1 of 2


red-flagged; red-flagging; red-flags

transitive verb

: to identify or draw attention to (a problem or issue to be dealt with)
Those who voice the most displeasure in their marriage, are more likely to complain about their partner's weight, Newport adds, which may help counselors red-flag weakening relationships before it's too late.Matthew J. Cravatta
Drug testing, detailed questions about previous employment history, and criminal-record checks go a long way toward red-flagging risks.Anne Fisher
We met, we got along great, and I [Spike Lee] told her, "Not only do I want you to work with the actors, but I want you to look at this script. I am a man, and I know there's going to be stuff in there that's strictly from a male viewpoint—I want you to red-flag that stuff."Anne Stockwell

red flag

2 of 2


plural red flags
: a warning signal or sign
A high body-mass index is a red flag in general to clinicians. But sudden, unexplained weight loss can be even more worrisome.Melinda Beck
: something that indicates or draws attention to a problem, danger, or irregularity
Interested large investors often send in their own CPAs to conduct complete audits to verify statements or to spot red flags, such as excessively old inventory or uncollectible accounts receivable.Inc.
Whether you're dating a potential gold digger or are surrounded by friends who are constantly asking for handouts, you'll want to protect your money from those kinds of drains. Watch out for red flags such as dishonesty, secrecy around money matters and requests to co-sign a loan.Kimberly Palmer
Though Kearse did not take legal possession of the car until Jan. 4, 1999, after his eligibility had expired, the purchase raised red flags. [=aroused suspicions of wrongdoing]L. Jon Wertheim
see also red flag law

Examples of red-flag in a Sentence

Noun Gaps in your employment history are red flags to employers. the résumé she accidentally left on the office printer was a red flag that she was planning to quit
Recent Examples on the Web
Dell was revealed in May to be tracking employee attendance and grading them with an elementary school style of using blue, green, yellow, and red flags. Seamus Webster, Fortune, 16 July 2024 More:Track latest wildfires, red flag warnings across the US Community of Lahaina was destroyed The combination brought unbearable tragedy to Maui last August, when a burst of wildfires resulted in more than 100 deaths and nearly $6 billion in damages. John Bacon, USA TODAY, 11 July 2024 The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for the area Tuesday afternoon because of high winds and extreme heat. Nathan Solis, Los Angeles Times, 9 July 2024 Overtly artificial vanilla was a red flag for editors. Sam Stone, Bon Appétit, 3 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for red-flag 

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

Word History

First Known Use


1962, in the meaning defined above


1748, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of red-flag was in 1748

Dictionary Entries Near red-flag

Cite this Entry

“Red-flag.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
: to identify or draw attention to (a problem or issue)

red flag

2 of 2 noun
: a warning signal or sign
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