American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A national flag displayed on ships and aircraft, often with the special insignia of a branch or unit of the armed forces.
- n. A standard or banner, as of a military unit.
- n. Archaic A standard-bearer.
- n. A commissioned rank in the U.S. Navy or Coast Guard that is below lieutenant junior grade.
- n. One who holds this rank.
- n. A badge of office or power; an emblem: "I want the seals of power and place,/The ensigns of command,/Charged by the people's unbought grace,/To rule my native land” ( John Quincy Adams).
- n. A sign; a token.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The flag or banner distinguishing a company of soldiers, an army, or a vessel; colors; a standard.
- n. Specifically In Great Britain, a flag composed of a field of white, blue, or red, with the union in the upper corner, next the staff. Formerly flags with fields of all the three colors were used in the naval service, but now the white only is used for men-of-war, the red flag being assigned to the merchant service and the blue to the Royal Naval Reserve. In the United States navy the ensign is the national flag. See
- n. A sign or signal.
- n. A badge; a mark of distinction, rank, or office; a symbol; in the plural, insignia.
- n. Name and rank used as a battle-cry or watchword.
- n. In the British army, until 1871, one of the lowest grade of commissioned officers in a regiment of infantry, the senior of whom carried the ensign or colors of the regiment: now called second lieutenant. (See lieutenant.) The rank of ensign also existed in the American revolutionary army.
- n. In the United States navy, one of the lowest grade of commissioned officers, ranking with second lieutenant in the army. The title was first introduced in 1862, taking the place of passed midshipman.
- n. A company of troops led by an ensign.
- To mark or distinguish by some sign; form the badge of.
- In heraldry, to distinguish (a charge) by a mark or an ornament, as a crown, coronet, or miter, borne on or over it: as, the heart in the arms of Douglas is ensigned with a royal crown (see the cut)—that is, with a crown borne on the top of it. A staff is sometimes said to be ensigned with a flag.
- To point out to; signify to.
- n. A badge of office, rank, or power
- n. The lowest grade of commissioned officer in the United States Navy, junior to a lieutenant junior grade.
- n. A flag or banner carried by military units. See standard, color, colour.
- n. nautical The principal flag or banner flown by a ship to indicate nationality.
- n. A junior commissioned officer in the 18th and 19th Centuries whose duty was to carry the unit's ensign.
- n. A prominent flag or banner.
- v. obsolete To designate as by an ensign.
- v. To distinguish by a mark or ornament
- v. heraldry To distinguish by an ornament, especially by a crown.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A flag; a banner; a standard; esp., the national flag, or a banner indicating nationality, carried by a ship or a body of soldiers; -- as distinguished from flags indicating divisions of the army, rank of naval officers, or private signals, and the like.
- n. A signal displayed like a standard, to give notice.
- n. Sign; badge of office, rank, or power; symbol.
- n. Formerly, a commissioned officer of the army who carried the ensign or flag of a company or regiment.
- n. A commissioned officer of the lowest grade in the navy, corresponding to the grade of second lieutenant in the army.
- v. obsolete To designate as by an ensign.
- v. To distinguish by a mark or ornament; esp. (Her.), by a crown.
- n. a person who holds a commissioned rank in the United States Navy or the United States Coast Guard; below lieutenant junior grade
- n. colors flown by a ship to show its nationality
- n. an emblem flown as a symbol of nationality
- Middle English ensigne, from Old French enseigne, from Latin īnsignia, insignia; see insignia. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“And then he glanced at the men, who were delighted with what they called the ensign's pluck.”
“June 17th, 2009 2: 52 pm ET by his own declared standard, ensign is supposed to resign the senate seat. a man who betrayed his wife, violated spiritual promise can not be trusted. do you remembe - he called for president clinton's resignation?”
“To make you easy, know I have four thousand pounds in the funds; and that, from the equality of living here, an ensign is obliged to spend near as much as I am; he is inevitably ruined, but I save money.”
“Tom paused for a moment, obviously puzzled at the chilly tone that underlined Chakotay’s use of the word ensign.”
“I'd always heard that this army rank was called ensign because they carried an ensign.”
“Now, negro companies are treated with respect, negro regiments are honored; because we honor the defenders of our national ensign, which is the representative and symbol of our national life.”
“Stand by to catch a line and make fast," called the ensign, as the launch, under headway, lay in close.”
“This common loyalty to the Queen and pride in her ensign is a sure guarantee for the continued greatness of our country.”
“The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact, That there shall be appointed by the President, to each regiment of infantry in the army of the Confederate States an officer to be known as ensign, with the rank, pay and allowances of a first lieutenant, whose duty it shall be to bear the colors of the regiment, but without right to command in the field.”
“The Banner has been described as the ensign of the Sovereign, or of a Prince, a Noble, or a Knight who had been advanced to the higher rank or degree of a “Banneret”; but it would seem almost certain that the display of Arms upon a Banner was never confined to a Banneret.”
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