Heraldic Terms

Heraldic Terms

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Click on any letter above to go straight to heraldic terms starting with that letter.  Currently only terms in the range A -> C are available.

Term Alternative(s)  Illustration Definition
abatement A supposed mark of dishonour on a coat of arms, apparently never actually used
achieve An escutcheon or armorial shield granted in memory of some achievement
additament An additional ornament external to the shield, e g supporters or symbols of office
addorsed Turned back to back
affronté affrontée / affrontee Looking frontwise, or towards the beholder
alerion allerion An eagle displayed, without feet or beak
allusive Canting
annulet A little circle borne as a charge
argent Silvery-white or white
armed   Used to describe all birds of prey whose talons and beaks are coloured with a different tincture from their bodies or quadrupeds with claws, tusks, teeth, horns etc, so variegated
(Illustration shows Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or armed and langued Azure)
armiger A person entitled to heraldic arms.
armorist A person skilled in heraldry
armory Heraldry
armour Heraldic insignia
arms Heraldic insignia, coat of arms
assurgent Depicted as rising from the sea
augmentation An additional charge in a coat of arms bestowed as a mark of honour
azure Blue, marked in engraved figures by horizontal lines
bar A horizontal band across a shield, narrower than a fess but broader than a burrulet
baron A husband, as opposed to feme wife
barrulet A horizontal band one-quarter the width of a bar
base The lower part of a shield
bastard-bar An inaccurate name for the baton-sinister
baton   A bendlet coupé
bear To display on one’s heraldic shield, to be entitled to do so
bear arms To show or have armorial bearings
bend A broad parallel band crossing a shield diagonally from dexter to sinister
bend-sinister A supposed mark of illegitimacy which runs from sinister to dexter
bendee Bendy
bendlet A half-width bend
bendwise bendways Divided into bends
bezant A small yellow circle like a gold coin
bezanty Charged with bezants
bicorporate Double-bodied, as the head of a lion to which two bodies are attached
billet A bearing in the form of an upright rectangle
blazon A correct description of armorial bearings (noun); to depict or to explain in heraldic terms (verb)
bordure A broad border used as a charge in a coat of arms, often as a mark of difference
botoné bottony Of a cross: having the end of each limb ornamented with three projections like buds
brisure A variation of or addition to a coat of arms showing the relation of a younger to the main line
caboched caboshed In full face with no neck showing
cabré Rearing
cadence The different steps in the descent of a family.
cadency The relative status of the branch of a family descended from a younger son
Calvary Calvary cross
canting arms A coat of arms in the form of a rebus, or a visual pun on the bearer’s surname
canton A square charge smaller than a quarter and positioned in the upper (usually dexter) corner of a shield
cartouche An oval shield used for women or ecclesiastics
Catherine-wheel   A wheel set round with teeth
champ A field
charge To place a heraldic bearing on a shield
checky chequy Chequered – divided into squares of alternate tinctures, like a chessboard
chevron The representation, usually on a shield, of two rafters of a house meeting at the top chev’rony
chief The upper part of the field cut off by a horizontal line, generally occupying the upper third of the area of the shield Borne in the upper part of the shield
cinque A common bearing representing a flower with five petals borne full-faced and without a stalk
Clarenceux Clarencieux The second king-of-arms in England, so named from the Duke of Clarence, son of Edward III

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Created 17 March 2012