piece of fabric with a distinctive design, used as a symbol
A flag is a piece of coloured cloth with a special design that is put on a pole as a symbol.
Flags first appeared more than 2000 years ago in China, and in Europe under the Roman Empire.
There are many types of flags:
- A National Flag is the symbol of a country (nation). For example, the national flag of the United States is the Stars and Stripes; the flag of the United Kingdom is the Union Flag' or 'Union Jack; the national flag of France is the Tricolore and the national flag of Flag of Cyprus has an image of a map of its own country on its flag.
- An Ensign is a special type of national flag for use on ships. Different kinds of ships often use different kinds of ensigns. For example, warships use a naval ensign which is usually different from the ensigns used by other ships.
- A Rank Flag is used by the head of state, as well as by a senior officer of the navy, army or air force, to show where he or she is.
- In the past, soldiers carried beautiful flags to war. Today these ceremonial flags are used only at military parades.
- Some states, provinces, cities and towns have their own flags. For example, all 50 states within the United States have their own state flags.
- A Signal Flag is a flag used by ships to send messages to other ships or to people on land. Every ship keeps many different signal flags for use in different situations. Signal flags are also used for racing.
- Flags are sometimes also used to represent a business, a sports team, a school, a political party, or other organizations.