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Heraldic Terms

A guide to words and terms used in Heraldry

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Term Meaning
Raguly A line of partition, having alternate projections and depressions like a battlement, but set obliquly.
Rampart Of a creature, reared up to fight.
Rayonne A line of partition, having alternating pointed projections and depressions with wavy edges.
Reflexed Of a lead or chain on a creature, bent over the back and down to the ground.
Reguardant Of a creature or human, looking backwards, over the shoulder.
Respectant Of two creatures or humans, looking at each other.
Reversed Of a weapon or tool, upside down, with the point downwards,
Rising Used of birds when rising, but not for beasts or monsters (see issuant).
Rompu (romper) Broken, of an ordinary or sub-ordinary.
Rose en soleil An Heraldic rose charged upon a sun in splendour.
Roundle roundel) A circle, of various colours, each having its own name.
Rowel The star-shaped object on the end of a spur.
Royal A full-grown red deer stag, synonymous with 'hart'.
Rustre A diamond-shaped figure with a hole in the middle, see mascule and lozenge.
Sable Of the Heraldic tinctures, the colour black.
Sagittarius A charge representing sagittary, often with a drawn bow.
Sagittary A human monster, having the body of a lion joined to the torso of a man.
Salamander A mythical creature, lizard-like and supposed to be able to endure fire.
Salient Of a creature, leaping.
Saltire An ordinary, two crossed strips across the shield, diagonally,('per saltire', the field divided in four parts, diagonally; 'in saltire' of charges set upon the shield in the plane of a saltire).
Sanguine Of the tinctures of Heraldry one of the stains, dark blood-red.
Seal A tool with an Heraldic device carved upon it, used to make an impression in wax, as a sign of authenticity; the was impression itself.
Seax A curved, broad-bladed sword with a notch cut in the back.
Saxon crown An Heraldic crown.
Seeded Of a flower, denoting the colour of the centre of the flower; also of a pod, where the seeds show.
Sergeant Of a griffin, as rampant is of a lion reared up to fight.
Sejant Of a beast, sitting upright facing dexter.
Semy (semee) Covered all over with small charges.
Semee de lis Covered all over with fleur de lis.
Seraphim The first order of the angelic host.
Shakefork A Y-shaped charge, similar to a pall which does not reach to the edge of a shield.
Shamrock The three-leafed plant emblematic of Ireland; as a charge, shown slipped, with heart-shaped petals.
Sheaf A bundle of arrows, reeds, spears, synonymous with garb.
Shield The main defensive item of a man fighting on foot or horseback, used to ward off offensive blows. Nowadays the main item on which to display armorial bearings.
Sinister Left, considered from the point of view of the person bearing the shield, thus standing behind it.
Sinople Of the tinctures of Heraldry, the colour green in French usage.
Slipped Of a plant or flower, with a stem.
Soaring Of a winged creature, facing the front and flying with both wings outstretched.
Sphinx A mythical beast, usually represented as having the head of a woman and the (winged) body of a lion.
Spur rowel A star-shaped spike placed on a spur, synonymous in Heraldry with a pierced mollet.
Stains Colours of the tinctures of Heraldry that are not primary colours.
Stall plate Some of the orders of knighthood have their own chapels, in which members of the order display their armorial banners, each over his own seat, or stall. Past and deceased occupiers of a stall, whose banners have been taken down, have a metal, enamelled plate of their Achievement affixed to the stall.
Statant Of a creature, simply standing, facing the dexter.
Standard A long flat flag with a partly-coloured fringe, now displaying the arms, crest, motto and livery colours of the bearer.
Star In Heraldry represented as a figure with six wavy arms, called an Estoil; with five points it is called a mollet.
Sub-ordinary Any one of a group of the smaller, less frequently used, geometric shapes found as charges.
Sunburst A cloud with the sun's rays issuant.
Sun in splendour The sun, issuing rays.
Supporter Any creature holding up a shield or helm, most commonly in pairs.
Tabard A loose smock, without sleeves, on which armorial bearings are sometimes emblazoned.
Talbot A large hunting dog with drooping ears, the model for representations of a hunting dog in Heraldry.
Target A shield, so named because it was at the shield that knights aimed their assaults during a tournament; usually of a small ceremonial sort, carried at a funeral, often abbreviated to 'targ'.
Tau A cross in the shape of a 'T', from that letter in the Greek alphabet; known as a St. Anthony's Cross.
Tenne (tenny) Of the tinctures of Heraldry, one of the stains, tawny orange.
Theow A monster resembling a wolf with cloven hooves.
Thunderbolt A winged column with flames at either end and stylized lightning crossing behind the centre of the column in saltire.
Tiara Usually refers, in Heraldry, to the papal headpiece of three crowns.
Tincture In Heraldry the term for all the colours employed.
Tilting Spear Special spear used in tournaments.
Tomb effigy A prone statue of the deceased placed upon his tomb.
Torse A twist of material covering the joint between crest and helm, synonymous with 'wreathe'.
Torteau A red roundle representing a cake of bread.
Trefoil A stylized leaf resembling a three-leaved clover. It is termed a trefoil slipped if it has a stalk.
Tressure A narrow band placed on a shield, following its shape, but not touching the edge; usually found as a double tressure of two such bands; the two bands of a double tressure being a little wider than the one band of an orle.
Transfixed Pierced by a weapon.
Trick A shorthand way of noting down a blazon.
Tricorporate Of a creature, having one head and three bodies.
Triple-towered A castle or tower with three smaller towers on top.
Trippant (Tripping) Of deer, trotting or walking accross the shield to the dexter, with one paw raised.
Tufted Of creatures, having tufts of hair on their knees, elbows, flanks, shoulders or chin.
Tudor rose An Heraldic rose, composed of a white rose charged upon a red rose, reversed, if placed upon a red field, occasionally found quartered and counter-charged, plain quartered or parted per pale.
Tyger An Heraldic creature, bearing little resemblance to a real tiger.
Undy (unde) Of a line of partition, wavy.
Unguled Of the hoofs of a creature, in a separate specified colour.
Unicorn Fabulous horse monster with horn.
Urchin A hedgehog.
Urdy Of a line of partition, pointing, having points.
Uriant Of a fish, swimming down to the bottom of the shield.
Umbrellino See pavilion.
Vair Of the tinctures in Heraldry, one of the furs, (blue and white).
Vairy Of a field of the vair type, but of specified tincture.
Vallary crown An Heraldic crown; (from the Roman tradition of bestowing a crown on the first to mount an enemy's rampart).
Vambraced Of an arm, protected by armour.
Vert Of the tinctures of Heraldry, one of the colours, green.
Vested See habited.
Visor The opening front of a helmet.
Voided Of a charge, appearing in outline only.
Volant Of a bird, flying across the shield with wings expanded.
Vulned Wounded and bleeding.
Wattled Of a cock or other fowl, with skin hanging from the chin.
Wavy Of lines of partition.
Woodwose (woodhouse) A wild man of the woods, used as a charge and sometimes a supporter.
Wreath See torse.
Wreathy Of a sub-ordinary, depicted as if made like a wreath, with twists of cloth of various colours.
Wyvern (wivern) A mythical beast, being a winged dragon with two eagle-like feet and a barbed, serpentine tail.
Yale An Heraldic beast with horns and tusks.
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