\ 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

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: Noun This makes red flag laws an extra-important tool, because the Suicide Prevention Resource Center says firearms are the most common means of suicide. Arkansas Online, 28 Sep. 2021 The Charleston Loophole, a federal law that allows for gun sales without a background check after three days, has been closed in 19 states and red flag laws have passed in 19 states. Nicole Goodkind, Fortune, 25 June 2021 Currently, only 19 states and the District of Columbia have red flag laws. Ronald Zambrano, CNN, 23 June 2021 The mayors praised proposals like red flag laws, but said more is needed, reports Robert Higgs. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, 17 June 2021 Also, there’s virtually nothing in the budget for red flag laws aimed at confiscating guns from people — such as the San Jose shooter — suspected of being armed and dangerous. George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, 10 June 2021 Publish model legislation for states to adopt red flag laws, which allow courts to temporarily suspend the gun rights of people who pose a danger to themselves or others. USA Today, 27 May 2021 In the Minnesota Legislature, a red flag bill and an expansion of background checks on all firearm transfers — two top DFL priorities — have not advanced in the state House or Senate this year. Hunter Woodall, Star Tribune, 8 Apr. 2021 Sears, a Marine veteran, has vowed to protect gun rights and opposes a red flag law. Chandelis Duster, CNN, 28 Oct. 2021

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

Learn More About red-flag

Time Traveler for red-flag

Time Traveler

The first known use of red-flag was in 1748

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near red-flag



red flag

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for red-flag

Cite this Entry

“Red-flag.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something 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!