\ ˈred-ˈflag How to pronounce red-flag (audio) \
red-flagged; red-flagging; red-flags

Definition of red-flag

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

plural red flags

Definition of red flag (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of red-flag in a Sentence


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: Noun

Fuel Costs Petroleum products raise environmental red flags even before they are burned. National Geographic, "The environmental impacts of cars, explained," 15 Sep. 2019 The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for Mono County and the eastern portion of Alpine County because of gusty winds and low humidity. Alex Wigglesworthstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Wildfire in Plumas National Forest is California’s largest so far this year," 9 Sep. 2019 It’s unclear if that will change due to the red flag warning. Wire Service, The Mercury News, "Thousands of Burning Man fans are in the middle of Nevada desert with a huge fire threat," 28 Aug. 2019 The city is also under a red flag warning from noon until 11 p.m. Tuesday., "Portland metro Tuesday weather: Expect mid-90s heat, sunny skies," 27 Aug. 2019 The warning came as forecasters issued the year's first red flag warning of high fire danger because of strong winds, low humidity and warm temperatures in portions of the Central Valley and areas north of San Francisco. NBC News, "California utility blamed for wildfires cutting power to some customers to reduce risk," 8 June 2019 In northern California, the first red flag warning was issued for the fire season. CBS News, "Human-started wildfire in Arizona spreads to over 7,000 acres," 8 June 2019 Every team ahead of the Bengals in the AFC North has red flags; the Bengals are no exception, but their core is underrated and has a higher ceiling than most remember. Paul Daugherty,, "Doc's TML: You're in for a treat, Cincinnati fans. Positive thoughts on Bengals, UC, Reds.," 5 Sep. 2019 First, because all the Blazers red flags this summer sound awfully similar to worries that preceded the past few Portland seasons as well. Andrew Sharp,, "Giannis, Jokic and a Guide to the 2020 NBA MVP Odds," 4 Sep. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of red-flag


1962, in the meaning defined above


1748, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about red-flag

Statistics for red-flag

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for red-flag

The first known use of red-flag was in 1748

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for red-flag

red flag


English Language Learners Definition of red flag

: a warning sign : a sign that there is a problem that should be noticed or dealt with

Comments on red-flag

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


miscellaneous remnants or debris

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!