En"sign (?), n. [L. enseigne, L. insignia, pl. of insigne a distinctive mark, badge, flag; in + signum mark, sign. See Sign, and cf. Insignia, 3d Ancient.]


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. Shak.


A signal displayed like a standard, to give notice.

He will lift an ensign to the nations from far. Is. v. 26.


Sign; badge of office, rank, or power; symbol.

The ensigns of our power about we bear. Waller.

4. (a)

Formerly, a commissioned officer of the army who carried the ensign or flag of a company or regiment.


A commissioned officer of the lowest grade in the navy, corresponding to the grade of second lieutenant in the army.

Ham. Nav. Encyc.

⇒ In the British army the rank of ensign was abolished in 1871. In the United States army the rank is not recognized; the regimental flags being carried by a sergeant called the color sergeant.

Ensign bearer, one who carries a flag; an ensign.


© Webster 1913.

En"sign, v. t.


To designate as by an ensign.


Henry but joined the roses that ensigned Particular families. B. Jonson.


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.


© Webster 1913.

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