ensign

ensign

[en-sahyn; Military en-suhn]
noun
1.
a flag or banner, as a military or naval standard used to indicate nationality.
2.
a badge of office or authority, as heraldic arms.
3.
a sign, token, or emblem: the dove, an ensign of peace.
4.
U.S. Navy and Coast Guard. the lowest commissioned officer, ranking next below a lieutenant, junior grade, and equal to a second lieutenant in the Army.
5.
Archaic. standard-bearer ( def 1 ).

Origin:
1325–75; Middle English ensigne < Old French enseigne < Latin insignia; see insignia

ensignship, ensigncy, noun


1. pennant, streamer.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
ensign (ˈɛnsaɪn)
 
n
1.  Red Ensign See also White Ensign a flag flown by a ship, branch of the armed forces, etc, to indicate nationality, allegiance, etc
2.  any flag, standard, or banner
3.  a standard-bearer
4.  a symbol, token, or emblem; sign
5.  (in the US Navy) a commissioned officer of the lowest rank
6.  (in the British infantry) a colours bearer
7.  (formerly in the British infantry) a commissioned officer of the lowest rank
 
[C14: from Old French enseigne, from Latin insignia]
 
'ensignship
 
n
 
'ensigncy
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

ensign
late 14c., via Scottish, from O.Fr. enseigne, from L. insignia (pl.) (see insignia). Sense of "banner, flag" is c.1400; that of soldier who carries one is first recorded 1510s. U.S. Navy sense of "commissioned officer of the lowest rank" is from 1886.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Easton
Bible Dictionary

Ensign definition


(1.) Heb. 'oth, a military standard, especially of a single tribe (Num. 2:2). Each separate tribe had its own "sign" or "ensign." (2.) Heb. nes, a lofty signal, as a column or high pole (Num. 21:8, 9); a standard or signal or flag placed on high mountains to point out to the people a place of rendezvous on the irruption of an enemy (Isa. 5:26; 11:12; 18:3; 62:10; Jer. 4:6, 21; Ps. 60:4). This was an occasional signal, and not a military standard. Elevation and conspicuity are implied in the word. (3.) The Hebrew word _degel_ denotes the standard given to each of the four divisions of the host of the Israelites at the Exodus (Num. 1:52; 2:2; 10:14). In Cant. 2:4 it is rendered "banner." We have no definite information as to the nature of these military standards. (See BANNER.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

ensign

heraldic symbol carried on a flag or shield. The term is much misunderstood because of the popular use of ensign as a generic term for flag. A grant of arms or a matriculation (registration of armorial bearings) may in its text use the term ensigns armorial to mean the heraldic design of the bearer's arms. See heraldry.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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