Definition of insignia in US English:



  • 1A badge or distinguishing mark of military rank, office, or membership of an organization; an official emblem.

    ‘a khaki uniform with colonel's insignia on the collar’
    • ‘Sea Scouting insignia was initially developed by Kimo Wilder, Chief Seascout from 1916-23.’
    • ‘A large number centered on war themes, such as army-cap badges, national flags, and military insignia.’
    • ‘The following links provide images of the rank insignias as they were worn by both the Union and Confederate armies.’
    • ‘She adjusted the insignia that marked her rank before leaving the mirror.’
    • ‘What is the significance of the ribbons, insignia and medals?’
    • ‘Human Rights Watch found that the militias use Sudanese military weapons, insignia and chain of command.’
    • ‘Henry VIII dropped the wolfhound and replaced it with a lion, thus making the royal insignia less Welsh.’
    • ‘The US system of rank badges and insignia, introduced in the early 19th century, is highly distinctive, and instructive.’
    • ‘Masonic symbolism features prominently in many governments and military insignias.’
    • ‘Regimental top brass are insisting that if it happens, the Duke's must retain the insignia and badges as well as their name.’
    • ‘I'm less clear about the distinctions of rank and insignia on the other side of the great divide between officers and enlisted men.’
    • ‘These liveries came to be distinguished by heraldic insignia and emblems.’
    • ‘He noticed my military insignia and asked if I was going to Saudi Arabia for the Gulf War.’
    • ‘It is enough that he is clothed with the insignia of the office, and exercises its powers and functions…’
    • ‘In a combat uniform the Navy rank insignia would not be noticeable except at extremely close range.’
    • ‘There are other Scouters whom have provided me with scans of square knot insignia as well as other items.’
    • ‘She motioned them to come inside, noting the rank insignia on their collars.’
    • ‘His was the largest retinue in England and he promoted the use of badges and insignia, the most familiar being the Lancastrian collar of esses.’
    • ‘Appropriate use of the name and insignias can benefit all, while inappropriate use may reflect negatively on both the institution and its individual members.’
    • ‘Ramirez stood up easily in his military uniform, no insignia giving his rank.’
    badge, crest, emblem, symbol, sign, device, mark, seal, colours
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A distinguishing mark or token of something.
      ‘they left eternally inert blooms, the insignia of melancholy’
      • ‘We ourselves circulate as so many signs, carrying on our bodies innumerable minor signs and insignias.’


Mid 17th century: from Latin, plural of insigne ‘sign, badge of office’, neuter of insignis ‘distinguished (as if by a mark)’, from in- ‘towards’ + signum ‘sign’.