noun, formally a plural of insigne, but usually used as a singular with plural in·sig·ni·a or in·sig·ni·as.
  1. a badge or distinguishing mark of office or honor: a military insignia.
  2. a distinguishing mark or sign of anything: an insignia of mourning.
Also insigne.

Origin of insignia

1640–50; < Latin, plural of insigne mark, badge, noun use of neuter of insignis distinguished (by a mark); see in-2, sign

Usage note

Insignia, originally the plural of Latin insigne, began to be used as a singular in the 18th century, and the plural insignias appeared shortly thereafter. All uses— insignia as a singular or plural and insignias as a plural—are fully standard. The singular insigne still occurs, but insignia is more common. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for insigne

Historical Examples of insigne

  • He looked pointedly at the insigne on Stan's pocket, then held out a tablet.

    Alarm Clock

    Everett B. Cole

  • The insigne you will recognize as a starfish opening an oyster.

    To Choke an Ocean

    Jesse F. (Jesse Franklin) Bone

  • As it drew near, he saw the insigne of the Solar Guard on the hood.

    Sabotage in Space

    Carey Rockwell

  • Morren describes a flower of Cypripedium insigne, in which there were two sepals and two petals.

    Vegetable Teratology

    Maxwell T. Masters

  • Rope (insigne of office) round waist for driving cattle, and tying the legs of cows when milking them.

British Dictionary definitions for insigne


noun plural -nias or -nia
  1. a badge or emblem of membership, office, or dignity
  2. a distinguishing sign or mark
Also called (rare): insigne (ɪnˈsɪɡniː)

Word Origin for insignia

C17: from Latin: marks, badges, from insignis distinguished by a mark, prominent, from in- ² + signum mark
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 insigne



1640s, from Latin insignia, neuter plural of insigne "badge, mark," from in- "in" (see in- (2)) + signum "mark" (see sign). Singular is insigne.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper