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Dictionary of Vexillology: W (Waft [Weft] - Wyn)

Last modified: 2010-01-02 by phil nelson
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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WAFT (or WEFT)
A term, how obsolete, for a flag tied in a knot and displayed at sea as a signal of some emergency (see also ‘flag of distress’).

WAR BANNER
In UK usage a term, last used in 1853 and now obsolete, for a small white triangular flag seen on military drums at a proclamation of war (see also ‘bannerette’).

WAR ENSIGN
See ‘naval ensign’ listed under ‘ensign’.

WAR FLAG
1) An alternative term for the naval ensign.
2) A term - and a direct translation of the German Kriegsflagge or Spanish bandera de Guerra - for that flag (different from the national flag) flown by a country’s armed services, which is usually (but not invariably) the same design as the naval ensign and/or state flag (see also ‘battle flag 3)’, ‘state flag’, and ‘naval ensign/war ensign’ under ‘ensign’).

Peruvian war flag [Bolivia War flag]
War Flag of Peru (fotw); War Flag/Naval Ensign of Bolivia (fotw)


WAR (or WARSHIP) PENNANT
See ‘masthead pennant 1)’.

Please note that war pennant is a translation of the French term "flamme de guerre".


WATTLE(D)
1) On flags, a plaque, frame or ornament consisting of two or more interlaced branches, and typically used on Croatian flags (see also ‘cartouche’ and ‘ring’).
2) In heraldry, the term refers to the fleshy lobe that grows under the throat of a domestic fowl and in the adjective form is used when the wattle is of a different tincture to the body of the bird concerned - but see ‘jelloped’ (also ‘tincture’).

[Wattle example]
(Željko Heimer)


WAVY
(adj) A basically heraldic term used when the edges of an ordinary/charge, or the division line of the field on a shield, banner of arms or a flag are shown with wavy lines, and often (but not invariably) symbolic of running water – unde or undy (see also ‘active’, ‘nebuly’, ‘ordinary’ and ‘serrated’).

[Overijssel, Netherlands] Rendsburg-Eckernfφrde, Germany Arms - Zadar, Croatia Flag - Zadar, Croatia Flag - Ciutadilla, Spain
Flag of Overijssel, Netherlands (fotw); Flag of Rendsburg-Eckernfφrde, Germany (fotw); Arms and Flag of Zadar, Croatia (fotw); Flag of Ciutadilla, Spain (fotw)


WEAR A FLAG
(v) To display a flag - said of a ship or any vessel (see also ‘fly 2)’).

WEATHER VANE
See ‘vane 4)’.

WEIGHTED FLY
A term which may be used when a metal rod (or similar) is inserted into a sleeve placed at the fly of a conventional/hoisted flag (intended to he hung from a horizontal pole) in order to weight it for vertical hanging and to prevent the flag becoming entangled with its pole (see also ‘flagpole’, ‘hoisted flag’, ‘outrigger pole’ and ‘tangle rod’).

Please note that this term has been introduced by the Editors as no existing established term could be found.


WEST-EAST DIAGONAL
A diagonal stripe that runs from the upper hoist to the lower fly whose corners generally touch the corners of the flag but whose width is entirely contained within the width of that flag - a reduced bend. See ‘bend’ in ‘Appendix VI’ and ‘Appendix IX’ (also ‘ascending diagonal’, ‘descending diagonal’, ‘east-south diagonal’, ‘east-west diagonal’, ‘north-east diagonal’, ‘north-south diagonal’, ‘south-east diagonal’, ‘south-north diagonal’, ‘west-north diagonal’ and ‘west-south diagonal’).

[Brunei] Slatinany, Czech Republic
National Flag of Brunei (fotw); Flag of Slatinany, Czech Republic (fotw)


WEST-NORTH DIAGONAL
A diagonal stripe running 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 fly and the width of the flag at its hoist (see also ‘Appendix IX’, ‘ascending diagonal’, ‘descending diagonal’, ‘east-south diagonal’, ‘east-west diagonal’, ‘north-east diagonal’, ‘north-south diagonal’, ‘south-east diagonal’, ‘south-north diagonal’, ‘west-north diagonal’ ‘west-east diagonal’ and ‘west-south diagonal’).

Dešnα, Czech Republic Flag of Lovcice, Czech Republic
Flag of Dešnα, Czech Republic (fotw); Flag of Lovcice, Czech Republic (fotw)

Please note that this term, whilst an extension of those existing and established, has been introduced by the editors.


WEST-SOUTH DIAGONAL
A diagonal stripe running from the upper hoist corner to the lower fly corner, whose corners may (or may not) touch the corners of the flag but whose width is contained within the width of the flag at the hoist and the length of the flag at its fly (see also ‘Appendix IX’, ‘ascending diagonal’, ‘descending diagonal’, ‘east-west diagonal’, ‘north-east diagonal’, ‘north-south diagonal’, ‘south-east diagonal’, ‘south-north diagonal’, and ‘west-north diagonal’),

Zαkava, Czech Republic Makov, Czech Republic
Flag of Zαkava, Czech Republic (fotw); Flag of Makov, Czech Republic (fotw)

Please note that this term, whilst an extension of those existing and established, has been introduced by the editors.


WHEATSHEAF
See ‘garbe’.

WHIP PENNANT
1) See ‘masthead pennant 2)’.
2) See ‘wimpel’.

