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Water in Sign Language – Video & Image Included

Lead Academy
4 Mins Read

The topic of today: sign for Water in sign language. Names of essential food and drink like water are among the first vocabulary you’ll learn in your sign language lessons. The sign for water is also probably one of the most accessible signs you’ll come across. However, that is very much dependent on the family of sign language we’re talking about.

It’s very possible that you’ve come across our blog searching for how to sign Water in ASL or American Sign Language. American Sign Language for Water is a bit different from British Sign Language. The same is true for other sign languages too. Incidentally, neither of them are on the difficult side when talking about the sign for water. The same may not be true for other sign languages.

With that said, we’ll just discuss BSL today.

Water in Sign Language

Before we begin, remember that BSL is a two-handed sign language. That implies you’ll be communicating with both hands.

This system does not apply to all sign languages, though.

Consider one of your hands to be a piece of paper. The pen is your other hand. The hand that functions as a pen is referred to as the dominant hand. Most people use their right hand. So, if your non-dominant hand is your left hand, it will play the role of the paper. The non-dominant hand is also known as the base hand.

Don’t change your dominant hand in the middle of a sign. In such a situation, your signs will be meaningless to your audience.

So, back to our topic: how do you say Water in sign language?

First Sign Variant

Let’s move on to the following videos. Take your time watching them.

Don’t be concerned with their tempo. We’ll go over the entire procedure step by step below.

Man seated in his room with his right hand near his face

1. Start with a normal posture.

Man seated in his room with his right hand near his face, using his thumb and index finger to make an ‘O’ shape

2. Lift your dominant hand up to your face. For the man in the image above, it’s the right hand.

3. Join your thumb and your index finger in an ‘O’ shape. Separate the three middle fingers, which would be your middle, ring and pinkie finger.

4. Take a look at the image above for reference. Your other fingers will roughly be pointing up. This is not strictly necessary. Just make sure that the ‘O’ shape is clearly visible to your audience.

Man seated in his room teaching how to sign water in BSL

Man seated in his room teaching how to sign water in BSL

5. Slide this ‘O’ shape from the back of your cheek to the front of your cheek twice. Just watch the video a few times, and you’ll understand the whole thing.

6. Say the word ‘Water’ while you’re signing.

Second Sign Variant

Have you seen that our link above shows multiple ways to sign Water? If you look up “What is Water in sign language?” or “What’s the sign for Water?” in Google, you’ll see that, in fact, there are several ways to sign the word in BSL.

Don’t worry. We’ll go through all of them.

Man sitting still in his room

1. Start with a normal posture.

Man in his room

2. Lift your dominant hand up to your neck.

3. Keep a fist.

Man signing in BSL and showing his thumb to the screen

4. Now roll the hand forward slowly like you’re throwing something.

5. While you roll your hand, keep the fist and only bring out your thumb in a sort of “thumbs-up” gesture.

6. Say the word ‘Water’ while you’re signing.

Third Sign Variant

Now, let’s go over the last variant of the word in BSL.

Man standing still in a field

1. Start with a normal posture.

Man using sign language to show he needs water

2. Lift your dominant hand up to your mouth.

3. Imagine you’re holding an invisible glass full of water with your thumb and pinkie finger while the other fingers are assisting with the task.

4. Keep your hand’s stance as such while lifting it up.

finish posture

5. Now, pour the water from that imaginary glass into your mouth. Tilt your face a bit back as if you’re actually drinking the water. Your body language will make the sign even more prominent.6. Say ‘Water’ while signing.


So, we’ve gone through all the ways you can say Water in sign language BSL. Practice the one that feels most comfortable to you, as it will keep it fresh in your memory. Also, make yourself visible to the individual with whom you’re interacting. Some signs appear inappropriate if others can’t see what you’re doing.

Never do this. Keep a lovely smile on your face when chatting, especially if you’re asking for a glass of water. It’s basic etiquette. Furthermore, a smile will help you connect more effectively.

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