[gon-fuh-luh n] /ˈgɒn fə lən/

a banner suspended from a crossbar, often with several streamers or tails.
a standard, especially one used by the medieval Italian republics.
a banner hanging from a crossbar, used esp by certain medieval Italian republics or in ecclesiastical processions
a battle flag suspended crosswise on a staff, usually having a serrated edge to give the appearance of streamers

1590s, variant of Middle English gonfanon (c.1300), from Old French gonfanon “knight’s pennon” (12c.), from Old High German guntfano “battle flag,” from Proto-Germanic *gunthja- “war,” from PIE *gwhen- “to strike, kill” (see bane) + *fano “banner” (cf. Gothic fana “cloth”). Cognate with Old English guþfana, Old Norse gunnfani. Change of -n- to -l- by dissimilation.


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