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 the country to which a person has allegiance:the private’s heroism served as an example for every soldier under the flag
a ship’s country of registry.
a small piece of cloth, typically attached at one edge to a pole, used as a marker or signal in various sports:jumped the starter’s flag, did he?
the ensign carried by a flagship as an emblem of an admiral’s rank.
2a device, symbol, or drawing typically resembling a flag, used as a marker:golf courses are indicated by a numbered flag on the map
Computing a variable used to indicate a particular property of the data in a record.
3a hook attached to the stem of a musical note, determining the rhythmic value of the note.
verb (flags, flagging, flagged)
1mark (an item) for attention or treatment in a specified way:“greatfully” would be flagged as a misspelling of “gratefully.”
draw attention to:problems often flag the need for organizational change
Football charge (a player) with a penalty by dropping a penalty flag:a play in which he was flagged for being offside
2 [with object] direct (someone) to go in the specified direction by waving a flag or using hand signals:have him flagged off the course
(flag someone/something down) signal to a vehicle or driver to stop, especially by waving one’s arm:she flagged down a patrol car
[no object] (of an official in football, soccer, and other sports) raise or throw a flag to indicate a breach of the rules:the rookie cornerback managed to get flagged for three penalties in one game
3provide or decorate with a flag or flags.
register (a vessel) in a specific country, under whose flag it then sails:the flagging out of much of the fleet to flags of convenience
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 never consider buying an import, because he likes to fly the flag
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