ensign

[ en-sahyn; Military en-suhn ]
/ ˈɛn saɪn; Military ˈɛn sən /

noun

a flag or banner, as a military or naval standard used to indicate nationality.
a badge of office or authority, as heraldic arms.
a sign, token, or emblem: the dove, an ensign of peace.
U.S. Navy and Coast Guard. the lowest commissioned officer, ranking next below a lieutenant, junior grade, and equal to a second lieutenant in the Army.

Origin of ensign

1325–75; Middle English ensigne < Old French enseigne < Latin insignia; see insignia
Related formsen·sign·ship, en·sign·cy, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for ensign

ensign

/ (ˈɛnsaɪn) /

noun

Derived Formsensignship or ensigncy, noun

Word Origin for ensign

C14: from Old French enseigne, from Latin insignia
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for ensign

ensign


n.

late 14c., via Scottish, from Old French enseigne (12c.) "mark, symbol, signal; flag, standard, pennant," from Latin insignia (plural); see insignia. Sense of "banner, flag" is c.1400; that of soldier who carries one is first recorded 1510s. U.S. Navy sense of "commissioned officer of the lowest rank" is from 1862. French navy had rank of enseigne de vaisseau since at least early 18c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper