flag down


1 [flag]
a piece of cloth, varying in size, shape, color, and design, usually attached at one edge to a staff or cord, and used as the symbol of a nation, state, or organization, as a means of signaling, etc.; ensign; standard; banner; pennant.
Ornithology. the tuft of long feathers on the legs of falcons and most hawks; the lengthened feathers on the crus or tibia.
Hunting. the tail of a deer or of a setter dog.
the nameplate of a newspaper.
masthead ( def 1 ).
the name of a newspaper as printed on the editorial page.
a tab or tag attached to a page, file card, etc., to mark it for attention.
Music. hook1 ( def 12a ).
Movies, Television. a small gobo.
Usually, flags. the ends of the bristles of a brush, especially a paintbrush, when split.
Computers. a symbol, value, or other means of identifying data of interest, or of informing later parts of a program what conditions earlier parts have encountered.
verb (used with object), flagged, flagging.
to place a flag or flags over or on; decorate with flags.
to signal or warn (a person, automobile, etc.) with or as if with a flag (sometimes followed by down ): to flag a taxi; to flag down a passing car.
to communicate (information) by or as if by a flag.
to decoy, as game, by waving a flag or the like to excite attention or curiosity.
to mark (a page in a book, file card, etc.) for attention, as by attaching protruding tabs.
(of a brush) to split the ends of the bristles.
strike the flag,
to relinquish command, as of a ship.
to submit or surrender: His financial situation is growing worse, but he's not ready to strike the flag.
Also, strike one's flag.

1475–85; perhaps blend of flap (noun) and fag1 (noun) in obsolete sense “flap”

flagger, noun
flagless, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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World English Dictionary
flag1 (flæɡ)
1.  a piece of cloth, esp bunting, often attached to a pole or staff, decorated with a design and used as an emblem, symbol, or standard or as a means of signalling
2.  a small paper flag, emblem, or sticker sold on flag days
3.  computing an indicator, that may be set or unset, used to indicate a condition or to stimulate a particular reaction in the execution of a computer program
4.  informal flag officer short for flagship
5.  journalism another name for masthead
6.  the fringe of long hair, tapering towards the tip, on the underside of the tail of certain breeds of dog, such as setters
7.  the conspicuously marked tail of a deer
8.  a less common name for bookmark
9.  (Austral), (NZ) the part of a taximeter that is raised when a taxi is for hire
10.  the pennant-shaped pattern that is formed when a price fluctuation is plotted on a chart, interrupting the steady rise or fall that precedes and then follows it
11.  the flag (in Victoria, Australia) the Australian Rules premiership
12.  fly the flag to represent or show support for one's country, an organization, etc
13.  show the flag
 a.  to assert a claim, as to a territory or stretch of water, by military presence
 b.  informal to be present; make an appearance
14.  strike the flag, lower the flag
 a.  to relinquish command, esp of a ship
 b.  to submit or surrender
vb (foll by away or by) , flags, flagging, flagged
15.  to decorate or mark with a flag or flags
16.  (often foll by down) to warn or signal (a vehicle) to stop
17.  to send or communicate (messages, information, etc) by flag
18.  to decoy (game or wild animals) by waving a flag or similar object so as to attract their attention
19.  to mark (a page in a book, card, etc) for attention by attaching a small tab or flag
20.  chiefly (Austral) to draw attention to (something)
21.  (NZ) to consider unimportant; brush aside
[C16: of uncertain origin]

flag2 (flæɡ)
1.  any of various plants that have long swordlike leaves, esp the iris Iris pseudacorus (yellow flag)
2.  the leaf of any such plant
[C14: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Dutch flag, Danish flæg yellow iris]

flag3 (flæɡ)
vb , flags, flagging, flagged
1.  to hang down; become limp; droop
2.  to decline in strength or vigour; become weak or tired
[C16: of unknown origin]

flag4 (flæɡ)
1.  short for flagstone
vb , flags, flagging, flagged
2.  (tr) to furnish (a floor) with flagstones

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"cloth ensign," late 15c., now in all modern Germanic languages, but apparently first recorded in English, origin unknown, but likely connected with flag (v.) or else, like it, onomatopoeic. A less likely guess is that it is from the flag in
flagstone on notion of being square and flat. U.S. Flag Day (1894) is in reference to the adopting of the Stars and Stripes by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777.

1540s, "flap about loosely," perhaps a variant of M.E. flakken, flacken "to flap, flutter," probably from O.N. flakka "to flicker, flutter," perhaps onomatopoeic of something flapping in the wind. Sense of "go limp, droop" is first recorded 1610s. Meaning "to designate as someone who will not be served
more liquor" is from 1980s, probably from use of flags to signal trains, etc., to halt, which led to the verb in this sense (1856). Related: Flagged; flagging.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Bible Dictionary

Flag definition

(Heb., or rather Egyptian, ahu, Job 8:11), rendered "meadow" in Gen. 41:2, 18; probably the Cyperus esculentus, a species of rush eaten by cattle, the Nile reed. It also grows in Palestine. In Ex. 2:3, 5, Isa. 19:6, it is the rendering of the Hebrew _suph_, a word which occurs frequently in connection with _yam_; as _yam suph_, to denote the "Red Sea" (q.v.) or the sea of weeds (as this word is rendered, Jonah 2:5). It denotes some kind of sedge or reed which grows in marshy places. (See PAPER ØT0002840, REED.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

flag down

Signal to stop, as in The police were flagging down all cars. This expression uses the verb flag in the sense of "catch the attention of, as by waving a flag," a usage dating from the mid-1800s; down was added in the first half of the 1900s.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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