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Dictionary of Vexillology: A (Aquila - Azure)

Last modified: 2010-01-02 by phil nelson
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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AQUILA
See ‘eagle 2)’.

ARCH-DUCAL (or ARCHDUCAL) BONNET (CORONET or HAT)
See ‘coronet 2)’.

archducal bonnet archducal bonnet
State Service Flag and Arms of Salzburg, Austria ensigned with an Arch-Ducal Bonnet


ARCHIEPISCOPAL CROSS
See ‘cross of Lorraine’.

ARCHIVEXILLIFER
An honorary title, now obsolete, for the chief standard or flag bearer to the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire (see also ‘archivexillum’ and following note), and ‘gonfaloniership’).

ARCHIVEXILLUM
A recently redefined term now intended to cover a flag design that is established - or recommended - by authority, and upon which other flags (adapted as required) may be based – a template flag. A typical example is the British blue ensign that acts as a basic template for other government flags, and for the flags of most British Overseas Territories (see also ‘archivexillifer’, ‘armorial ensign’, ‘colonial flags’, ‘blue ensign’). ‘deface’, ‘core flag’, and ‘undefaced’).

[archivexillum example]
From left: UK Blue Ensign (Graham Bartram), UK Customs Ensign (Graham Bartram), UK Fleet Auxiliary Ensign (Graham Bartram)

Please note that the word appears in a 19th Century German etymological dictionary as the origin of the term erzbanner (that may be translated as chief or imperial banner) but – with the exception of a possible relationship to the term archivexillifer - this is otherwise unsupported by further sources.


ARGENT
A heraldic term for the metal silver, it is generally shown as white in flags, but occasionally as grey, sometimes as silver leaf or metallic paint, or in an embroidered design, as silver thread (see 'Appendix III', 'embroider', and 'rule of tincture').

ARM FLASH
See ‘badge 3)’ and ‘regimental colours 2)’ (also ‘military crest’).

ARMED
1) In vexillology see ‘armoured’.
2) In heraldry a term used when the claws, teeth talons and sometimes the beak of a beast or bird of prey are shown in a different tincture to the body (see also ‘appendix V’, ‘attired’, ‘beaked’, ‘langued’, ‘gorged’, ‘jelloped’, ‘membered’ and ‘tincture’).

Flanders, Belgium
Flag of Flanders, Belgium (fotw)


ARMED SERVICES FLAG(S)
A generic term for any flag that pertains to, or represents a branch of the armed services, or a unit within that branch

Please note however, that the various types of flags used by the armed services – for example an appointment flag, branch of service flag, camp flag, colour, flag of command, guidon, positional or rank flag – are separately defined herein and are, we suggest, to be preferred in description.


ARMES PARLANTES
See ‘canting’.

ARMIGEROUS
(adj) Possessing or showing a coat of arms (see also 'armorial bearings').

ARMORIAL BANNER
See ‘banner 1)’.

ARMORIAL BEARINGS
All the armorial insignia to which an individual or family, a corporate institution such as a nation, province or municipality, or a commercial enterprise are entitled – an achievement of arms or complete (armorial) achievement or establishment of arms – but see note below for further details (also ‘greater arms’ and ‘state arms 2)’ under ‘arms’, ‘coat of arms 1’), ‘quarters’, ‘quartering’ and ‘quarterly’).

Please note, however, that a full set of armorial bearings can include (for example) shield, supporters, helmet, torse, crest, collar, mantling, compartment, motto etc., and whilst many of the terms used are illustrated in Appendix IV and/or briefly defined herein, it is suggested that a suitable glossary or heraldic dictionary be consulted for full details.


ARMORIAL ENSIGN
A newly introduced term that is intended to cover a British or British-style ensign (or a canton flag) whose fly is defaced with a set of armorial bearings or the escutcheon therefrom (see also ‘archivexillum’, ‘armorial bearings’, ‘blue ensign’, ‘canton flag’, ‘escutcheon’, ‘government ensign’ under ‘ensign’ and ‘red ensign’).

