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union jack

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noun
  1. a jack consisting of the union of a national flag or ensign, as the U.S. jack, which has the white stars and blue field of the union of the U.S. national flag.
  2. (often initial capital letter) the British national flag.
  3. any flag the overall design of which is a union.
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Origin of union jack

First recorded in 1665–75
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for union jack

Historical Examples

  • If you please, can you tell us anything about the Union-Jack?

    Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 104, January 14, 1893

    Various

  • Every one had a share in a Union-jack pocket-handkerchief, which they were very proud of.

  • By the union-jack, it was as good as a dozen kegs of rum to me.

    The Maid of Sker

    Richard Doddridge Blackmore

  • A tar was at hand to climb the loftiest palm, to strip its bushy head, and hoist the union-jack.

    Captain Canot

    Brantz Mayer

  • Crest / an American or spread-eagle bearing the union-jack displayed, over all a sun in splendour which never sets.

    "Mr Punch's" Book of Arms

    Edward Tennyson Reed


British Dictionary definitions for union jack

Union Jack

noun
  1. a common name for Union flag
  2. (often not capitals) a national flag flown at the jackstaff of a vessel
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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 union jack

Union Jack

1670s, from union + jack (n.); properly a small British union flag flown as the jack of a ship, but it has long been in use as a general name for the union flag. The Union flag (1630s) was introduced to symbolize the union of the crowns of England and Scotland (in 1603) and was formed of a combination of the cross saltire of St. Andrew and the cross of St. George. The cross saltire of St. Patrick was added 1801 upon the union of parliaments of Great Britain and Ireland.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper