- SONS IN SERVICE FLAG
- See service flag 4).
- SOUTHERN CROSS
- 1) A stylized representation of the constellation Crux Australis, and used
as a symbol on flags in the Southern Hemisphere as on those of, for example,
Australia, New Zealand and Samoa.
- 2) A colloquial name for the saltire as used by the Confederate States of
America on its battle flag, naval jack and later national flags (see also
battle flag 1)
stainless banner and
stars and bars).
From left: National Flag of Samoa (fotw); Second Naval Jack,
- SOUTH-EAST DIAGONAL
- A diagonal stripe that runs from the lower hoist to the upper fly whose corners may (or may not)
touch the corners of the flag, but whose width is contained within the length of the flag at the hoist
and its width at the fly (see also
and west-south diagonal).
Flag of Bestin, Czech Republic (CS): Flag of Lazne Libverda, Czech Republic (fotw)
Please note that this term, whilst an extension of those existing and
established, has been introduced by the editors.
- SOUTH-NORTH DIAGONAL
- A diagonal stripe that runs from the lower hoist to the upper fly whose
corners may or may not touch the corners of the flag but whose width is
entirely contained within the length of the flag an enhanced bend sinister. See bend in
Appendix VI and Appendix IX
and west-south diagonal).
Flag of the FNLA, Angola (fotw); Flag of Satalice, Czech Republic (CS)
- SOUVENIR FLAGS (or PENNANTS)
- 1) A generic term for flags or pennants exchanged during sporting matches by the captains
of the contending teams (see also 'club pennant',
sports flag 1) and sports flag 2)).
- 2) Burgees presented to a club by visiting yachts, or collected by such visitors for display at
their home port (see also burgee 1) and
- 3) See brag flags.
- 4) See commemorative flag.
- 5) Small flags or pennants sold (or issued) to school children and/or street-lining
spectators for the purpose of waving at visiting dignitaries - usually in honour of a specific
event (see also 'handwaver').
Please note however, it is strongly suggested that the types of
flag given above are better defined by their type and/or circumstances of presentation, and
that the more precise terms (as listed separately herein) are to be preferred in description.
- SOVEREIGNS BANNER
- 1) In British Army usage the ceremonial flag (equivalent to a military colour or guidon)
of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst (see also
colours 2) and
- 2) In Australian military usage the term given to a special ceremonial flag presented to
a military organization by Her Majesty The Queen in place of or in addition to colours
(see also banner 6),
colour 2) and
- SOVEREIGNS COLOUR (or COLOR)
- See colours 2).
- SOVEREIGNS STANDARD
- 1) Specifically in British military usage, that flag carried as a special mark of distinction
by the Life Guards and the Blues and Royals - the Household Cavalry (see also
union standard and
- 2) Generically see royal standard 1).
Sovereigns Standard of the Blues and Royals, UK
- A term sometimes used to describe a round-bottomed shield but see
Spanish-style triband below.
- SPANISH-STYLE (or SPANISH) TRIBAND
- A term for a horizontal triband, either plain or defaced, with internal proportions of 1-2-1
(see also defaced 1),
plain 2), triband 1) and
Civil Flag/Ensign of Spain (fotw); National Flag of Lebanon
(fotw); National Flag of Cambodia (fotw)
- SPECIFICATION (or SPEC)
- 1) The detailed description, either by diagram or in writing, of how the design
of a flag is constructed see specification sheet below
- 2) The act of drawing up such design details.
- SPECIFICATION SHEET (or SPEC SHEET)
- The detailed visual presentation of how the design of a flag is constructed, usually
showing construction lines and figures and often including the source or sources of any
such information a construction sheet (see also
specification above and
Specification sheet for the Flag of Sao Tome and Principe (CS)
- SPIRAL DECORATION
- A term for the European practice, now increasingly (but not entirely) obsolete, of
decorating a flag pole or the staff of a parade flag or military colour with a spiral
decoration, usually in the national or livery colours and often accompanied by a cravat
(see also colour 2),
livery colours and
State Flag of San Marino (fotw & CS)
- SPLITFLAG (or SPLITTFLAG)
- 1) A term that may be officially used to describe the shape of the Danish state flag/naval ensign and of its variants (see also
- 2) A term that may also be used in other Scandinavian countries (particularly Norway with the
alternative spelling given above) in place of
swallow tail and tongue.
