A flag is a piece of fabric (most often rectangular or quadrilateral) with a distinctive design and colors. It is used as a symbol, a signaling device, or for decoration. The term flag is also used to refer to the graphic designemployed, and flags have evolved into a general tool for rudimentary signalling and identification, especially in environments where communication is challenging (such as the maritime environment, where semaphoreis used). The study of flags is known as "vexillology" from the Latin vexillum, meaning "flag" or "banner".
National flags are patriotic symbols with widely varied interpretations that often include strong military associations because of their original and ongoing use for that purpose. Flags are also used in messaging, advertising, or for decorative purposes.
Some military units are called "flags" after their use of flags. A flag (Arabic: لواء) is equivalent to a brigade in Arab countries. In Spain, a flag (Spanish: bandera) is a battalion-equivalent in the Spanish Legion.