- 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.
- Archaic. standard-bearer(def 1).
Origin of ensign
SynonymsSee more synonyms for ensign on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for ensign
Ensign resigned from the Senate the day before he was going to testify under oath about the scandal.Don’t Lionize Coburn Yet
August 6, 2011
Ensign and Hampton's relationship may not have been so healthy, but they had the communication thing down.
One $20,000 loan from Ensign to Hampton was forgiven after the affair was revealed.
Ensign's wife Darlene had found out about the phones, so they had to stop using them.
The final payment ended up being a $96,000 gift from Ensign's parents to the Hamptons.
"It is the ensign of the Knights of Calatrava," answered Felton.The White Company
Arthur Conan Doyle
I, with nineteen men and my ensign, took a different route in quest of them.Chronicles of Border Warfare
Alexander Scott Withers
A schooner riding to an anchor in the bay was flying her ensign for help.The Manxman
Before that hurricane of passion the ensign recoiled, despite himself.The Tavern Knight
Ensign Bradley burst out, pulling at the sleeve of his superior.Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer
Cyrus Townsend Brady
- (also ˈɛnsən) a flag flown by a ship, branch of the armed forces, etc, to indicate nationality, allegiance, etcSee also Red Ensign, White Ensign
- any flag, standard, or banner
- a standard-bearer
- a symbol, token, or emblem; sign
- (in the US Navy) a commissioned officer of the lowest rank
- (in the British infantry) a colours bearer
- (formerly in the British infantry) a commissioned officer of the lowest rank
Word Origin and History for ensign
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.