- a piece of cloth, varying in size, shape, color, and design, usually attached at one edge to a staff or cord, and used as the symbol of a nation, state, or organization, as a means of signaling, etc.; ensign; standard; banner; pennant.
- Ornithology. the tuft of long feathers on the legs of falcons and most hawks; the lengthened feathers on the crus or tibia.
- Hunting. the tail of a deer or of a setter dog.
- the nameplate of a newspaper.
- masthead(def 1).
- the name of a newspaper as printed on the editorial page.
- a tab or tag attached to a page, file card, etc., to mark it for attention.
- Music. hook1(def 12a).
- Movies, Television. a small gobo.
- Usually flags. the ends of the bristles of a brush, especially a paintbrush, when split.
- Computers. a symbol, value, or other means of identifying data of interest, or of informing later parts of a program what conditions earlier parts have encountered.
- to place a flag or flags over or on; decorate with flags.
- to signal or warn (a person, automobile, etc.) with or as if with a flag (sometimes followed by down): to flag a taxi; to flag down a passing car.
- to communicate (information) by or as if by a flag.
- to decoy, as game, by waving a flag or the like to excite attention or curiosity.
- to mark (a page in a book, file card, etc.) for attention, as by attaching protruding tabs.
- (of a brush) to split the ends of the bristles.
- strike the flag,
- to relinquish command, as of a ship.
- to submit or surrender: His financial situation is growing worse, but he's not ready to strike the flag.
Origin of flag1
- a piece of cloth, esp bunting, often attached to a pole or staff, decorated with a design and used as an emblem, symbol, or standard or as a means of signalling
- a small paper flag, emblem, or sticker sold on flag days
- computing an indicator, that may be set or unset, used to indicate a condition or to stimulate a particular reaction in the execution of a computer program
- informal short for flag officer, flagship
- journalism another name for masthead (def. 2)
- the fringe of long hair, tapering towards the tip, on the underside of the tail of certain breeds of dog, such as setters
- the conspicuously marked tail of a deer
- a less common name for bookmark
- Australian and NZ the part of a taximeter that is raised when a taxi is for hire
- the pennant-shaped pattern that is formed when a price fluctuation is plotted on a chart, interrupting the steady rise or fall that precedes and then follows it
- the flag (in Victoria, Australia) the Australian Rules premiership
- fly the flag to represent or show support for one's country, an organization, etc
- show the flag
- to assert a claim, as to a territory or stretch of water, by military presence
- informalto be present; make an appearance
- strike the flag or lower the flag
- to relinquish command, esp of a ship
- to submit or surrender
- to decorate or mark with a flag or flags
- (often foll by down) to warn or signal (a vehicle) to stop
- to send or communicate (messages, information, etc) by flag
- to decoy (game or wild animals) by waving a flag or similar object so as to attract their attention
- to mark (a page in a book, card, etc) for attention by attaching a small tab or flag
- mainly Australian to draw attention to (something)
- (foll by away or by) NZ to consider unimportant; brush aside
- to hang down; become limp; droop
- to decline in strength or vigour; become weak or tired
- any of various plants that have long swordlike leaves, esp the iris Iris pseudacorus (yellow flag)
- the leaf of any such plant
- short for flagstone
- (tr) to furnish (a floor) with flagstones
Word Origin and History for flag down
"flat, split stone," c.1600, earlier "piece cut from turf or sod" (mid-15c.), from Old Norse flaga "stone slab," perhaps related to Old Norse flak (see flake (n.)).
aquatic plant, late 14c., "reed, rush," perhaps from a Scandinavian source (cf. Danish flæg "yellow iris") or Dutch flag; perhaps ultimately connected to flag (v.) on notion of "fluttering in the breeze."
"cloth ensign," late 15c., now in all modern Germanic languages, but apparently first recorded in English, origin unknown, but likely connected with flag (v.) or else, like it, perhaps imitative. A less likely guess is that it is from the flag in flagstone on notion of being square and flat. U.S. Flag Day (1894) is in reference to the adopting of the Stars and Stripes by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777.
1540s, "flap about loosely," perhaps a variant of Middle English flakken, flacken "to flap, flutter" (late 14c.), probably from Old Norse flakka "to flicker, flutter," perhaps imitative of something flapping lazily in the wind.
Sense of "go limp, droop" is first recorded 1610s. Meaning "to designate as someone who will not be served more liquor" is from 1980s, probably from use of flags to signal trains, etc., to halt, which led to the verb in this sense (1856, American English). Related: Flagged; flagging.
Idioms and Phrases with flag down
Signal to stop, as in The police were flagging down all cars. This expression uses the verb flag in the sense of “catch the attention of, as by waving a flag,” a usage dating from the mid-1800s; down was added in the first half of the 1900s.