E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
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 Archological Collection, vol. iii. p. 190.)