Many offices building as well as governmental offices and building have a piece of metal or PVC (usually golden or silvery but can be in any color) and it has the information about the working hours or other information such as the owner of the office the physician of this clinic etc. It's usually located near the door outside the buildings, for people to see the information about them.

How should I refer to it? What is this piece of metal called?

Based on my dictionary it's called sign or placard, but based on looking at google photos it looks like a mistake in translation.

3 Answers 3


A small sign (like on a door) is a "name plate." If you wear it on your body it's a "badge".

A big sign with name of a business or institution on it is just a sign. Most people would just pluralize that as "signs", but a collection of signs might be called "signage" by someone whose job it is to install or design signs.

If you want to get Google image results, try "outdoor sign", but no one would be that explicit in conversation.

There are more esoteric terms like "shingle" (which even most native speakers will only know from the idiom "hang out your shingle").

There are lots of words for what goes on a sign (logo, emblem, hallmark, etc), but the object is still a sign.

  • IN Britain, lawyers, doctors, etc use plates fixed directly to the wall, often made of brass with engraved letters. They are called "name plates". Commented Dec 22, 2018 at 21:25
  • I would like to have opinion of both of you: How do you refer to it, as a sign or as a plate? (For example, if someone asks me where is a certain office, then how should I response? "Go further and you'll see a sign with the name of the office" or "Go further you'll see a plate with the name of the office."? Also, when I'm talking about what I saw on the opening hours sign / plate? Thank you for the help. Commented Dec 22, 2018 at 23:42
  • @Perplexedfolks "Sign" is much broader than "name plate". A name plate is almost always a person's name and it's mounted on or adjacent to a door (usually an interior door). In the US, the hours of operation are usually printed directly on the glass door or on a sign that's on the door. You might not say a sign if there is no distinct sign object, you might just say "on the door". Commented Dec 22, 2018 at 23:54

They can also be called a company name plaque. But there is no more specific term in general use. If you needed one, you'd call a sign-making company and say "I need a fancy sign with our company name to hang on the exterior wall outside the main entrance."


I think the nameplate outside an office or business is called, or used to be called, a "shingle". When you start out in a new business, it is referred to as "hanging out a shingle."

According to yourdictionary.com, definiton #3 for "shingle" is "a small signboard, esp. that which a physician or lawyer hangs outside his or her office." They say the word is "informal", but I personally think it is more like "archaic". But I think the shingle doesn't typically include business hours on it. That would be a different sign on the front of the shop, and I don't know the name of that one, or whether it even has a name.

  • Caution: If you said "Turn left at the blue shingle" or "It's the building with the FBI shingle in front", no one would even know what you meant. Commented Dec 22, 2018 at 19:34
  • @Ben Jackson, Yes, you are right. (Archaic)
    – Lorel C.
    Commented Dec 22, 2018 at 19:35
  • Not a "shingle" in British usage. Commented Dec 22, 2018 at 20:14

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