\ 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


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

Rodriguez, who is now retired, said Elliott’s resignation from the guardianship committee did raise a red flag for him, but the dispute seemed to be about personal issues between Fierle and Elliott. Monivette Cordeiro,, "Expert’s complaint against Florida guardian Rebecca Fierle was ignored for years before scandal erupted | Exclusive," 26 July 2019 Reyes said that as the expected raids play out across the U.S., attorneys with the American Immigration Lawyers Association will be monitoring the situation and looking for any red flags in the process. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Cities brace for immigration raids; Milwaukee officials urge residents to 'know their rights'," 13 July 2019 Reyes said that as the expected raids play out across the U.S., attorneys with the American Immigration Lawyers Association will be monitoring the situation and looking for any red flags in the process. Rafael Carranza, azcentral, "5 things to know about the upcoming immigration raids in major U.S. cities," 12 July 2019 Information provided by high school coaches and personal trainers can also help teams understand that a minor negative incident from a player’s past doesn’t necessarily represent a red flag. Tom Orsborn,, "Background checks big part of NBA draft process," 17 June 2019 Florida passed a red flag law after the Stoneman Douglas shooting and raised the minimum age to buy rifles from 18 to 21. Terry Spencer, The Seattle Times, "Education unions oppose calls to arm teachers," 11 Feb. 2019 Flag on the play: Hundreds of pro-gun advocates rallied outside the statehouse on Saturday, concerned at the recent push for red flag laws following the mass shooting in Dayton, the Columbus Dispatch’s Catherine Candisky reports., "Trump campaign launching nationwide student grassroots program in Ohio: Capitol Letter," 16 Sep. 2019 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

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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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

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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

Comments on red-flag

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