Definition of half-mast in US English:



  • 1The position of a flag which is being flown some way below the top of its staff as a mark of respect for a person who has died.

    • ‘Flags were flying at half mast as a mark of respect for the Duke of Norfolk who died two days ago at the age of 86, the Arundel ground being part of the Duke's estate.’
    • ‘As well as the three-minute silence, our flags were held at half mast.’
    • ‘The film, though starting with the national flag flying high, ends on a pessimistic note of the flag flying at half mast symbolising the persistence of the struggle of women in various fields.’
    • ‘For instance Royal American Mounted Police flags fly at half mast outside police stations over the whole North American Union whenever one officer is killed.’
    • ‘With thousands of Swedes, Norwegians, Danes and Finns feared dead in the tidal wave, New Year's Eve celebrations were muted across the region, and yesterday flags flew at half mast in memory of the victims.’
    • ‘The red and white ballon flag flew at half mast as a mark of respect to the two people who had earlier died in a horror crash.’
    • ‘Saith said all flags in T & T would be flown at half mast today as a mark of respect for the burial of the Pope, who died last Saturday after prolonged illness.’
    • ‘The college's flag has been at half mast all week, as a mark of respect.’
    • ‘Sweden, Norway, Finland and Germany planned to fly flags at half mast in respect for the dead and missing.’
    • ‘Most Londoners have been in the awkward situation of having to explain to visitors from the US, that the flags aren't at half mast because someone has died, but merely to mourn the loss of our Empire.’
    • ‘Flags flew at half mast at North Marine Road yesterday as a mark of respect for events in America and the teams lined up on the field for a minute's silence before the start.’
    • ‘At the plant, which remained closed yesterday, two orange TCL flags were flown at half mast, as a mark of respect for the two lives which were lost.’
    • ‘The red carpet laid up the centre aisle, the uniformed presence of guides and brigini, the papal flag at half mast outside made the large congregation fully aware of the significance of this communal tribute.’
    • ‘The flag at Fulford Gold Club has been flying at half mast as a mark of the club's respect for Mr Duston.’
    • ‘It is also right that flags in the city should be at half mast, as a mark of respect to the dead and their families.’
    • ‘A council spokesman said: ‘We will be asking employees to observe the three minutes silence and we will have our flags at half mast as marks of respect.’’
    • ‘In India the national flag flew at half mast and all official entertainment was cancelled as the country entered the second day of three days' official state mourning and special masses were held in churches.’
    • ‘Flags flew at half mast on the OIC offices yesterday as a mark of respect for those lost in the terrorist attacks in which two planes destroyed the World Trade Centre in New York and another hit the Pentagon in Washington yesterday.’
    • ‘Corus corporate flags at plants across Britain and Europe are flying at half mast as a mark of respect.’
    • ‘He also strongly supported the Sailors' Reading Room in his own Southwold and it is appropriate that on the day of his funeral in January that Victorian building flew their own Long Island flag at half mast.’
    1. 1.1humorous A position lower than normal or acceptable, especially for clothes.
      ‘the zipper on his fly was always riding at half-mast’
      • ‘it was well into the evening and my tie was at half mast.’
      • ‘It was a man whose pants were baggy with a zipper at half-mast.’