• WordNet 3.6
    • n ensign colors flown by a ship to show its nationality
    • n ensign an emblem flown as a symbol of nationality
    • n ensign a person who holds a commissioned rank in the United States Navy or the United States Coast Guard; below lieutenant junior grade
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • ensign A commissioned officer of the lowest grade in the navy, corresponding to the grade of second lieutenant in the army.
    • ensign A flag; a banner; a standard; esp., the national flag, or a banner indicating nationality, carried by a ship or a body of soldiers; -- as distinguished from flags indicating divisions of the army, rank of naval officers, or private signals, and the like. "Hang up your ensigns , let your drums be still."
    • ensign A signal displayed like a standard, to give notice. "He will lift an ensign to the nations from far."
    • ensign Formerly, a commissioned officer of the army who carried the ensign or flag of a company or regiment.
    • ensign Sign; badge of office, rank, or power; symbol. "The ensigns of our power about we bear."
    • Ensign To designate as by an ensign. "Henry but joined the roses that ensigned Particular families."
    • Ensign To distinguish by a mark or ornament; esp. Her, by a crown; thus, any charge which has a crown immediately above or upon it, is said to be ensigned .
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n ensign The flag or banner distinguishing a company of soldiers, an army, or a vessel; colors; a standard.
    • n ensign Specifically In Great Britain, a flag composed of a field of white, blue, or red, with the union in the upper corner, next the staff. Formerly flags with fields of all the three colors were used in the naval service, but now the white only is used for men-of-war, the red flag being assigned to the merchant service and the blue to the Royal Naval Reserve. In the United States navy the ensign is the national flag. See flag and union.
    • n ensign A sign or signal.
    • n ensign A badge; a mark of distinction, rank, or office; a symbol; in the plural, insignia.
    • n ensign Name and rank used as a battle-cry or watchword.
    • n ensign In the British army, until 1871, one of the lowest grade of commissioned officers in a regiment of infantry, the senior of whom carried the ensign or colors of the regiment: now called second lieutenant. (See lieutenant.) The rank of ensign also existed in the American revolutionary army.
    • n ensign In the United States navy, one of the lowest grade of commissioned officers, ranking with second lieutenant in the army. The title was first introduced in 1862, taking the place of passed midshipman.
    • n ensign A company of troops led by an ensign.
    • ensign To mark or distinguish by some sign; form the badge of.
    • ensign In heraldry, to distinguish (a charge) by a mark or an ornament, as a crown, coronet, or miter, borne on or over it: as, the heart in the arms of Douglas is ensigned with a royal crown (see the cut)—that is, with a crown borne on the top of it. A staff is sometimes said to be ensigned with a flag.
    • ensign To point out to; signify to.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Ensign en′sīn a sign or mark: the sign or flag distinguishing a nation or a regiment: one who carries the colours: until 1871, the title given to officers of the lowest commissioned rank in the British infantry
    • ***


  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
    “I know of no such unquestionable badge and ensign of a sovereign mind as that of tenacity of purpose...”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. enseigne, L. insignia, pl. of insigne, a distinctive mark, badge, flag; in + signum, mark, sign. See Sign, and cf. Insignia, 3d Ancient
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. enseigne—L. insignia, pl. of insigne, a distinctive mark—in, and signum, a mark.


In literature:

Parker, Lt. Jenkins, Lt. Burnham, Ensign Story.
"The Campaign of 1776 around New York and Brooklyn" by Henry P. Johnston
Marie picked up her ensign.
"Sonnie-Boy's People" by James B. Connolly
He was Ensign then and now he has his spurs and handles tartan.
"Gilian The Dreamer" by Neil Munro
The "Drake" fought under no colors, her ensign having been shot away early in the action.
"The Naval History of the United States" by Willis J. Abbot
M. Maudet, ensign of the watch, was convinced we were upon the edge of the Arguin Bank.
"Perils and Captivity" by Charlotte-Adélaïde [née Picard] Dard
They could see the British ensign run up above that of the French.
"Adrift in a Boat" by W.H.G. Kingston
She was a Spaniard, so Peter told me, as he knew from the ensign which flew out, hoisted half-way to her peak.
"Old Jack" by W.H.G. Kingston
Her ensign was hoisted reversed.
"The Heir of Kilfinnan" by W.H.G. Kingston
He hadn't recognized the girl without her parka and wouldn't have known her name if the SP ensign hadn't mentioned it.
"Unwise Child" by Gordon Randall Garrett
He immediately ran down, hoisting the French ensign, and yawing a little to show it.
"How Britannia Came to Rule the Waves" by W.H.G. Kingston

In poetry:

Where once thy churches prayed and sang,
Thy foes profanely roar;
Over thy gates their ensigns hang,
Sad tokens of their power.
"Psalm LXXIV: Will God For Ever Cast Us Off?" by Isaac Watts
Where lift the dim, perpetual isles
Their purple ensigns of the youth
That ever dimples, romps and smiles
Beyond the wrinkled pale of ruth.
"Waiting Their Crowns" by Folger McKinsey
There’s a royal banner given for display
To the soldiers of the King;
As an ensign fair we lift it up today,
While as ransomed ones we sing.
"The Banner Of The Cross" by Daniel Webster Moody
The first to smite, the first to spare;
When once the hostile ensigns fell,
He stretched out hands of generous care
To lift the foe he fought so well.
"Sumner" by John Greenleaf Whittier
Oh joy, oh rapture unforeseen,
The clouded sky is now serene,
The god of day — the orb of love,
Has hung his ensign high above,
The sky is all ablaze.
"HMS Pinafore: Act II" by William Schwenck Gilbert
Oh joy, oh rapture unforeseen,
For now the sky is all serene;
The god of day — the orb of love—
Has hung his ensign high above,
The sky is all ablaze.
"HMS Pinafore: Act I" by William Schwenck Gilbert

In news:

Ensign violated federal laws.
Republican Rep Dean Heller appointed to replace Sen John Ensign .
Nevada GOP Sen John Ensign won't seek reelection.
The Rise and Fall of John Ensign .
ASSOCIATED PRESS Sen John Ensign attempts to mend fences with the voters more.
Senate ethics panel appoints special counsel to investigate Ensign .
Ensign Group Inc (ENSG) Goes Ex-Dividend Soon.
Ensign cites harassment in call sign choice.
Coburn Aiding in Justice Investigation of Ensign .
Coburn Helping Feds in Ensign Probe.
Senator John Ensign , Republican of Nevada, tried to steer lobbying work to the husband of his former mistress, records indicate.
Senator Ensign 's Spirit of Bipartisanship.
Ensign Group ( ENSG ) operates nursing homes.
Howard Kurtz on the Sex Scandals of David Letterman and John Ensign .
Inquiries on Senator Ensign Are Anticipated.