One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1historical A pirate's ensign, typically thought to feature a white skull and crossbones on a black background.
- ‘She is known throughout the Royal Navy as the ‘Black Duke’ and she flies a black flag from her mainmast at all times.’
- ‘He looked out the porthole and saw the black flag with the silver bird and daggers emblazoned on it as it had always hung since his first days on deck, so many years ago.’
- ‘The Pacific Northwest is likewise out - too much rain and too many cloudy days make me hoist the black flag and start looking for throats to cut.’
- ‘He ordered and some men began hoisting down Robert's black flag with a cutlass and it was replaced with Simon's red flag with a skull over a time glass.’
- ‘Could she set sail again and raise her black flag, if only in our dreams?’
2historical A black flag hoisted outside a prison to announce an execution.
A black flag used to signal to a driver to stop at the pits as a punishment for a misdemeanour.
- ‘Which driver was disqualified and banned for two races for ignoring a black flag in the 1994 British Grand Prix?’
- ‘In the season-opening Australian Grand Prix two weeks ago, Coulthard took advantage of a black flag to Schumacher to win.’
- ‘It was a relief that there were no penalty points for bad driving as I picked up three black flags - meaning a stop and go penalty in the pit lane - in as many laps.’
- ‘Montoya is disqualified from the race after being given a black flag for a technical infringement relating to the incident in the start where he used the spare car.’
- ‘Of course, I didn't want to pass him and get a black flag.’
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