Meaning of FLAG in English

I. ˈflag, -aa(ə)-, -ai- noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English flagge reed, rush

1. : any of various monocotyledonous plants with long ensiform leaves: as

a. : a plant of the genus Iris: as

(1) : the common yellow-flowered iris ( I. pseudacorus ) of Europe

(2) : either of two blue-flowered No. American irises ( I. versicolor and I. prismatica )

b. : sweet flag

c. : cattail 1

2. : a leaf of a flag or of a cereal grass

II. transitive verb

( flagged ; flagged ; flagging ; flags )

: to caulk (as the joints of a barrel) with cattails or other flags

III. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English flagge piece of turf, flagstone, from Old Norse flaga slab; akin to Old Norse flag spot where the turf has been cut, Old English flēan to skin — more at flay

1. dialect Britain : a piece of sod or turf

2. dialect Britain : a slice of earth turned over in plowing


a. : a hard evenly stratified stone (as fine-grained sandstone or firm shale) that splits into flat pieces suitable for paving

a valuable flag quarry

b. : a piece of such stone ; especially : a thin piece split from such stone

looked down at the cracked flags beneath which the roots spread — Virginia Woolf

c. : a surface of such stone

scrubbed down the flag of the terrace each morning

IV. transitive verb

( flagged ; flagged ; flagging ; flags )

Etymology: Middle English flaggen, from flagge, n. — more at flag III

: to lay (as a pavement) with flags : cover (as an earthen surface) with flat stones

V. noun

( -s )

Etymology: perhaps from flag (I)


a. : a usually rectangular piece of fabric (as light flexible cloth) of distinctive design that is used as a symbol (as of a nation) or as a signaling device and is usually displayed hanging free from a staff or halyard to which it is attached by one edge — see fly II 6c, hoist ; compare banner , ensign , pennant , pennon , standard

b. : a flag that is the personal symbol of an admiral and is hoisted on a ship on which he is present and in command

c. : a representation of a flag

embroidered a flag on the cushion

little flags stenciled on the boxes

a flag of growing flowers

d. : something that is used like a flag to signal or attract attention


a. flags plural , archaic : the secondaries of a bird's wing

b. : the tail of certain dogs (as setters and hounds) ; also : the long hairs fringing a setter's tail

c. : the tail of a deer

3. : any of certain signaling devices: as

a. : one of the cross strokes on a musical note of less than a quarter-note time value

the eighth note has one flag , the sixteenth two

— called also hook

b. : a marker (as a piece of cardboard or a turned rule) inserted between lines of type to remind the compositor that an addition or correction must be made at that place — called also watchman

c. : range pole

d. : a thin oblong piece (as of metal or plastic) projecting from a movable rod by which it may be raised or lowered that is used for signaling (as of the availability of a taxi or the presence of mail in a rural delivery box)

e. : masthead 2a

f. : a usually colored metal or plastic clip that may be attached to a card or sheet of paper as a reminder of some future attention required

g. : a marker (as a small strip of colored paper) placed to protrude from a roll of paper at a place where it has broken and been spliced

4. : the end of a bristle for use in brushes that is farthest from the root, is relatively soft and flexible and often somewhat frayed, and is usually the free end in the finished brush

5. : something usually or properly symbolized by the display of a particular flag: as

a. : flagship

b. : an admiral functioning in his office of command

c. : nationality ; especially : the nationality of registration of a ship or airplane — called also registry

6. : feather 7


[ flag (VII) ]

: a wilted or dead leaf or a branch with such leaves on an otherwise healthy plant (as a tree) that is frequently indicative of an interference with the water supply to the leaves


ensign , banner , standard , colors , jack , pennant , pendant , pennon , streamer : flag is a very general term; in most situations it lends itself readily to substitutions for the more specific words following. ensign , commonly used in naval or nautical affairs, often indicates a flag showing nationality or nation. banner , often a romantic and literary synonym for flag , is frequently used in situations involving emotional ties and appeals

the star-spangled banner, oh! long may it wave — F.S.Key

standard is often used in reference to the flag, often an elongated one, of an individual, a cause or party, or a mounted or motorized unit, especially when serving as a rallying point

with the standards of the peoples plunging through the thunderstorm — Alfred Tennyson

after the execution of Charles I, the royal standard was replaced by the Commonwealth standard — W.G.Perrin

colors — the form more common than the singular color — may refer to national flags, flags emblematic of affiliation or partisanship, flags of most military units

the call to the colors

to join the colors

a ship carrying French colors

afraid to show his colors

the British colors were planted on the summit of the breach — Duke of Wellington †1852

The following words are more specific and limited in use: jack typically designates a small oblong flag indicating nationality and is used on the bowsprits of ships. pennant and pendant , the latter more English than American, typically refer to flags more or less triangular in shape used to identify individual units or to signal. pennon may apply to a narrower flag, one suitable to hanging from a lance

that squadron swung around … with a wicked whistling of wind in the pennons of its lances — Rudyard Kipling

streamer is likely to refer to a long narrow flag capable of streaming in the wind.

VI. verb

( flagged ; flagged ; flagging ; flags )

transitive verb


a. : to put a flag on (as for decoration or identification)

the course will be flagged at regular intervals

he flagged the important pages with bright red tabs clipped to the margins

b. : to cause (a horse) to be docked


a. : to catch the attention of by or as if by signaling with a flag ; especially : to signal to stop (as by waving the hand or a flag)

hurry and flag me a taxi or I'll miss my train

— often used with down

the watchman flagged down the truck

b. : to decoy (game) by waving a flag, handkerchief, or other object to arouse curiosity

c. : to convey (as a message) by means of flag signals

flagging his orders to the other ships

intransitive verb

1. : to wave or signal with a flag

2. of a pointing dog : to wag the tail slightly when uncertain as to the exact position of birds

VII. verb

( flagged ; flagged ; flagging ; flags )

Etymology: origin unknown

intransitive verb


a. of flexible bodies : to hang loose without stiffness : bend down : be loose, yielding, or limp

b. of a plant : to droop especially from lack of water ; often : to produce flags

2. obsolete : to move weakly — used chiefly of wings


a. : to become unsteady or feeble : slacken and decline : fall away

his interest flagged as their lack of success continued

the men get impatient and the morale flags — Michael Gladych

b. : to grow spiritless and dull

his wit flagged under such constant strain

c. : to decline in interest or attraction

when everyone had had a say, the topic flagged

such self-indulgent pleasures soon flag

transitive verb

1. archaic

a. : to cease to use (as wings) vigorously : allow to move weakly

b. : to permit to droop or to fall into feebleness

2. : to exhaust the vigor or vitality of : enervate

such sorrow flags the strongest spirit

Synonyms: see droop

VIII. adjective

archaic : pendulous , drooping

IX. noun

( -s )

Etymology: perhaps modification of (assumed) Low German vleger, a Frisian coin, from Middle Low German vleger

Britain : groat , fourpence

X. noun

( -s )

Etymology: probably alteration of flake

chiefly Scotland : a large snowflake

XI. transitive verb

Etymology: flag (VI)

: to call a penalty on : penalize

a lineman flagged for being offsides

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.