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Heraldry Terms & Designs

Heraldic -- Of or relating to the practice of devising and granting armorial insignia and of tracing genealogies

A complete list of all the possible designs and their ornamentation is beyond the scope of this site. Yes, the terminology here is very complex and you will need to do some research when designing your own insignia. I seek only to give an introduction and some resources you can use for further information. There are several different types of 'devices':

Arms:  is personal to its owner ("this is me"), so would only be worn by owner and his/her herald
Badge: can identify anything or anyone belonging to the bearer ("this is mine") (some examples)

A Primer of Blazonry does an excellent job at providing a visual introduction to heraldry and heraldic designs.

Also see  Animals for Use in Heraldry or Other Designs


bulletArgent -- The heraldic term for silver, sometimes shown as white
bulletAzure -- Blue
bulletGules -- The heraldic term for red
bulletOr -- Gold, sometimes shown as yellow
bulletProper -- In natural colour
bulletPurpure -- Purple
bulletSable -- The heraldic term for black
bulletSanguine -- Blood color (not bloody)
bulletTenne/Tawny -- Orange
bulletVert -- green

Decriptive Terms
There are so many terms to be used in heraldry; consult a good heraldry guide like Pimbley's Dictionary of Heraldry

bulletBlazon -- the textual description for the design on a coat of arms
bulletDexter -- Of or on the right side of a shield; on the reader's left
bulletEnsigned -- Placed above
bulletField -- The surface of a shield upon which the design is blazoned
bulletFructed -- Bearing fruit, as in "an oak tree fructed proper"
bulletRoundrel -- Roundels (disks) of various tinctures have specific names of their own (look here)
bulletSejant -- Sitting
bulletSinister -- Of or on the left side of a shield; on the reader's right


bulletBlazing Star/Comet
bulletChevron -- a device shaped like an inverted V
bulletCinquefoil -- an ornamental design consisting of five arcs arranged in a circle
bulletCrescent -- sometimes used to denote the second son of a family
bulletEstoile -- A six-pointed star whose rays are wavy
bulletFleur-de-Lys -- sometimes used to denote the sixth son of a family
bulletFruit -- strawberry, pomegranate, etc.
bulletHunting Horn
bulletMullet -- A star, usually five pointed whose rays are straight. May or may not be pierced.
bulletRose -- sometimes used to denote the seventh son of a family

Images of Existing Heraldric Devices
Images with their accompanying blazons

bulletAn Elizabethan Armorial


Helpful Links:

bulletAmateur Heralds
bulletCivic Heraldry of England and Wales
bulletHeraldic Atlas
bullet International Illustrated Glossary of Heraldry
bulletMedieval Flags and Banners
bulletPimbley's Dictionary of Heraldry
bullet Tips for Designing Your Own Coat of Arms
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Last Updated: 2008-03-14 18:23
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