Fiji Jersey British Antarctic Territory Mauritius civil ensign
From left: National Flag of Fiji (fotw); Government Ensign of Jersey (fotw); Flag of British Antarctic Territories (fotw); Civil Ensign of Mauritius (fotw)


ARMORIAL FLAG
1) Generically, a term that covers any flag showing all or part of an entity’s armorial bearings against a field of any description (see also ‘armorial bearings’ and ‘coat of arms 2)’).
2) Specifically, a term that covers any flag whose main charge is a set of armorial bearings or a part thereof, and which is set against either livery colours or a plain field – but see ‘ensign banner’ (also ‘charge 2)’, ‘livery colours’ and ‘plain 2)’ and ‘seal flag’).

[New Jersey, US] Melres, Portugal Yukon Territory, Canada [Bibinje, Croatia] [Galicia, Spain]
From left: Flag of New Jersey, USA (fotw); Flag of Melres, Portugal (fotw); Flag of The Yukon, Canada (fotw); Flag of Bibinje, Croatia fotw); Flag of Galicia, Spain (fotw)

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


ARMORIAL SAIL
A term for the largely (but not entirely) obsolete practice of having all or a part of a coat of arms displayed on a vessel’s sail (see also ‘armorial bearings’, ‘coat of arms’ and ‘flag sail’).

armorial sail
NCO Naval School, Colombia (Eugene Ipavec)


ARMOURED
1) In vexillology a term that may be used when a human figure, or any part thereof, is clad in armour.

Isle of Man Navy Jack - Poland
From left: Flag of the Isle of Man, UK (fotw); Navy Jack of Poland;

Please note that the heraldic term for being clad in armour is “harnysed” (harnessed), or in the case of the arm only “vambraced”.


ARMS
See ‘armorial bearings’, ‘coat of arms’ and ‘shield’ , together with ‘greater arms’, ‘lesser arms’, ‘middle arms’ and ‘state arms’ below (also ‘gflag arms’).

Greater Arms
In largely northern European usage, an official description for the full set of armorial bearings of a nation or province – but see ‘middle arms’, ‘lesser arms’ and ‘state arms 2)’ (also ‘armorial bearings’, ‘coat of arms 1)’ and ‘coat of arms 2)’)

greater arms of Bremen greater arms of Sweden
Greater Arms of Bremen, Germany and of Sweden (fotw)


Lesser Arms
In largely northern European usage, the most simplified form in which the set of armorial bearings of a nation or province may be officially shown – but see ‘greater arms, ‘middle arms’ and ‘state arms 1)’ (also ‘armorial bearings’, ‘coat of arms 1)’ and ‘coat of arms 2)’)

lesser arms of Bremen lesser arms of Sweden
Lesser Arms of Bremen, Germany and of Sweden (fotw)


Middle Arms
In largely northern European usage, a simplified form in which the set of armorial bearings of a nation or province may be officially shown – but see ‘greater arms’, ‘lesser arms’ and ‘state arms 1)’ (also ‘armorial bearings’, ‘coat of arms 1)’ and ‘coat of arms 2)’)

lesser arms of Bremen
Middle Arms of Bremen, Germany (fotw)


State Arms (or Coat of Arms)
1) Generically any coat of arms or emblem that is considered representative of a nation or of a nation state – the national arms (see also ‘lesser arms’ and ‘middle arms’, ‘coat of arms 1)’ and ‘coat of arms 2)’ and ‘emblem, state or national’).
2) Specifically the establishment of arms that officially represents a nation state, as opposed to any part (or parts) therefrom, or those of the relevant head of state or of any variation which may appear on a flag (see also ‘establishment of arms’, ‘flag arms’ and ‘greater arms’).

ARMY ENSIGN
In British Army usage and some others, the term for an ensign (different from the branch of service flag) that is flown at sea by army vessels (see also ‘branch of service flag’ and ‘government ensign’ under ‘ensign’).

UK army ensign
Army Ensign, UK (fotw)


ARMY FLAG
See ‘branch of service flag’ (also ‘armed services flag’).

ARRONDISSEMENT FLAGS
See ‘registration flags’.

ASCENDING DIAGONAL
1) The term for a diagonal stripe that runs from the lower hoist corner to the upper fly corner, and which centres on the corners of the flag – a bend sinister, rising diagonal or fly-diagonal, but.see ‘bend sinister’ in Appendix VI and ‘Appendix IX’ (also ‘descending diagonal’, ‘east-west diagonal’, ‘north-east diagonal’, ‘north-south diagonal’, ‘south-east diagonal’, ‘south-north diagonal’, ‘west-east diagonal’ ‘west-north diagonal’ and ‘west-south diagonal’).
2) The term may also be used to describe the division line on a bicolour divided diagonally as shown below – but see ‘per bend sinister 1)’ (also ‘bicolour 1)’).

