Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff
Introductionflag, piece of cloth, usually bunting or similar light material, plain, colored, or bearing a device, varying in size and shape, but often oblong or square, used as an ensign, standard, or signal or for display and decorative purposes, and generally attached at one edge to a staff or to a halyard by which it may be hoisted. The part of the flag attached to the staff or halyard is the hoist; the portion from the attached part to the free end is the fly; the top quarter of the flag next to the staff is the canton.
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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.