quarantine flag

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Quarantine \Quar"an*tine\, n. [F. quarantaine, OF. quaranteine,
   fr. F. quarante forty, L. quadraginta, akin to quattuor four,
   and E. four: cf. It. quarantina, quarentine. See Four, and
   cf. Quadragesima.]
   1. A space of forty days; -- used of Lent.
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   2. Specifically, the term, originally of forty days, during
      which a ship arriving in port, and suspected of being
      infected a malignant contagious disease, is obliged to
      forbear all intercourse with the shore; hence, such
      restraint or inhibition of intercourse; also, the place
      where infected or prohibited vessels are stationed.
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   Note: Quarantine is now applied also to any forced stoppage
         of travel or communication on account of malignant
         contagious disease, on land as well as by sea.
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   3. (Eng. Law) The period of forty days during which the widow
      had the privilege of remaining in the mansion house of
      which her husband died seized.
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   Quarantine flag, a yellow flag hoisted at the fore of a
      vessel or hung from a building, to give warning of an
      infectious disease; -- called also the yellow jack, and
      yellow flag.
      [1913 Webster]
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