phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

"To Pass with Flying Colours"

Posted by James Briggs on January 09, 2001

In Reply to: "To Pass with Flying Colours" posted by John Stoddart on January 09, 2001

: Can anyone help me with the the following question? Where might the original flying colours have been seen?

To come through with flying colours is to successfully achieve a difficult objective, such as passing an exam with distinction. The origin here is clearly military, but which service? Lancers charging? A victory parade through a captured town? In reality it is a victorious fleet sailing into harbour with their flags still flying at their mastheads.