affection.
  • In other cultures, hugging is seen as a casual greeting.
  • Certain cultures may reserve hugs for close family members and friends.
  • In some cultures, men embrace each other in a form of greeting, while this is rare in other cultures.
  • In some cultures, hugs are considered taboo or inappropriate in certain settings.
  • Some cultures may prefer other forms of physical contact over hugging, such as bowing or shaking hands.
  • The meaning and significance of hugging can vary greatly depending on the cultural context.

Now that we know how to sign “why” in American Sign Language, let’s look at some other common signs and phrases in ASL.

What Is the Sign Language Symbol for Why?

It’s a closed “y” handshape that shakes slightly as it moves forward and down from the forehead. This sign is one of the most common in American Sign Language (ASL), as we humans tend to be curious creatures, always looking to understand the world around us. In ASL, the sign for “why” isn’t only used to ask questions, but can also be used to indicate confusion or disbelief.

To a deaf person or someone who’s fluent in ASL, the sign for “why” is a powerful tool for communication. Not only does it convey the question, but also the emotion behind it. Depending on the context, the sign can be slow and deliberate, indicating genuine curiosity or concern. Alternatively, it can be fast and sharp, conveying frustration or irritation. The speed, intensity, and facial expressions of the signer all work together to convey the intended message.

It’s worth noting that the sign for “why” isn’t universal across all sign languages. While many sign languages use a similar gesture (touching the forehead and then moving the hand forward and down), there are some languages that use a different sign altogether. For example, in British Sign Language (BSL), the sign for “why” is made by touching the chin with the index finger of the dominant hand, then moving the hand forward and up.


In conclusion, expressing love can take on many different forms and gestures, and American Sign Language has it’s own unique way of communicating this sentiment. The combination of handshapes for I, L, and Y create a beautiful visual representation of the powerful emotion of love. Just as spoken or written words can convey love, so too can physical expressions and movements. The sign for “I love you” allows deaf individuals and those who know the language to connect with one another on a deeper level and communicate their affection in a meaningful and beautiful way. It’s a testament to the rich diversity of human expression and the many ways in which we can show love and appreciation for one another.