- A triangular flag usually containing seven red over white horizontal stripes
whose lower edge is at right angles to the hoist, and symbolic of Hinduism (see
also pavon and
Dhvaja of the Hindus (CS)
Please note that the word is sometimes pronounced
as dvahjah, but that other pronunciations exist.
- DIAGONAL (or DIAGONAL-CENTRED) CROSS
- See saltire.
- DIAGONAL BICOLOUR
- See bicolour 1)'.
Flag of Lanzerote, Spain (fotw)
- DIAGONAL MULTI-STRIPE
- See multi-stripe 4).
- DIFFERENCE (DIFFERENCED or DIFFERENCING)
- 1) (v) On flags, to create a variation of another flag, either by changing
one or more colours, or by adding or removing a charge. Usually done to indicate
close cultural, historical, or geographic ties as in, for example, the flag of
Italy was differenced from that of France by changing the blue stripe to green,
or to differentiate between the various grades of senior officer in the armed
services (see also archivexillum,
core flag, flag family and
- 2) In heraldry, see cadency, mark of and the note below..
National flag of Russian (fotw); Civil Ensign of Slovenia (fotw); National Flag of Bulgaria (fotw)
Please note with regard to 2) that in heraldry the terms difference and
differencing may not have exactly the same meaning, that these terms do not necessarily equate directly
with cadency as shown above and that we therefore suggest a dictionary or glossary on heraldry should
be consulted for further details.
- The actual measured size of a flag, or of a charge thereon, as opposed to its proportions (see also
- (adj) The heraldic term for a charge or charges, such as animals, birds (particularly eagles) or fleur-de-lis,
forming part of a coat of arms, or an entire coat of arms as defined herein, which are halved along the vertical
centre line of a shield, banner of arms or a flag but see conjoined and
demi (also coat of arms 2),
entire and impale).
From left: Flag of Nysa, Poland (fotw); Flag of the Cinque Ports, UK (fotw)
Please note, however, that where two sets of dimidiated arms or any
elements thereof are set side by side (as illustrated above), in heraldic terms they are said to be
impaled by dimidiation, and that (whilst this is often the case) one dimidiated charge, or set of
dimidiated arms, need not necessarily (as per the example below) be set beside another so
halved (see also conjoined).
Flag of Geneva, Switzerland (fotw)
- See dimidiated and following note above.
- DINNER FLAG
- In US usage the practice, almost certainly obsolete, of flying a white flag from the starboard
yardarm (or spreader) of a pleasure vessel when the owner is dining, and from the port
yardarm when the crew are at meals but see
(also guest on board flag,
owner absent flag and
Dinner Flag, US (fotw)
- DIPLOMATIC FLAGS
- Those distinguishing flags that are flown by the officers of a countrys diplomatic
services (consular or ambassadorial) either ashore or afloat - an ambassadorial,
ambassadors, consuls, consular or consular officers flag (see also
distinguishing flag 1).
Ambassadors Flags UK. US and Thailand (fotw)
Please note that these flags are not generally flown outside embassies or consulates
(although they may be), but are more usually seen ashore as car flags, within
diplomatic premises and/or outside the residences of ambassadors or consuls, or they
may be flown from the main masthead of a vessel carrying a diplomatic or consular
officer when afloat (see also car flag,
- 1) On parade, a method of saluting with a flag in which the staff is lowered
by inclining the staff forward then returning it to the original upright position,
with the degree of such lowering being governed by national regulations or custom,
and ranging from a slight inclination to dropping the head of the staff all the
way to the ground or vailing see vailing
(also colour 2),
staff 2) and
trailing 1). When multiple flags are
carried, which (if any) are dipped in salute generally depends on the status of
the person or entity being saluted, dipping customs vary widely, however, and
in some countries, the national flag is never dipped, while in others it may be
dipped in salute to a head of state or other specified high dignitaries.
- 2) (v) At sea, a method of saluting with a flag whereby the ensign is lowered
about one width from the truck of the ensign staff (or one-third the length of
the halyard if flying at the gaff or yardarm) and then re-hoisted to its original
position (see also ensign,
- 3) See trailing.
