early 15c., "a token, sign, symbol; badge of office, mark or insignia of authority or rank;" also "battle flag, flag or banner of a ship or troop of soldiers," via Scottish, from Old French enseigne (12c.) "mark, symbol, signal; flag, standard, pennant," from Latin insignia (plural); see insignia, which is a doublet of this word. As the word for the soldier who carries the flag, 1510s. U.S. Navy sense of "commissioned officer of the lowest rank" is from 1862. French navy had rank of enseigne de vaisseau at least since early 18c. Until 1871 one of the lowest grades of commissioned officers in a British army infantry regiment, also a rank in the American Revolutionary army.
lowest noncommissioned army officer, 1570s, from French corporal, from Italian caporale "a corporal," from capo "chief, head," from Latin caput "head," also "leader, guide, chief person" (from PIE root *kaput- "head"). So called because he was in charge of a body of troops. Perhaps influenced by Italian corpo, from Latin corps "body." Or corps may be the source and caput the influence, as OED suggests.
Earlier it meant "a communion cloth" (late 14c.), from Medieval Latin corporalis (palla).
1610s, "hereditary commander of a Japanese army," from Japanese (sei-i-tai) shogun "(barbarian-subduing) chief" (late 12c.), sound-substitution for Chinese chiang chiin, literally "lead army."
"superior officer of a religious house or order," Middle English priour, from late Old English, and directly from Medieval Latin prior "superior officer," noun use of Latin adjective meaning "former, superior" (see prior (adj.)). As short for prior arrest, by 1990, American English.
war games played on maps with blocks representing bodies of soldiers, 1873 (once, from 1811, as a German word in English), from German Kriegsspiel, literally "war game," from Krieg "war," from Middle High German kriec, "combat," mostly "exertion, effort; opposition, enmity, resistance," from Old High German chreg "stubbornness, defiance, obstinacy," from Proto-Germanic *krig-, which is perhaps from PIE root *gwere- (1) "heavy" or cognate with Greek hybris "violence" (see hubris; also see war (n.)). For second element, see spiel (n.). Introduced 1870s as officer training in British army.
1660s, "empower or authorize by commission," from commission (n.). In the naval sense, of persons, "be given the rank of an officer (by commission from authority)," from 1793; of a ship, "to be transferred from the naval yard and placed in the command of the officer put in charge of it," 1796. Related: Commissioned; commissioning.
"one who carries a verge as an officer of the church," c. 1400, probably from Anglo-French *verger, from verge (see verge (n.)).