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Dictionary of Vexillology: V (Vailing - Volant)

Last modified: 2010-01-02 by phil nelson
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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VAILING
When the finial on the staff of military colour or parade flag is allowed to touch – or nearly touch - the ground whilst being lowered in salute - but see 'trailing 1)' (also ‘dipping 1)’).

VAMBRACED
See ‘armoured’ and following note.

VANE
1) The term for a short, triangular pennant now obsolete, sometimes stiffened with a frame (often plain red) and formerly flown from the mastheads of sailing merchant vessels in place of a masthead pennant, or sometimes to identify individual ships when travelling in convoy (see also ‘frame 2)’, ‘masthead’ and ‘masthead pennant 1)’).
2) See ‘distinguishing vane’.
3) A length of bunting (or other light material) extended on a wooden stock and fixed in the shrouds of a yacht or small sailing vessel to indicate wind direction – a wind vane.
4) A small metal flag-like object; generally set on a rod on the top of a building – a weather vane.
5) A pre-heraldic vexilloid in the form of a decorative metal plaque mounted onboard ship by the Vikings (see also ‘pre-heraldic’ and ‘vexilloid’).

Please note that the term vane (or van) in heraldry can also refer to a ‘winnowing basket’ or scruttle/shruttle/fruttle/fan. see supplemental note


VANNALUM
A medieval term, now obsolete, for a small flag or vane - see ‘vane 1)’.

VANNERIA
A medieval term, now obsolete, for a banner – see ‘banner’.

VARIANT
1) A flag that shows comparatively minor differences (either official or unofficial) from some standard model, and one example would be the variously difference standards of the British Royal Family (see also ‘difference 1’) and ‘cadency, mark of’).
2) A term that may be applied when describing a flag which differs from others of the same basic design, but for which no official specifications are known (see also ‘de facto’, ‘de jure’ and following notes).
3) See ‘archivexillum’.

Queen&s standard Princess Royal
Standard of HM The Queen & that of HRH The Princess Royal, UK (Graham Bartram)


Niger Niger
Variants of the National Flag of Niger (Graham Bartram and fotw)


VENETIAN ENTASIS TAPER
A distinctive design invented in Venice that gives an aesthetically pleasing, convex taper to a tall flagpole, and now one of the most common form used - but see ‘cone tapered’ (also ‘flag pole’).

VENN
A term (divided into Venn A and Venn B) sometimes employed for the detailed classification of 17th Century English military colours, with particular regard to their use within a regiment (see also ‘colour 2)’, ‘colours 2)’ and ‘stand of colours 1)’).

Please note that the above system of classification only applies to English colours, and is taken from that used by Captain Thomas Venn when writing in 1672. Please note also however, that there were variations not originally covered, and that further methods have been recently proposed.


VERGETTE
See ‘paly’ in Appendix VI.

VERT
A heraldic term for the colour green (see also ‘Appendix III’ and ‘rule of tincture’).

VERTICAL MERIDIAN (or MEDIAN)
See ‘meridian’.

VERTICAL BICOLOUR
See ‘bicolour 1)’ (also ‘bicolour 2)’).

Algeria
National Flag of Algeria (fotw)


VERTICAL MULTI-STRIPE
See ‘multi-stripe 3)’.

VERTICALLY HOISTED FLAG
In German speaking, Central European and some other usage, a term that may be applied to any long, vertically orientated flag, but which (unlike a banner or hanging flag as defined herein) is hoisted along its upright (rather than topmost) edge - a flapping flag (see also ‘banner 2)’, ‘hanging flag’, ‘hoisted flag’ and ‘outrigger flag’).

Sankt Wolfgang, Germany
Vertically Hoisted Flag of Sankt Wolfgang, Germany (fotw)

Please note that this term has been introduced by the Editors as no existing established term could be found, however, in German language vexillology the terms hochflagge, hochformatflagge, hochformatfahne, knatterflagge or knatterfahne (or their plurals flaggen and fahnen) are variously used.


VESSEL FLAG (or PENNANT)
In US army usage, now increasingly obsolete, a term for the special flag or pennant of an army unit, or of a type of command, flown by that unit or commander only when operating aboard a vessel – but see ‘boat flag 2)’ and note below.

[US Army oridinace corps] [US Army Mine planters] [US Army quartermaster corps] [US flag and pennant]
From left: Army Ordinance Corps, US; Army Mine Planters, US; Army Quartermasters Corps, US Flag and Pennant (fotw)

Please note that as far as is known the vessel flag of the US army transportation corps is still in current use, and that the vessel flag of the US corps of engineers is now also authorized to be flown on land at their facilities which are not located on Army installations.

[US army transportation corps] [US Army corps of engineers]
From left: Army Transportation Corps, US; Army Corps of Engineers, US (fotw)


VETERAN’S FLAG
The flag of an organization representing the veterans of a particular, service, war, campaign, or unit. The flags of veteran’s organizations are often mounted, trimmed and treated like a military colour (see also ‘parade flag 2)’ and ‘colour 2)’).

[Royal British Legion] Royal Naval Association, UK
Flag of the Royal British Legion, UK (Graham Bartram); Flag of The Royal Naval Association, UK


VEXIFERRET
A colloquial term for one who undertakes an assiduous search for (sometimes obscure) flag information (see also ‘vexiferreting’ below and ‘vexillologist’).
VEXIFERRETING
A colloquial term for the assiduous search for (sometimes obscure) flag information (see also ‘vexiferret’ above and ‘vexillologist’).
VEXILLARIUS
1) See 'vexillifer'.
2) A member of a Roman military unit (vexillatio) detached from the main force under a vexillum – but see ‘vexillation’ (also ‘vexillifer’ and ‘vexillum’).
VEXILLARY
1) (adj) Of or pertaining to flags (see also ‘vexillology’).
2) See ‘vexillifer’.

