ori·​flamme ˈȯr-ə-ˌflam How to pronounce oriflamme (audio)
: a banner, symbol, or ideal inspiring devotion or courage

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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, 12 June 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'oriflamme.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1600, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of oriflamme was in 1600


Dictionary Entries Near oriflamme

Cite this Entry

“Oriflamme.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oriflamme. Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

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