The State Flag/Naval Ensign of Denmark (fotw)
- SPORTING BANNER
- See banner 3).
- SPORT SUPPORTERS FLAG/PENNANT
- See sports flag 2).
- SPORTS FLAG (or PENNANT)
- 1) A flag often the appropriate national or provincial flag bearing
(or defaced with) the name of a sporting club or related slogan (see also defaced
and souvenir flag 1)).
- 2) A flag or pennant, usually in the club or school colours, bearing an emblem (and often associated lettering) that
represents a sporting club or school team a sport supporters or
supporters flag/pennant or a fans flag/pennant (see also
institutional flags/pennants and
- 3) The flag of a national or international sporting organization (see also
international flag(s) 2)).
- 4) One of a varied number of flags that are used to regulate or to assist
in running a sporting activity for example, the chequered flag in motor racing.
From left: Liverpool Football Club, UK (CS and fotw); Dutch Football Association; Chequered Flag (fotw)
Please note with regard to 1) that in some countries the practice of defacing a
national or sub-national flag as described above is either discouraged or is illegal, but continues to be
employed by sports fans regardless.
- SPUR ROWEL
- See star 2).
- SQUADRON COMMAND PENNANT
- See command pennant.
- SQUARE CROSS
- See cross 1).
Quebec, Canada (fotw)
- See square-tongued below.
- (adj) A term used to describe a flag, now increasingly (but not entirely) obsolete,
or a ceremonial flag/gonfalon, whose fly is cut into two or more square-ended tails (see also
ceremonial flag 1),
swallowtail and tongue
Flag of Venice, Italy (fotw); Ceremonial Flag/Gonfalon of Baska, Croatia (fotw)
- 1) At sea, the short mast upon which the jack and ensign are hoisted see
ensign staff and
- 2) The wooden shaft, often with a spear point finial, to which indoor flags;
military colours and parade flags are affixed the pike (see also
parade flag and
- 3) See flag pole.
- STAFF OF ASCLEPIUS
- An unadorned staff with a single serpent wound around it, and symbolic of the
medical profession a rod of asclepius or asklepian (see also caduceus).
Flag of The National Military Health Service, RSA (fotw plus enlarged
emblem Martin Grieve)
Please note that this should not be confused with the caduceus as
referenced above, which has two serpents on a winged staff and is symbolic of medical
- STAINLESS BANNER
- The official name for the second (although first formally adopted) national
flag of the Confederate States of America as introduced in 1863 and modified in
1865 (see also banner 7),
battle flag 1),
southern cross 2) and
stars and bars).
The Stainless Banner, CSA 1863 and as Modified 1865 (fotc)
- STAFF ORNAMENT
- See finial.
- STAND (OF COLOURS or COLORS)
- 1) A term used to describe all the colours carried by an infantry regiment -
formerly up to nine in English service - now generally (but not exclusively) limited to two per
regiment/battalion (see also
company colours and
- 2) In US Civil War usage, a term sometimes employed (often in newspaper
reporting) to describe a flag or flags, particularly those captured in battle
(see also trophy flag).
A Stand of Six Colours, Colonel to the Third Captain,
Please note that the above illustrations are loosely
based on a surviving colour from the English Civil War - that of a sixth captain
in Sir John Gells Regiment of Foot (Parliamentarian) 1643-44 - and upon a system
of differencing such colours known to have been in use at that time (see
Also please note, that some Continental armies (most notably
those of France and Austria) often had a larger establishment of men per battalion than was
customary in the English service, so the number of colours carried could be commensurately greater.
- 1) The flag of a head of state - see
presidential standard and
royal standard 1) - and its following note.
- 2) A rectangular flag used as a ceremonial unit flag by some cavalry and certain
other military units (see also sovereigns standard).
