Signs

instead of words. A symbolic language made by gestures. Members of religious orders bound to silence, communicate with each other in this way. John, a monk, gives, in his Life of St. Odo, a number of signs for bread, tart, beans, eggs, fish, cheese, honey, milk, cherries, onions, etc. (See Sussex Archaeological Collection, vol. iii. p. 190.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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