VEXILLATION
Any detachment of soldiers serving under a vexillum - but see ‘vexillarius 2)’ (also ‘banderium’, ‘vexillifer’ and ‘vexillum’).

Please note this term is taken directly from the Latin vexillatio being a detachment of soldiers as described above.


VEXILLATOR
A 19th Century term, now obsolete, for the standard bearer in a medieval mystery play.

VEXILLATRY (or VEXILLOLATRY)
The treatment of a flag as a fetish or religious object.

VEXILLIFER
The bearer of the vexillum (see also ‘vexillarius 2)’, ‘vexillation’ and ‘vexillum’.
VEXILLOBIBLIOPHILE
A person who loves and/or collects flag books (but see also ‘vexillophile’ below).

VEXILLOGRAPHER
A designer of flags, or the creator of a flag design.

VEXILLOGRAPHY
The designing of flags, or the creation of a flag design.

VEXILLOHOBBYIST
A collector of flags and/or artefacts concerning flags – but see ‘vexillophile’.

VEXILLOID
1) A rigid emblem (such as a carved animal or similar) mounted on a pole, which fulfils the function of a flag but which is not a flag, and characteristic (but not exclusively so) of traditional societies – not to be confused with a tufa (see also ‘tugh’ and ‘tufa’).
2) As above, but the forerunner of the flag as in the Nome standards of ancient Egypt, the Semeia of classical Greece or in the Eagles of a Roman legion (see also ‘eagle 2)’, ‘Semeion’ and ‘standard 5)’).
3) See ‘standard 6)’.

VEXILLOPHILATELIST
A student and/or collector of flag related postage stamps and/or of related information.

VEXILLOPHILE
A collector of flags and/or of information regarding flags - a flag enthusiast but see ‘vexillohobbyist’ (also ‘vexillobibliophile’).

VEXILLOLOGIST
A student of vexillology (see also ‘vexillology’).

VEXILLOLOGY
The scholarly or scientific study of the history, symbolism and/or usage of flags.

Please note, the term was coined by Dr. Whitney Smith of the Flag Research Center (Massachusetts, USA) and based on the Latin vexillum (see also ‘vexillologist’ and ‘vexillum’).


VEXILLONAIRE
A person who is active in flag design or usage, or is engaged in promoting a specific agenda and/or point of view with regard to flags.

VEXILLOPHILY
The collection of flags and/or of information regarding flags (see ‘vexillophile’ above).

VEXILLUM
An ancient Roman standard consisting of an often decorated (usually) red or purple cloth hung from a cross bar. It is considered to be the first true flag in Western culture, and from which the term vexillology is derived (see also ‘vexillarius’, ‘vexillifer’, 'vexillation' and ‘vexillology’).

[Roman vexillum]
Vexillum of the 13th Legion (Eugene Ipavec)

Please note however, that whilst frequently described as a cavalry standard (which it was), the vexillum also had a number of other military uses.


VEXILLUM REGALE
A medieval term, now obsolete, for the royal standard – see ‘royal standard 1)’.

Please note that it is unclear whether the medieval chroniclers were referring to a banner of the royal arms as is common today, or to a standard of the heraldic pattern known to have been used by many English kings in the medieval period (see also ‘standard 4)’).


VEXILLI ERECTIO
A medieval term, now obsolete, for the fixing of banners or standards to the walls of a fortress (see also ‘banner 1)’ and 'standard 4)).

VISUAL CENTRE (or CENTER)
The term used when a charge is not set in the exact geometric centre of a flag, section of flag or of the panel it occupies, or on a vertical or horizontal meridian of that flag, section or panel, but is placed as to appear so centred to the observer – but see note below (also ‘centred’, ‘meridian’, ‘optical proportions’ and ‘panel’).

Civil Ensign of Japan 1870 – 1999 Manitoba, Canada Hornν Radechovα, Poland
Civil Ensign of Japan 1870 – 1999 (CS); Flag of Manitoba, Canada (CS); Flag of Hornν Radechovα, Poland (fotw)

Please note that the examples given above show the pre-1999 merchant flag of Japan with its disc set slightly towards the hoist, the arms on the flag of Manitoba placed a little below the horizontal meridian and the flag of Hornν Radechovα with a charge set on the vertical meridian but below the horizontal.


VOIDED
A basically heraldic term that is applicable to any ordinary (or other charge) when the middle is removed so that the field of a shield or banner of arms may be seen through it (see also ‘charge 2)’, ‘cross-voided’ in ‘appendix VIII’, ‘mascle’, ‘ordinary’ and ‘pierced 2)’).

[voided examples]

Please note that in vexillology a voided cross such as shown above may, for example (and with equal accuracy) be described as “a red cross, fimbriated yellow on a red field” or similar.


VOIDED CROSS
See ‘cross-voided’ in ‘appendix VIII’.

VOIDED LOZENGE
See ‘mascle’.

VOL
The French heraldic term for a pair of wings conjoined at the base and placed with the tips upwards, but sometimes used when only a single wing is shown or differently orientated – but see ‘volant’ below (also ‘conjoined 1)’, plus ‘rising’ and ‘displayed’ in ‘appendix V’).

VOLANT
The heraldic term for wings, and sometimes used to signify that those wings are extended in a horizontal position as if in flight – but see note below (also ‘vol’ above, plus ‘rising’ and ‘displayed’ in ‘appendix V’).

Please note that the term ‘vol’ (as listed above) is also employed in certain circumstances and we suggest that a suitable glossary or dictionary of heraldry be consulted before used these terms.


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