1a piece of cloth or similar material, typically oblong or square, attachable by one edge to a pole or rope and used as the symbol or emblem of a country or institution or as a decoration during public festivities:the American flag
used in reference to one’s home country or its system of beliefs and values:he pledged allegiance to the flag
the ensign carried by a flagship as an emblem of an admiral’s rank:Hawke first hoisted his flag at Spithead
2a small piece of cloth attached at one edge to a pole and used as a marker or signal in various sports:the flag’s up
a drawing or symbol resembling a flag, used as a marker:golf courses are indicated by a numbered flag on the map
a small paper badge given to people who donate to a charity appeal in the street.
a mechanism that can be raised to indicate that a taxi is for hire.
3 Computing a variable used to indicate a particular property of the data in a record.
verb (flags, flagging, flagged)
1mark (an item) for attention or treatment in a specified way:the spellcheck program flags any words that are not in its dictionary
draw attention to:cancer was flagged up as a priority area for research
2 (flag someone/thing down) signal to a vehicle or driver to stop, especially by waving one’s arm:she flagged down a police patrol car
(flag someone/thing off) wave a flag at someone or something as a starting signal:the vintage car fiesta will be flagged off by the minister for tourism
[no object] (of an official) raise a flag to draw the referee’s attention to a breach of the rules in soccer, rugby, and other sports:the goalkeeper brought down Hendrie and a linesman immediately flagged
3provide or decorate with a flag or flags.
register (a vessel) in a particular country, under whose flag it then sails.
fly the flag
(of a ship) be registered in a particular country and sail under its flag.
(also show or carry or wave the flag) represent or demonstrate support for one’s country, political party, or organization, especially when one is abroad:he will be flying the flag for British fashion on the Paris catwalks
put the flags (or flag) out
celebrate:temperatures are increasing again—that’s why we’re putting out the flags
show the flag
(of a naval vessel) make an official visit to a foreign port, especially as a show of strength.
wrap oneself in the flag
chiefly North American make an excessive show of one’s patriotism, especially for political ends.
mid 16th century: perhaps from obsolete flag 'drooping', of unknown ultimate origin