Part of speech: noun

      Origin: Late Middle French, 15th century

A flourish after a signature, originally as a precaution against forgery.

Examples in a sentence:

“My father’s signature was recognizable because of his ostentatious paraph.”

“I recognized the paraph rather than the signature itself.”

Popularity Over Time:

Borrowed from the French “paraph,” meaning “paragraph,” with both words based on the Latin “paraphus,” meaning “short horizontal stroke.”

Adding a paraph to one’s signature was an early means of attempting to avoid forgery, since the more ornate one’s paraph, the harder the full signature would be to copy. When a notary signs a document of obligation, such as a mortgage or note referring to money owed, the notary’s signature is called a “paraph.” In this context, a paraph is different from a simple signature, because it certifies the document as legitimate.

“art is the signature of civilizations.”
-beverly sills


credits: word genius

74 responses »

  1. I sign with a small paraph too. It is done almost subconsciously and like you, without it the signature seems incomplete to me. I am not famous enough to worry about protecting myself from forgeries, but I do know you won’t mistake me for all the other Brads in your life. Great post, Beth. Have a wonderful weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

    • it just organically happened with me and it sounds like much the same for you. over the years it’s been funny to see my daughters imitate my signature, making sure to add the parapet.) you are right brad, now I know you are the legit brad –

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, when we bought our house in France, we had to *paraphraser* at the bottom of every sheet of paper of every official document (some 240 pages-and we still got cheated horribly!)
    I do those things sometimes on the envelopes to make them prettier. But I have such a large writing that I couldn’t add a paraph too 🤩
    And it’s true, your cards were w/o any doubt authentically Beth works of art 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is all new to me. And fascinating. I’ve never used a paraph, as best I can recall. Might be interesting to adopt one, but I so rarely write anything anymore. A grocery list is about as far as it goes.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. thanks for that nugget of information.

    on a somewhat related note, I’ll always remember one of the stories from The Hardy Boys where their father always signed his name by including a special mark in it, as a way of telling his family he was safe. if that mark was missing, then they knew he was in danger…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve been out of town and have decided to play catch-up today on some of my favorite blogs, Beth. (There’s your compliment for the day.😊) I love that signature. It makes me think of one of my students whose signature I loved. He used to write “Jason the Genius” on the work he turned in. Some teachers probably would have told him to knock it off, but I loved it because I loved to see individuality and expressions of freedom.

    Liked by 1 person

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