Half-Mast or Half-Staff – What’s the Difference?

In many nations, flags will sporadically be flown about halfway up the flagpole, particularly on the anniversaries of significant military engagements or the deaths of public figures .
Without knowing the intend behind this symbol, it might be confusing to see flags flying so moo on their poles. It would be even more confusing to think about how to describe this custom .
In English, flags flown below the top of the range pole are said to be either half-mast or half-mast. These phrases describe the same drill, but there are specific context for when each would be more allow.

Continue reading to learn more about this phrase .

What is the Difference Between Half-Mast and Half-Staff ?

In this mail, I will compare half-mast vs. half-mast, and I will use these expressions in sentences to show you how they should appear in context .
I will besides include a mnemonic that you can use to help you distinguish between these two variants .

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When to Use Half-Staff

half-mast versus half-staffWhat does half-staff mean? When a flag is flown half-mast, it signifies a mournful salute, much for fallen soldiers, police officers, or early service members. It refers to a flag flown below the top of a flagpole, normally about halfway to the peak. The saying functions as an adjective or an adverb in sentences .
A sag flown at a smudge below the top of a range pole began to carry this symbolism in the seventeenth hundred, although the phrase itself predates the imagination by a few decades .
here are a few example sentences ,

  • When a police officer was killed in the line of duty, public buildings in the city flew their flags half-staff.
  • Margery’s daughter asked why the flags were being flown at half-staff as they drove past, but Margery didn’t know.
  • The administration at the time said he chose to honor the officers in other ways, including attending a memorial service, meeting with families and flying the White House flags at half-staff. –The New York Times
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A flag is said to be ­half-staff only if it is flies on farming ( see why below ).

When to Use Half-Mast

Definition of half-staff definition and definition of half-mast definitionWhat does half-mast mean? The idiom half-mast means the same thing as half-mast. It refers to a sag flown below the exceed of a flagpole to indicate bereaved .
Half-mast, however, refers to flags on ships or naval bases. These are the alone places where flags are flown on something called a mast. A mast is a grandiloquent beam on many ships onto which a voyage or other navigational equipment may be secured .
Since masts are entirely found on ships and naval bases, it makes sense that the term half-mast would only be used in these instances .
For example ,

  • The flag on the S.S. Arizona was flown at half-mast in remembrance of the recently deceased former admiral.
  • The flags in the sailboat race were all flying half-mast in honor of the racer who died in last year’s competition.
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Trick to Remember the deviation

Define half-staff and define half-mastHalf-staff and half-mast each mean the same thing, but they are used to describer difference circumstances .

  • Half-mast is used specifically for flags flying on ships and naval bases.
  • Generally, half-staff is used anywhere else.

Since entirely ships have masts, you can well remember to save half-mast for situations involving ships or early naval installations .


Is it half-mast or half-staff? Half-mast and half-mast are both phrases that refer to flags fly below the acme of the range pole as a symbol of mourning or deference.

  • Half-mast specifically refers to flags on ships or naval bases.
  • Half-staff refers to flags anywhere else, like civilian structures or other buildings on land.

Given that this distinction makes coherent sense, remembering half-mast vs. half-mast should be an easy tax .