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Heraldic Terms K-Q

A guide to words and terms used in Heraldry

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Term Meaning
King of Arms The senior Herald in a country.
Knight One elevated to this rank and admitted to one of the orders of knighthood by the competent authority in recognition of deeds of valour or great service; a non-hereditary rank; 'Ritter' in Germany, 'chevalier' in France.
Knot Loops of interlaced cord frequently used as badges or charges.
Label A strip across the top section of the shield, with pendant tabs; usually a sign of a son, by common usage the heir.
Lambrequen Synonymous with mantelling.
Langued Of the tongue, in a separate specified colour.
Leaved Of the leaves of a plant, in a separate colour.
Ledger stone A memorial slab placed in the floor of a church.
Line of partition See partition. Lines drawn to delineate divisions and charges can be of many different configurations.
Lined With a line similar to a leash, usually attached to a collar.
Lion Most often used beast in Heraldry.
Lioncel A small lion, used to describe one of many on one shield.
Livery The uniform worn by a lord's retainer, bearing his colours.
Livery Company Originally a medieval trade guild, nowadays involved in charitable works.
Lodged Deer are lodged when couchant.
Lounged Of a deer, lying down.
Lozenge A diamond-shaped piece. See also mascule and rustre.
Lozengy Of an all-over lozenge pattern, made by crossing diagonal lines.
Lucy A pike (fish).
Lympad A small sailing vessel, with one sail, sometimes furled, and sometimes with oars.
Mace (Battle) A spiked iron ball on a shaft, wielded in the hand, the ball sometimes attached by a short length of chain.
Mace (Ceremonial) A large ornamental item, often with an orb and crown on top as symbol of civic authority.
Mantelling (mantling) A short cloth attached to the back of the helmet to keep off the sun's heat and protect against sword cuts.
Mandrake A human monster, formed from the root of the plant of the same name.
Marshalling The practice of combining two or more Coats of Arms on a shield or in one Achievement.
Martlet A bird of the swift order, shown with no feet.
Mascule (mascle) A lozenge-shaped figure, voided in the middle. See also rustre.
Masoned Used when lines of pointing are of a different tincture from the building on which they appear.
Maunch Representation of a sleeve, with a long pendant pocket from the wrist.
Melusine A human, female monster, with two fish tails.
Mermaid A human, female monster with a fish tail.
Merman A human, male monster with a fish tail.
Metal Of the tinctures of Heraldry, the colours that represent silver and gold.
Mill-rind Iron bracket to take the spindle in the centre of a millstone to prevent wear.
Moline One of the forms of the cross, the arms terminating in curved branches resembling the ends of a mill-rind.
Mollet (Mullet) A five-pointed star shape, not to be confused with a star (see estoil); when pierced representing a spur rowel.
Moon Shoown either full, with a human face or as a crescent. See also increscent and decrescent.
Mural An Heraldic crown, in embattled form.
Murrey One of the tinctures of Heraldry, a purple or red stain.
Naiant Of fish, swimming across the shield, heads to the dexter.
National Arms Armorial bearings usedby countries, expressing territorial allegiance.
Naval Crown One of the Heraldic crowns.
Navel point The lower middle point of a shield, bellow the fessee point.
Nebuly Of a line of partition, of a wavy or serpentine form.
Nowed Knotted, of a rope, a tail, a snake etc.
Octofoil A flower with eight petals.
Ogress A black roundle, synonymous with gunstone.
Opinicus An Heraldic beast, the same as the griffin, but with four lion'slegs.
Or One of the tinctures representing metals, the colour gold.
Ordinary The principal geometric charge on a shield.
Ordinary of Arms A book listing armorial bearings alphabetically according to the principal charges, so that the bearers of arms can be ascertained by reference to the description.
Orle A narrow band on the shield, following its shape, but set in from the edge; ('in orle', charges placed upon a shield in the disposition of an orle).
Osprey Always shown as a white eagle.
Ounce A mythical beast resembling a leopard, in Heraldry often a black panther.
Overall Of a charge placed on a shield on top of whatever is on the shield already.
Pairle A division of the field into three radiant sections.
Pale An ordinary, being a verticalstripe or band in the middle of the shield; ('in pale' charges placed in a vertical alignment on the shield; 'per pale', one of the divisions of the field).
Palewise Of charges placed on the shield vertically.
Palisado An Heraldic crown, resembling a palisade.
Pall A Y-shaped band, in three ships, placed upon a shield, derived from the pallium.
Pallet A very narrow pale.
Pallium A narrow, ring-like band of cloth lying over the shoulders,symbolizing the authority of an archbishop.
Paly Of the field, divided into an equal number of vertical strips.
Paly bendy Of the field, divided into sections by vertical and diagonal lines.
Panache An arrangement of feathers on the helmet, one of the precursors of the crest.
Pantheon Monster resembling a hind powdered with estoiles or mullets, usually with a bushy tail.
Panther The beast is depicted heraldically with flames issuing from ears and mouth and with body powdered with multi-coloured spots.
Paper Heraldry Derogatory term applied to Heraldic accessories designed after the practical function of heraldry had passed, which could never have been used for their apparent purpose.
Passant Of a creature, walking across the shield.
Passion cross One of the forms of the cross; the standard crucifix.
Patonce One of the forms of the cross, having its arms extending in a curved form from the centre.
Patriarchial cross One of the forms of the cross. having two transverse arms, the upper one being the shorter.
Pavilion A figure in the shape of a tent, or umbrella, used as a charge; especially in ecclesiastical Heraldry; also called an 'umbrellino'.
Pean One of the Heraldic tinctures that represent the furs, black with gold spots.
Pegasus A horse monster, having wings.
Pelican Usually shown 'in her pierty' pecking her breast to feed her young with her blood.
Pellate (pellet) A black roundle, synonymous with ogress and gunstone.
Pellaty (pellety) Covered with pellates.
Penned See guilled.
Pennon A small pointed flag fixed at the lance point.
Peon (pheon) A broad arrowhead, the inside edge serrated.
Phoenix A mythical bird.
Pierced Of a charge with a hole in it through which can be seen the colour of whatever lies underneath, unless otherwise specified.
Pile A triangular piece from the top of the shield, point towards the bottom.
Pile bendy A horizontal pile, with its base to sinister, its point to dexter.
Pilgrim staff A staff with a hook near the top to carry a pilgrim's bag.
Pineapple The pine-cone rather than the fruit.
Plate A roundle, silver or white.
Platy Covered with plates.
Pommel One of the forms of the cross in which each arm terminates in a roundle.
Pomme A green roundle, representing an apple.
Portcullis A defensive grid dropped down in a doorway to keep out intruders.
Potent One of the forms of the cross, the arms terminating in potents, or crutch-heads.
Potenty Of a line of partition, formed by a series of potents, or crutch-heads.
Powdered Covered all over with small charges.
Pride, in his A bird such as a peacock or turkey with his tail spread is said to be 'in his pride'.
Profile Of a human face, facing the dexter.
Proper Of anything in Heraldry blazoned in its natural colout.
Purpure Of the tinctures of Heraldry, purple.
Quarter The top dexter quarter on a shield.
Quartering One of any number of divisions on a shield, on which are placed different Coats of Arms.
Quarter-pierced Of a cross form on the shield, the centre removed to show the colour of the field, so that all the remaining cross-sections and all the field sections are as near equal as possible.
Quatrefoil A stylized flower with four petals, representing the poppy.
Queue Tail of a beast.
Queue fourchy Of the forked tail of a creature.
Quilled Of the shaft of a feather, synonymous with 'penned'.
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