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red flag

the symbol or banner of a left-wing revolutionary party.
a danger signal.
something that provokes an angry or hostile reaction:
The talk about raising taxes was a red flag to many voters.
Also called powder flag. Nautical. a red burgee, designating in the International Code of Signals the letter “B,” flown by itself to show that a vessel is carrying, loading, or discharging explosives or highly inflammable material.
(initial capital letters) a war game the U.S. Air Force holds several times each year at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, to train personnel in air combat.
Origin of red flag


[red-flag] /ˈrɛdˈflæg/
verb (used with object), red-flagged, red-flagging.
to mark or draw attention to for a particular purpose:
The department has red-flagged the most urgent repair work to be done.
to provoke the attention of; alert; arouse:
The animal's refusal to eat red-flagged the keeper that something was wrong.
of or relating to a red flag.
intended or serving to emphasize, warn, incite, or provoke.
1880-85 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for red flag
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Yes, there they were—the pony with a small, red flag stuck in the browband of his bridle.

    The Red Moccasins Morrison Heady
  • A Socialist, carrying a red flag, marched through the gates of Heaven.

    A Book of Burlesques H. L. Mencken
  • Socialism, or the Red Republic, is all one; for it would tear down the tricolour and set up the red flag.

    Paris under the Commune John Leighton
  • When the freight arrived, he saw that it carried a red flag.

    Stories Of Georgia Joel Chandler Harris
  • We went to the windows in surprise, and saw the red flag over the rocket house, which is the signal for the lifeboat.

British Dictionary definitions for red flag

red flag

a symbol of socialism, communism, or revolution
a warning of danger or a signal to stop

Red Flag

the Red Flag, a socialist song, written by James Connell (1852–1929), Irish political activist, in 1889
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
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Slang definitions & phrases for red flag

red flag


Subject of a special warning or suspicion: His article identifies several ''red flag'' professions that have a higher-than-usual chance of being audited

[1976+; found as a sign of warning by 1777]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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