See supplemental note:
- 3) A flag of heraldic design, long and tapering, possibly with a rounded or
double-rounded (lanceolate or double-tailed descate) fly carrying the owners
badge and motto (sometimes also a national symbol or personal arms), and bordered
in his livery colours. Originally used as an identifying symbol by medieval noblemen,
and still occasionally flown by those entitled to it a heraldic standard (see
also badge in heraldry,
- 4) The headquarters flag of a Scottish nobleman or clan chief (and a standard
as defined in 3) above), it is between 3.5 and 7.5m long (dependent upon rank)
and tapers from 120cm to 80cm. The hoist carries either the national flag or owners
arms, whilst the tail is in the main livery colours and has the motto (usually
on diagonal bands) separated by the owners crest and other badges. The tail is
generally split into two rounded (double-tailed descate) ends (except for those
chiefs who do not hold a title of nobility, baronetcy or knighthood whose standards
have a simple rounded or lanceolate end), and the whole is edged or fringed with
alternating livery colours (see also
- 5) In obsolete usage, a pole with an emblem on the top around which soldiers
could rally (see also eagle 2) and
- 6) As 3) above but fixed in place (rather than carried by a soldier), or alternatively
transported in a large vehicle of its own (see also
- 7) A figurative or poetic term for the symbol around which people rally.
Please note that in English heraldry the entitlement
to a heraldic standard is consequent upon the granting or possession of a badge,
but is not dependent upon rank (see also
badge in heraldry). In Scottish heraldry,
however, the entitlement to a standard (and to heraldic flags other than a banner
of arms) is consequent upon a separate grant by the Lord Lyon King of Arms (see
also pinsel and
Please note also that in UK usage the standard of the
Royal Horse Artillery comes within definition 3) and is illustrated beneath
heraldic standard but is also a
ceremonial unit flag (as outlined in 2), above,) under certain circumstances.
- STANDARD BEARER
- 1) One who bears the regimental, unit, or national standard (see also
gonfalonier, standard 1) - 5)
- 2) See colour bearer.
- STANDARDUM (STANDARUM, STANTARUM or STANDALE)
- A medieval term, now obsolete, for a standard.
Please note that standardum and standale are, respectively,
the Latin and Italian words for standard, and that these and the derivations thereof
were used more or less indiscriminately by medieval scribes.
- A frequent misspelling of the heraldic term statant see statant
in appendix V
- 1) On flags, a charge either solid colour or voided - in the form
of a geometric shape with radiating points. Stars with five points are the most
common, but any number is possible, for example: Aruba - four, Israel - six, Australia
- seven, Azerbaijan - eight and Malaysia sixteen (see also
Magen David and
- 2) In heraldry a charge of this type may have wavy edges, and is variously
known as a mullet, estoile, (or if pierced) a spur rowel or
rowel depending on the number of points. For complete details, however, a glossary
or dictionary of heraldry should be consulted (see also
From left: National Flag of Aruba (fotw); National Flag of Azerbaijan
(fotw); National Flag of Malaysia (fotw)
Please note that in vexillology the difference between
a multi-pointed star and a sun is usually only a matter of official symbolism,
however, a sun may sometimes be distinguished by having a ring around its central
disk (Taiwan), a face (Argentina) or wavy points (British Columbia) see also
and ring 1).
- STAR-SPANGLED BANNER
- 1) Generally a poetic nickname for the US national flag the Stars and Stripes (see also
Betsy Ross flag ,
stars and stripes below).
- 2) The US national flag with 15 stripes and 15 stars in use between 1795 and 1818.
- 3) Specifically the flag, as defined in 2) above, but which flew over Fort McHenry, Baltimore in 1814.
- 4) The national anthem of the US but see note below.
National Flag of the US, 1795 1818 (fotw)
Please note that the US national anthem from a poem by Francis Scott Key -
specifically refers to the flag as defined in 3) above, and which is preserved in the
Smithsonian Institute, Washington.
- STARBOARD OUTER
- See yardarm and following note.
- STARBOARD PENNANT
- See senior officer afloat pennant.
- STAR PLATE
- See rank plate.
- STARS AND BARS
- A popular name for the first (although never formally adopted) national flag of the
Confederate States of America, and in use from 1861 1863 (see also
southern cross 2),
stainless banner and,
stars and stripes below).
Two Versions of the First National Flag, CSA 1861 - 1863 (fotw)
- STARS AND STRIPES
- A popular name for the US national flag (see also
Betsy Ross flag,
star-spangled banner and
stars and bars above).
National Flag of the US from 1960 (fotw)