ori·​flamme | \ ˈȯr-ə-ˌflam How to pronounce oriflamme (audio) , ˈär- \

Definition of oriflamme

: a banner, symbol, or ideal inspiring devotion or courage

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

The original oriflamme was the banner of Saint Denis, a patron saint of France who is said to have been the first bishop of Paris. Middle English speakers referred to this red or reddish orange banner using the Middle French term oriflamble, from Old French ori flambe, meaning "small flag." From the 12th to the 15th centuries, French kings carried the banner into battle as a way of inspiring their troops. This tactic met with such success that, by 1600, English speakers were using "oriflamme" to refer to any group's rallying symbol.

Examples of oriflamme in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For full thirty years Miss Anthony’s red shawl has been the oriflamme of suffrage battle. Kimberly Chrisman-campbell, The Atlantic, "When American Suffragists Tried to ‘Wear the Pants’," 12 June 2019

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

First Known Use of oriflamme

1600, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for oriflamme

Middle English oriflamble, the banner of St. Denis, from Middle French, from Old French ori flambe, small flag

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about oriflamme

Time Traveler for oriflamme

Time Traveler

The first known use of oriflamme was in 1600

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about oriflamme

Statistics for oriflamme

Cite this Entry

“Oriflamme.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oriflamme. Accessed 18 January 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on oriflamme

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with oriflamme

Comments on oriflamme

What made you want to look up oriflamme? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


experienced by way of someone else

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!