Last modified: 2012-04-06 by antónio martins
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A definition for the word "flag" (in English)
actually caused the editors of the DoV
more problems than any other. In the end we decided to go with a
completely generic, non-exclusive definition, and that it was far
more useful to detail flags by their type and/or usage —
hence the single definition under
FLAG, and multiple definitions
COLOUR etc., etc.
As just one example, we are saying that a
banner of arms
(or armorial banner if you prefer) may — if you so wish
of course — be generically defined as a flag, but is
more specifically detailed under
Christopher Southworth, 12 Aug 2007
But "flag" also means flat pieces of stone paving a garden
pathway, a type of iris growing in that garden, and, as a verb, to
become weary and tired! Not to mention several meanings that derive
directly from our favorite “vex-ation”, like
«flagging a message» and «flagging a taxicab»
— meaning «to put a vexillological but metaphorical
flag up as a signal».
Bill Dunning, 11 Aug 2007
London hackney carriage (taxi) cabs used to have a red flag,
made out of metal, which was a part of the meter, to determine
the fare and visible from the outside of the taxicab, so that
potential passengers could see that the taxi was available for
hire. When the passenger got into the cab, the driver would put
the flag down. You can still see this in the 1963 classic film
of its genre, Carry on, Cabbie. These days, it is
symbolic rather than literal, which probably accounts for the
diminishing use of the phrase in The Queens English.
Colin Dobson, 11 Aug 2007
So "flag down a hack" means literally to cause the flag to be
turned down, even if its only a remembered symbolic flag.
Bill Dunning, 12 Aug 2007
I dont think so: There it likely is referring to how
sometimes (warning a train, for example), you actually wave a
flag at a vehicle. The word "flag", I think, was also used
in the United States, but I think it was just a lever. Usage of
the word "flag" may have crossed over without the actually
symbolism open cabs here have lights on top.
Nathan Lamm, 12 Aug 2007
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