WHIPTAIL
In United States naval usage, a colloquial term for the commission pennant – see ‘masthead pennant 1)’.
WHITE ENSIGN
1) In English and then British usage the ensign now worn by all vessels of the Royal Navy, and over naval establishments, and by the Royal Yacht Squadron (see also ‘blue ensign’ ‘naval ensign’ under ‘ensign’, ‘red ensign’ and ‘St George’s ensign’).
2) Generically, any canton flag (either plain or defaced) with a white field – particularly (but not exclusively) if flown at sea – a British-style ensign (see also ‘blue ensign 2)’, ‘canton flag 1)’, ‘deface’ and ‘red ensign 2)’).
England 1630-1702 white ensign United Kingdom white ensign Australia naval ensign Antigua Barbuda naval ensign Sri Lanka naval ensign
White Ensign c1630 – 1702, England (fotw); White Ensign, UK (Graham Bartram); Naval Ensign of Australia (fotw); Naval Ensign of Antigua Barbuda (fotw); Naval Ensign of Sri Lanka (fotw)


Please note with regard to 1) that the term may also be applied to any British ensign with a white field.


British Antarctic Territories
Flag of The British Antarctic Territories (fotw)


WHITE FLAG
See ‘flag of truce’ (also ‘dinner flag’).

WIDTH
1) That dimension of a flag which is measured vertically from its upper to its lower edge - the height (see also ‘Appendix I’, ‘fly’, ‘hoist’ and ‘length’).
2) The narrower or shorter dimension of a stripe or band within a flag - howsoever orientated (see also ‘stripe’).
3) The vertical height of an emblem, arms, shield, charge or badge when it appears on a flag – but see the note below, ‘height’ and ‘width across’ (also ‘badge’, ‘charge’, ‘emblem’ 'establishment of arms' and ‘shield’).

width example

Please note that definition 3) is given with regard to the consistent use of proportions when describing a flag and its charges, however, it is suggested that when giving the actual dimensions of any such charge the word ‘height’ should be used for its vertical measurement and the phrase ‘width across’ for its horizontal size (see also ‘dimensions’ and ‘proportions’).


WIDTH ACROSS
The horizontal measurement of an emblem, shield, charge or badge when detailing the dimensions – but see ‘width 3)’ (also ‘dimensions’, ‘height’ and ‘proportions’).
WIGWAG
In largely US usage, a system of signalling, now obsolete, in which a single flag was waved according to an established code, and based upon the direction of the arches made by the flag (see also ‘Morse code signalling with flags’ and ‘semaphore’).

WIMPLE
See 'A pennant in national/livery colours or with a simplified charge, that is flown in place of a national or other flag to avoid the appearance of an empty flag pole - especially popular in Northern Europe and Scandinavia but increasingly used in the UK (see also ‘charge’, ‘livery colours’, ‘national colours 2)’, ‘national flag’ and ‘flag pole’). '.

[wimple - Denmark]
The Wimple of Denmark (fotw)

Please note that this term (or slight variations thereof) means pennant in several European languages, but has been adopted into English language vexillology in this context – and with the meaning given above - only.


WIND (WINDSURF or WINDSURFING) DANGER FLAG
See ‘beach flag’.

WIND VANE
See ‘vane 3)’.

WINDSOCK (or WINDCONE)
1) A flag-shaped like a sleeve, attached at the open end to a ring and pole, and partially closed at the other – characteristic of traditional societies and modern Japan (see also ‘draco’, ‘dragon flag’ and ‘ring’).
2) As above and generally brightly coloured, but usually fully open at the fly end, tapered and used at airports (largely) to indicate wind direction.

WOLFTEETH (WOLF-TEETH or WOLF’S TEETH)
1) On flags, in largely (but not exclusively) Hungarian and other central/eastern European usage, a band of inward pointing, connected triangles either curved, wavy or straight-sided and forming a border on one, two, three or four sides of a flag (see also 'border'. flammulets' and ‘serrated’).
2) In European heraldry, a charge formed by a series of generally curved triangles issuing from the edges of a shield or banner of arms.

wolf teeth flags Austrian government official afloat
From left: The War Flag of Hungary; COA (westkingdom); The Flag of District VII Budapest, Hungary (fotw); Government Official Afloat, Austria (fotw)

Please note, the term may also be applied where the fly edge of a flag is saw-toothed as illustrated above.


WORSHIP PENNANT
See ‘church pennant’.

WREATH
1) On flags, two semi-circular crossed branches of varying types of intertwined or plain foliage with or without flowers, that are tied with a ribbon at their crossing point but generally split at the top but see ‘garland 2)’ (also ‘garland 1)’and ‘panicles’).
2) In heraldry, a twisted band in the livery colours of a shield, generally placed on top of the helmet and below the crest in a full set of armorial bearings – a torse (see also ‘Appendix IV’, ‘armorial bearings’, ‘coat of arms’, 'crest 1)', ‘helm’ and ‘shield’).

Please note that a circlet composed of foliage is called a chaplet or garland in heraldry (see also ‘civic crown 2)’ and ‘crown triumphal’).


WREATH OF IMMORTELLES
The silver replica of a laurel garland – or crown triumphal - placed at the head of the colour pike or staff of certain British and Canadian regiments in commemoration of particular distinction in action (see also ‘colour 2)’, 'colours 2)', ‘crown triumphal’, ‘garland’, ‘pike’ and ‘staff 2)’.

WYN
The exact details are conjectural, but considered to be have been either an alternative term, now obsolete, for a lance pennon or vane (see also ‘pennon 2)’ and ‘vane 1)’).

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