Etymology
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tricolor (n.)
also tricolour, 1798, "flag having three colors," especially the emblem of France adopted during the Revolution, from French tricolore, in drapeau tricolore "three-colored flag." The arrangement of colors on the modern French national flag dates from 1794.
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ensign (n.)
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.
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colors (n.)

"flag of a regiment or ship" 1580s, from color (n.). Hence color-guard (1820), originally the soldiers assigned to guard the colors of the regiment, color-bearer(1855), the one who carries the regimental flag, and to do something with flying colors "successfully" (1690s).

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vane (n.)
"plate metal wind indicator," early 15c., southern England alteration (see V) of fane "flag, banner."
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Union Jack 
1670s, from union + jack (n.); properly a small British union flag flown as the jack of a ship, but it has long been in use as a general name for the union flag. The Union flag (1630s) was introduced to symbolize the union of the crowns of England and Scotland (in 1603) and was formed of a combination of the cross saltire of St. Andrew and the cross of St. George. The cross saltire of St. Patrick was added 1801 upon the union of parliaments of Great Britain and Ireland.
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streamer (n.)
"flag that streams in the air," late 13c., agent noun from stream (v.).
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vexillology (n.)
"study of flags," 1959, from Latin vexillum "flag, military ensign, banner" (from velum "a sail, curtain, veil; see veil (n.)) + -ology.
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fane (n.)

"weathercock," late 14c., from Old English fana, fona "flag, banner," from Proto-Germanic *fanan- (source also of Old Frisian fana, Gothic fana "piece of cloth," Old High German fano, German Fahne "flag, standard"); possibly cognate with Latin pannus "piece of cloth" (see pane).

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mast-head (n.)

also masthead, 1748, "top of a ship's mast" (the place for the display of flags), hence, from 1838, "top of a newspaper" (where its name, etc. appears; the nameplate itself is commonly the flag), from mast (n.1) + head (n.).

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ancient (n.)
"standard-bearer," 1590s, short for ancient-bearer (1570s), from ancient "flag, banner, standard" (1550s), a corruption of ensign (q.v.). Archaic, but preserved in Shakespeare's character Aunchient Pistoll in "Henry V."
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