I am looking for a one word synonym for the notion "Without signature" for the domain of computer science, where "unsigned" usually means "a numerical data type which proscribes negative values", so I do not want to confuse my users.

For my specific scope, the "Without signature" means that a component failed to provide a signed identification (the signature itself) which was signed by a central authority (signing: The component provides an identification text, some operations are performed on it by the central authority in order to generate a unique and valid ID which is the signature)...

A very specific use case (as per David's comments), and I am sorry for the deep technical details:

if(component.signature() == unsigned)
    // do something with unsigned components
if(component.signature() == company)
    // do something with company signed components
if(component.signature() == consultants)
   // do something with components singed by consultants

but unsigned is a reserved word in most programming languages :(

  • 4
    IMHO this would not confuse users, because unsigned and signed values are never used in the context of "signature", I have never heard of a use case where the word "signature" was used in relation to signed/unsigned values, while they share the same base word, in the world of computer science, signature and signed/unsigned mean two wholly different things.
    – David
    Apr 8, 2013 at 9:15
  • Why does the word you seek have to not be a reserved word? Will you be using this in a programming language? Do you not mark reserved words differently in non-programming text?
    – Mitch
    Apr 8, 2013 at 12:06
  • Yes, the word I seek should not be a reserved word in the programming language since it will be used in the source script (just as shown above), and that will not compile if I use the reserved word with other purpose than it was intended to be used. The word will be a sort of additional identifier, thus why I want one word, not two. I know, I could use: not_signed or without_signature but I like to keep things short, that's why I'd like one word. :) Apr 8, 2013 at 12:11
  • 1
    In your case, you could simply use none. However I would suggest adding some leading characters to your enumerations constants to avoid namespace collisions.
    – Jim
    Apr 8, 2013 at 14:54
  • @Jim This is a great idea :) But I really like the "signatureless" from below, so I accept that! Apr 9, 2013 at 7:20

2 Answers 2


The conventional term for this is unsignatured.

unsignatured — adj. * * * unˈsignatured, ppl. a. (un 1 8.) Brydges Censura Lit. III. 342 Such notes..as appear unsignatured at the bottom of the page.

signature 2. Base verb from the following inflections: signaturing, signatured, signatures, signaturer, signaturers, signaturingly and signaturedly

Also consider:
sig·na·ture·less, adjective

Usage examples from different contexts:

d) Unsignatured ELT Signals The existing 121.5/243 MHz signals are unsignatured, i.e., they do not at present carry any form of unique identifying code to enable the LUT to separate the frequency ... (Intl. Elec. Elecs. Conf. Proc.)

Signatured parts tend to occupy a pitch-range roughly a fifth lower (for one flat) than unsignatured upper parts in the same pieces, … (Music)


When unsigned is already taken, you just use not signed. Or, well, without signature. You used these words to explain what you meant to us, so why not use the exact same words to explain it to others.

  • 1
    Even not signed could be considered to be talking about the lack of + or - sign.
    – GEdgar
    Apr 8, 2013 at 14:31

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