verb (used with object), flagged, flag·ging.


    strike the flag,
    1. to relinquish command, as of a ship.
    2. to submit or surrender: His financial situation is growing worse, but he's not ready to strike the flag.
    Also strike one's flag.

Origin of flag

1475–85; perhaps blend of flap (noun) and fag1 (noun) in obsolete sense “flap”
Related formsflag·ger, nounflag·less, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for flag down

signal, welcome, salute, greet, address, shoulder, shout, yawp, accost, flag, holler, hello, yoo-hoo

British Dictionary definitions for flag down




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
  1. to assert a claim, as to a territory or stretch of water, by military presence
  2. informalto be present; make an appearance
strike the flag or lower the flag
  1. to relinquish command, esp of a ship
  2. to submit or surrender

verb flags, flagging or flagged (tr)

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
Derived Formsflagger, nounflagless, adjective

Word Origin for flag

C16: of uncertain origin



verb flags, flagging or flagged (intr)

to hang down; become limp; droop
to decline in strength or vigour; become weak or tired

Word Origin for flag

C16: of unknown origin




any of various plants that have long swordlike leaves, esp the iris Iris pseudacorus (yellow flag)
the leaf of any such plant
See also sweet flag

Word Origin for flag

C14: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Dutch flag, Danish flæg yellow iris




short for flagstone

verb flags, flagging or flagged

(tr) to furnish (a floor) with flagstones
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 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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with flag down

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.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.