verb (used with object), badged, badg·ing.
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Origin of badge
OTHER WORDS FROM badgebadgeless, adjectiveun·badged, adjective
Words nearby badge
What does badge mean?
A badge is a small object or card used to identify oneself in an official way. Most commonly, badge refers to the small metal medallion worn or carried by police officers or other law enforcement members. They’re often shaped like shields or stars.
Badge also commonly refers to the official identification card of a worker, especially one that’s pinned to their clothing or worn on a lanyard or cord around their neck. Such badges are often used for security purposes—having a badge allows a worker to enter the building or access certain parts of it.
Example: You pull another stunt like that and I’ll have you turn in your badge, Officer Hotshot!
Where does badge come from?
The first records of the word badge come from the 1300s. It comes from the Middle English word bag(g)e. The word was first used to refer to symbols worn by knights to identify themselves and the person they worked for.
The word badge appears in a very famous—and often misquoted—movie line from the 1948 film The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. During a standoff with bandits who identify themselves as mounted police, the character played by Humphrey Bogart asks, “If you’re the police, where are your badges?” The leader of the bandits, played by Alfonso Bedoya, famously responds: “Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ badges!” (Many people misquote the line as “We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!”)
The stinkin’ badges he’s talking about are the metal kind worn by police officers to identify themselves as legitimate police officers. Bogie was right to be suspicious—no badges means they’re not cops.
Badges are used in other scenarios to indicate that someone has some kind of official or legitimate status. Employees at large office buildings often wear badges that are essentially ID cards. Visitors to such buildings may be given a badge that identifies them as visitors. Journalists attending events usually wear similar badges (often called press badges) to identify themselves as members of the press.
Another type of badge is a merit badge, which is a small patch earned by kids in scouting programs like the Girls Scouts and Boy Scouts for completing projects and participating in certain activities.
Sometimes, a badge is more of a symbol, as in the phrase badge of honor, meaning something that’s an expression of pride.
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How is badge used in real life?
There are all kinds of badges, but the word is most commonly used to refer to police badges and identification badges worn by employees.
That guy with the badge? That was Pgh Police Officer Calvin Hall last May, planting trees in Northview Heights. Just one way he sought to build relationships and nurture the community he served. pic.twitter.com/ncnKrP2v8C
— Ken Rice (@kenricekdka) July 23, 2019
Let me tell you something you have a badge to get into the building DO NOT make me get up from my desk just to let you in bc it’s in your backpack you should already be wearing it like everyone else‼️
— Celeste✨ (@Ethnic__Swirl) February 5, 2020
Don’t hide your scars, wear them as a badge of honor. You've earned them.
— Penny (@penny___m) April 27, 2020
Try using badge!
Is badge used correctly in the following sentence?
If you don’t display your badge to the security guards, they won’t let you in the building.
How to use badge in a sentence
A review board must not accept an officer’s version of events simply because the officer wears a badge.
They’re federal agents, but with no name tags or badges, they are, in the moment of Simonis’s arrest, impossible to identify.What Happened In Portland Shows Just How Fragile Our Democracy Is|Maggie Koerth (firstname.lastname@example.org)|August 5, 2020|FiveThirtyEight
Sprinkle in trust badges like “Safe Checkout” or “Money-back Guarantee” across your site.Nine tips to increase the average order value (AOV) of your ecommerce store|Kevin Payne|June 24, 2020|Search Engine Watch
While many of the professional groups out there had unique items like a badge that identified them for most people, that wasn’t enough.
So, I took my badge and I got on the bus, which drove me across campus.
These days, to be featured by Travel Noire on Instagram is like a badge of honor for many black millennial travelers.‘We Out Here’: Inside the New Black Travel Movement|Charlise Ferguson|January 4, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Let Jourdan Dunn be the first of many—not an island, or badge of self-congratulation.One Vogue Cover Doesn’t Solve Fashion’s Big Race Problem|Danielle Belton|January 2, 2015|DAILY BEAST
In fact, Clark fell back first from her blows, losing his cap, tie, and badge in the melee.Dr. King Goes to Hollywood: The Flawed History of ‘Selma’|Gary May|January 2, 2015|DAILY BEAST
It denotes the person that puts on the badge, puts on the blue uniform, and goes into the streets to put their life at risk.
In the West Bank, serving time in Israeli jails is a badge of honor.Palestinian Cabinet Member Dies in Confrontation with Israeli Soldier|Creede Newton|December 10, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The badge of the order was a ribbon, striped black, white and yellow, and the device something like an icicle.The Every Day Book of History and Chronology|Joel Munsell
The string of pearls was coiled up in the midst of the roll of soiled muslin and the badge was pinned to one of the folds.
He stooped to pick up the turban and his eye fell on the regimental device of the metal badge.
It was then the badge of infamy and sign of shame—the punishment of the basest of slaves and the vilest of malefactors.The Catacombs of Rome|William Henry Withrow
On leaving the church, some young people put on tricolor cockades, and this badge was soon common in the streets.Belgium|George W. T. (George William Thomson) Omond