en·​sign | \ ˈen(t)-sən How to pronounce ensign (audio) also ˈen-ˌsīn for senses 1, 2, & 3a How to pronounce ensign (audio) \

Definition of ensign

1 : 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
2a : a badge of office, rank, or power
b : emblem, sign
3a : 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

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Examples of ensign in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples on the Web

Jane Kirkham, 22, of Rockville, Md., was one of 136 bound for service as ensigns with the submarine force. Nick Anderson, Washington Post, "‘Full speed ahead’: Trump salutes Naval Academy graduates," 25 May 2018 Kurita’s horizontal rain and naval-ensign sun were among the first 176 emoji. Virginia Heffernan, WIRED, "The Delicate Art of Creating New Emoji," 28 June 2018 Jim graduated from New York State Maritime Academy (formally Fort Schuyler) with a degree in Marine Engineering, a commission as an ensign in the US Naval Reserve and a Coast Guard License as a 3rd Engineering Officer in the US Merchant Marine. courant.com, "James A. Carnell," 25 June 2018 The umpire, Jeremiah Potts, was an ensign in the Navy traveling the Pacific Coast on the USS Suwanee, according to Allardice. Beth Bragg, Anchorage Daily News, "150 years ago on St. Paul Island, Knock Down and Skin ‘Em became Alaska’s first baseball team," 17 June 2018 The graduates receive commissions as Navy ensigns or second lieutenants in the Marine Corps and serve at least five years. Jeff Barker, baltimoresun.com, "President Trump at Naval Academy graduation: 'We are not going to apologize for America'," 25 May 2018 Courtesy of Michael Rosenberg Back then, for 18 long months at sea, the ensign didn't see a single woman. Howard Cohen, miamiherald, "World War II vets embark on their last mission — a whirlwind trip to Washington | Miami Herald," 13 Apr. 2018 Navy ensign Stanley Rosenberg, 93, recalls his crew pushing the wreckage into the ocean somewhere near the Philippines. Howard Cohen, miamiherald, "World War II vets embark on their last mission — a whirlwind trip to Washington | Miami Herald," 13 Apr. 2018 Bolivian officials say the Bolivian navy's ensign held by participants along a highway on Saturday is the world's biggest — or at least longest — flag. Washington Post, "World digest: March 10, 2018," 10 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ensign.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ensign

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ensign

Middle English ensigne, sign, token, banner, from Anglo-French enseigne, from Latin insignia insignia, flags

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Time Traveler for ensign

The first known use of ensign was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of ensign

: 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


en·​sign | \ ˈen-sən, 1 is also -ˌsīn\

Kids Definition of ensign

1 : a flag flown as the symbol of nationality
2 : a commissioned officer of the lowest rank in the navy or coast guard

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More from Merriam-Webster on ensign

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ensign

Spanish Central: Translation of ensign

Nglish: Translation of ensign for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ensign

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