Tanzania Acre, Brazil
National Flag of Tanzania (fotw); Flag of Acre, Brazil (fotw)


ASKLEPIAN
See ‘staff of asclepius’.

ASHOKA CHAKRA
See ‘chakra’.

ASPECT RATIO
See ‘proportions’.

ASTRAL CROWN
In UK and some other usage, a coronet based on the naval model, but composed of wings and stars, and representative of the military air service (see also ‘coronet’ and ‘naval crown’).

[astral crown example]
(Martin Grieve)


AT THE PEAK (or AT THE PEAK OF THE GAFF)
See ‘peak 1)’ (also ‘gaff’).

ATTIRE(S)
The heraldic term for an antler (or a pair or group of antlers) from a stag, when shown separately - but see ‘attired’ below.

Trzebiel, Poland Royal Standard of Wόrttemberg 1816–1918
Ceremonial Flag of Trzebiel, Poland (Jarig Bakker); Royal Standard of Wόrttemberg 1816–1918, Germany (fotw)


ATTIRED
The heraldic term used when the antlers of a stag, or the horns of some other animal – for example a goat – are shown in a different tincture from that of its body – see ‘attire’ above (also ‘appendix V’, ‘armed 2)’, ‘beaked’, ‘gorged’, ‘jelloped’, ‘langued’, ‘membered’ and ‘tincture’).

Oland, Swede Seleute, Switzerland
Flag of Oland, Sweden (fotw); Flag of Seleute, Switzerland (fotw)


AUGMENTATION OF HONOUR/HONOR (AUGMENTATIONS or AUGMENTED)
A heraldically derived term for the charge added to a flag or coat of arms to indicate special recognition for some – not necessarily military – service, with an example being the George Cross that was added to the arms of Malta and now appears on their current national flag and naval jack - an addition of honour, augmentations or augmented (see also ‘battle honour’ and ‘charge’).

Government Ensign of Malta 1943–64 Malta Malta Naval Jack
From left: Government Ensign of Malta 1943–64 (fotw); National Flag of Malta (fotw), Naval Jack of Malta (fotw)

Please note that this is in comparison to a battle honour which is almost invariably related to combat, and is entirely military in character.


AUNCIENT
See 'ancient 2)'.
AURIFLAMMA
See ‘oriflamme’.

AUSFLAG
A colloquial term for one of the several designs suggested (over a period of several years) as alternatives to the current Australian national flag.(see also ‘flag design competition’ and ‘flag proposal’).

Australia Ausflag proposal Ausflag proposal Ausflag proposal
National Flag of Australia (fotw); Three examples of an Ausflag proposals from 1993 – 2000 (fotw)

Please note that Ausflag Ltd is an organization committed to the promotion of a new Australian national flag


AUSLEGERFLAGGE
See ‘outrigger flag’.

AUTOMOBILE FLAG
See ‘car flag’.

AUTOMOBILE PLATE
See ‘rank plate’.

AUXILLIARY COLOURS
See ‘mixed tinctures’ in ‘appendix III’.
AUXILIARY ENSIGN
See ‘government ensign’ under ‘ensign’.

AVIS CROSS
See ‘cross fleury’ in ‘appendix VIII’.
AWARD FLAG (or PENNANT)
A flag or pennant signifying that the organization displaying it has received the citation, commendation or other award usualllyrepresented by the flag's design - citation flag/pennant, commendation flag/pennant or honour banner.

Queen’s Award for Export Achievement Naval Energy Conservation Award Beach Quality Award Flag, Portugal
The Queen’s Award for Export Achievement, UK (Graham Bartram); Naval Energy Conservation Award, US (fotw); Beach Quality Award Flag, Portugal (fotw)

Please note that such awards (and their accompanying flags) are often only held for a limited period.


AWARD STREAMER
In US largely usage, a streamer attached to the flag of a military unit to signify the award of an order, citation, decoration, or similar collective honour (see also ‘streamer 1)’).

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

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