a ship carrying the flag officer or the commander of a fleet, squadron, or the like, and displaying the officer's flag.
the main vessel of a shipping company.
any of the best or largest ships or airplanes operated by a passenger line.
the best or most important one of a group or system: This store is the flagship of our retail chain.


being or constituting a flagship.

Origin of flagship

First recorded in 1665–75; flag1 + ship1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for flagship

bellwether, forerunner, head, chief

Examples from the Web for flagship

Contemporary Examples of flagship

Historical Examples of flagship

  • As soon as this penetrated to the flagship, Grayson was decorated and given a flotilla.

    The Adventurer

    Cyril M. Kornbluth

  • An answer from the flagship of the Black Fleet ahead had sounded.

    Raiders Invisible

    Desmond Winter Hall

  • The Baron went back to his flagship an infuriated, but by no means a wiser man.

    Captain Blood

    Rafael Sabatini

  • To find the flagship was more or less to find where Thorn and Sylva hid.


    William Fitzgerald Jenkins

  • General Huntington's voice sounded from his flagship, the Washington.

    When the Sleepers Woke

    Arthur Leo Zagat

British Dictionary definitions for flagship



a ship, esp in a fleet, aboard which the commander of the fleet is quartered
the most important ship belonging to a shipping company
a single item from a related group considered as the most important, often in establishing a public imagethe nine o'clock news is the flagship of the BBC
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 flagship

1670s, ship bearing an admiral's flag, from flag (n.) + ship (n.). Figurative use by 1933.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper