English language question

5 replies
Found 13th Sep 2006
I only recently learned that Union Jack shouldn't be called "Jack" if it is not on boat/ship - it must be named "Union flag".

Question - what about the rest of flags? Take, for example, English one. How's that called when it is on ship? Is it Jack or Flag? And what it is called if it is in someone's garden?

Just curious, really.

  1. Misc
  1. Misc


It's always called the St George's Flag. :?

Of course it doesn't really matter what you call it. I like to call it the Union Bob.

Original Poster

So if the St George's flag is on ship - is it still called "flag" in this case? Not that I own a ship you understand

In short - when flag is called a "flag" and when it becomes a "jack"?

Terminology: "Union Flag" or "Union Jack"?

The issue of whether it is acceptable to use the term "Union Jack" is one that causes considerable ]controversy. Although it is often asserted that "Union Jack" should only be used for the flag when it is flown as a ]jack (a small flag flown at the bow of a ship), it is not universally accepted that the "Jack" of "Union Jack" is a reference to such a jack flag; other explanations have been put forward ][1]. The term possibly dates from the early 1700s, but its origin is uncertain. The word Jack may have come from the name of the ]James VI, King of Scots who inherited the English crown, causing the flag to be designed, that is Jac from Jacobus, Latin for James. The size and power of the Royal Navy internationally at the time could also explain why the flag was nicknamed the "Union Jack" considering the navy was so widely utilized and renowned by the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries it is possible that the term "Jack" did occur due to its regular usage on all British ships using the "Jack Staff" (a flag pole attached to a ship on the bow). Even if the term "Union Jack" does derive from the jack flag (as perhaps seems most likely), after three centuries, it is now sanctioned by usage, has appeared in official usage, and remains the popular term. The BBC website disregards the term "union flag" because of its "great potential for confusion", preferring union jack (in lower case)][2] The term "Union Flag", on the other hand, is the term preferred in official documents by ]vexillologists. The ]Merchant Shipping Act 1995][3] refers to the national colours of the United Kingdom as "the Union flag (commonly known as the Union Jack)"

From ]Wikipedia

Original Poster

So it sounds like this jack/flag controversy only applies to Union Jack then.
Thanks for clarification.


So it sounds like this jack/flag controversy only applies to Union Jack … So it sounds like this jack/flag controversy only applies to Union Jack then.

I would say so because the term Union Flag is not generally used as my reply indicated.
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