noun \ˈen(t)-sən, also ˈen-ˌsīn for 1, 2, & 3a\

: an officer of the lowest rank in the U.S. Navy

: a flag that is flown on a ship to show what country the ship belongs to

Full Definition of ENSIGN

:  a flag that is flown (as by a ship) as the symbol of nationality and that may also be flown with a distinctive badge added to its design
a :  a badge of office, rank, or power
b :  emblem, sign
a :  an infantry officer of what was formerly the lowest commissioned rank
b :  a commissioned officer in the navy or coast guard ranking above a chief warrant officer and below a lieutenant junior grade

Examples of ENSIGN

  1. <that ensign of tutorial authority, the hickory stick>
  2. <fittingly, the organization promoting the welfare of marine life features a dolphin on its ensign>

Origin of ENSIGN

Middle English ensigne, sign, token, banner, from Anglo-French enseigne, from Latin insignia insignia, flags
First Known Use: 15th century


Next Word in the Dictionary: ensign armorial
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