\ 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

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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 Consumers should treat too-good-to-be-true prizes or deals as a huge red flag. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "PlayStations and puppies top the holiday scam list," 18 Nov. 2020 VanwaTech is easy to spot as a red flag, but there are plenty of reputable tech companies helping hold QAnon up, unknowingly or not. Rita Katz, Wired, "What's Worse Than Foreign Election Interference? QAnon," 30 Oct. 2020 Dangerous conditions stretch into Tuesday across most of Southern California, where red flag and high wind warnings have been posted by the National Weather Service (NWS). Fox News, "California wildfires force 100,000 from homes in Orange County, neighbors help fire crews," 26 Oct. 2020 That’s a major red flag that the news report isn’t legitimate. Robin Terry Brown, National Geographic, "News can be confusing. Here’s how to teach kids to be expert fact-checkers.," 19 Oct. 2020 The answer is important, because if two or more participants develop similar illnesses after receiving the vaccine, that's an important red flag that the vaccine could pose safety risks. Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, "A week after Covid-19 vaccine trial goes on pause, Johnson & Johnson and FDA won't reveal critical details," 19 Oct. 2020 The red flag symptom that seems to really indicate COVID-19 is a loss of taste or smell. Elizabeth Gulino,, "This Is How You Can Tell COVID-19, Flu, & Cold Symptoms Apart," 14 Oct. 2020 The object is also in the same plane as Earth, not tilted above or below, another red flag. CBS News, ""I'm pretty jazzed about this": NASA expert identifies mystery object once thought an asteroid," 11 Oct. 2020 Also, a Broward County judge has agreed with the police that Parscale’s collection of 11 guns needs to be kept from him under Florida’s red flag law. Mario Ariza,, "Brad Parscale says he’s ‘stepping away’ from Trump campaign as judge orders that his guns be kept from him," 1 Oct. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of red-flag


1962, in the meaning defined above


1748, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for red-flag

Time Traveler

The first known use of red-flag was in 1748

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Statistics for red-flag

Cite this Entry

“Red-flag.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

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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

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