Please note that a warship will never dip its ensign
to another vessel (whether warship or merchantman) but will invariably return
the salute when offered by a merchant vessel - a courtesy that (whilst formerly
given as a matter of course) is rarely seen today and that that warships only
return salutes from the ships of countries recognized by their own government.
Saluting between warships not wearing the flag of a flag officer or a broad pennant
is carried out by bosuns call or bugle, and when flag officers meet at sea they
salute each other with the appropriate number of guns, although usually only by
prior arrangement (see also
'flag of command',
gun salute and
Please note also, that at sea a manoeuvring signal
will be dipped by the flagship when it has been acknowledged, and signifies that
the signal is to be executed, however, an answering pennant flown at the dip in
response to a hoist from the flagship, indicates that the signal is not understood
- an answering pennant flown close-up confirms that the signal has been received
and understood (see also close-up,
hoist 2) and
- DISC (or DISK)
- A circular area of single colour used as a charge (see also
Please note that a disc is called a roundel or
a bezant in heraldry or may be termed plates if white/silver.
- (v) To add any unauthorised charge, device or wording to the field of a flag,
particularly when it is of an insulting or pejorative nature (see also
device and compare with
- 1) In heraldry, see appendix V.
- 2) (adj) On flags the term may be used in place of flown, bourn or carried etc for
example a flag/pennant/banner was displayed above the
, or the flagpole displayed a finial
in the form of a
, or the flag/pennant/banner displayed a charge
- DISTANCE LINE
- See hoistline.
- DISTINCTION JACK
- See privateer jack.
- DISTINGUISHING FLAG
- 1) The flag of a civil position within a governmental structure, as opposed
to that signifying military rank, as in for example, the distinguishing flag of
a Government minister (see also diplomatic flags).
- 2) An alternative term for a rank flag (see also
- 3) In US Air Force and Marine Corps usage, a flag denoting an officer's rank
see individual flag (also
flag of command,
personal flag 3) and
rank flag 1)).
- 4) In US military usage, the flag of a command or organization not authorized
to bear colours.
From left: Minister of Defence, Argentina; Secretary for Defence
US; Minister of Defence Sweden (fotw)
Please note, that although these terms are sometimes
considered interchangeable, the Editors have drawn a general distinction between
the command flags used by senior naval officers, the rank flags employed by officers
from the other armed services, the distinguishing flags of civilians and with
- DISTINGUISHING JACK
- The newly introduced term for a jack (of a design which differs from its accompanying ensign) that is
flown whilst a vessel is underway in order to distinguish that vessels special service or purpose, with
two examples in current use being the flag of a UK consular officer if flown as a jack, and when the standard
of a head of state (a royal or presidential standard) is flown from the jack staff of a naval launch when
that head of state aboard (see also jack
and jack staff).
- DISTINGUISHING (or DISTINCTIVE) MARK
- Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), this
is the mark that identifies a vessel's status as the warship or government
owned ship of a sovereign state, and thus operated for non-commercial
Please note that this distinguishing mark is invariably
the ship's ensign, to lesser extent the masthead pennant and in some cases also
the jack (see also 'ensign'
masthead pennant 1)) and
suit of colours).
- DISTINGUISHING PLATE
- See rank plate.
- DISTINGUISHING VANE (PENDANT or PENNANT)
- In British RN and some other naval usage now obsolete, the term for a short
triangular pennant or large rectangular flag of different coloured panels, often
stiffened with a frame and sometimes flown (in addition to a masthead pennant) by
sailing warships to indicate (depending upon the masthead employed) the division
of a fleet to which they belonged or to identify individual ships within that
division (see also frame 2),
masthead pennant 1)).
- DIVER BELOW (or DIVER DOWN) FLAG
- 1) Flag A (Alpha or Alfa) in the International Code of Signals, signifying that the vessel
flying the flag has a diver down and that vessels approaching should keep well clear and
proceed at slow speed (see also
International Code of Signal Flags and
- 2) In US and some other usage, a red flag with a white descending diagonal
stripe indicating that divers are below the surface in the immediate vicinity
of the flag.
Signal Flag Alpha (CS)
Unofficial Warning Flag (CS)
Please note however, that while often referred to
as unofficial, use of 2) is required by law in most US states, and by law or regulation
in some other countries.
- DIVINE RATIO (or PROPORTIONS)
- See golden mean.