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To wave one's arms to attract someone's attention, usually to get them to stop moving. A noun or pronoun can be used between "flag" and "down." I was finally able to flag down a passing motorist to help with our stalled car. It'll take a while to flag a taxi down. Why don't we just walk to the museum?
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
flag someone or something down
to signal or wave, indicating that someone should stop. Please go out and flag a taxi down. I'll be right out. She went to flag down a taxi.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Signal to stop, as in The police were flagging down all cars. This expression uses the verb flag in the sense of "catch the attention of, as by waving a flag," a usage dating from the mid-1800s; down was added in the first half of the 1900s.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
To signal something or someone to stop: I flagged down a taxi when it started raining. When we ran out of gas, we flagged the police officer down to ask for help.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.