en·sign (ĕnsən, -sīn′)
1. A national flag displayed on ships and aircraft, often with the special insignia of a branch or unit of the armed forces.
2. A standard or banner, as of a military unit.
a. A commissioned rank in the US Navy or Coast Guard that is below lieutenant junior grade.
b. One who holds this rank or a similar rank in another military organization.
4. A badge, emblem, or token of power or authority.
[Middle English ensigne, from Old French enseigne, from Latin īnsignia, insignia; see INSIGNIA.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
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