in·​sig·​nia | \in-ˈsig-nē-ə \
variants: or less commonly insigne \ in-​ˈsig-​(ˌ)nē \
plural insignia or insignias

Definition of insignia 

1 : a badge of authority or honor

2 : a distinguishing mark or sign

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Did You Know?

Insignia are the official signs of rank, titles, or awards. Medals are an example, as are the crowns of monarchs. The Catholic church employs such insignia as the red robes of cardinals. U.S. presidents have the presidential seal, which appears on the stand when they're giving a speech. But most of us think first of the bars, stripes, badges, and patches of military rank.

Examples of insignia in a Sentence

Their jackets have the school's insignia on the front.

Recent Examples on the Web

Several brands, including Los Angeles’s Monitaly, London’s Dunhill and Paris’s De Bonne Facture, have shorn off the pointless shoulder epaulets (originally designed to display military ranking insignia), for a sleeker look. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "How To Wear a Men’s Trench Without Looking Corny," 16 Oct. 2018 To emphasize their point, the women held up their garbage bags and pointed to the highway sign that had been the centerpiece of their selfie moments ago — not to mention the sorority insignia on their shirts. Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Washington Post, "‘Add “performing community service while Black” to the list of things that make you suspicious’," 15 May 2018 The famous insignias are done in-house on a $10k computerized monogramming machine. Olivia Rassow, ELLE Decor, "Are These The World's Most Famous Pillowcases?," 5 Mar. 2014 That villain is Zoya the Destroya, an evil Russian in a high-cut, skintight burgundy leotard with only one sleeve, a Russian military coat bearing a captain's insignia, spiked hair and a fur cap. Shannon L. Bowen, The Hollywood Reporter, "How Costume Designers on 'GLOW,' 'The Crown' and More Helped Leading Ladies Find Their Power," 18 June 2018 Two are generally reserved for a secondary logo or wordmark insignia, and the others are the team’s respective state flag and year of inception. Richard Morin, azcentral, "New Era reveals 2018 NBA draft hats for all 30 NBA teams," 5 June 2018 In the hour leading up to the first game, a few dozen fans waited patiently for the opportunity to purchase merchandise, even though many of them were already wearing something with the Big Baller Brand insignia. Dylan Hernandez,, "Beyond hype, hope for young players in LaVar Ball's basketball league," 22 June 2018 The state also barred apparel and insignia that promoted groups with political views. Adam Liptak, New York Times, "Supreme Court Strikes Down Law Barring Political Apparel at Polling Places," 14 June 2018 Russian forces without identifying insignia, along with military vehicles, began to appear on the thoroughfares of Crimea, home of Russia’s Black Sea fleet. Jeré Longman, New York Times, "Stuck in Soccer Limbo, in the Shadow of the World Cup," 2 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'insignia.' 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 insignia

1648, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for insignia

Latin insignia, plural of insigne mark, badge, from neuter of insignis marked, distinguished, from in- + signum mark — more at sign

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Statistics for insignia

Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for insignia

The first known use of insignia was in 1648

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More Definitions for insignia



English Language Learners Definition of insignia

: a badge or sign which shows that a person is a member of a particular group or has a particular rank


in·​sig·​nia | \in-ˈsig-nē-ə \
plural insignia or insignias

Kids Definition of insignia

: an emblem of a certain office, authority, or honor

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More from Merriam-Webster on insignia

Spanish Central: Translation of insignia

Nglish: Translation of insignia for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of insignia for Arabic Speakers

Comments on insignia

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by force of circumstances

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