• (noun): The profession, study, or art of devising, granting, and blazoning arms, tracing genealogies, and determining and ruling on questions of rank or protocol, as exercised by an officer of arms.
  • (noun): A branch of knowledge dealing with the history and description in proper terms of armorial bearings and their accessories.
  • (noun): Armorial ensigns or similar insignia.
  • (noun): Pomp and ceremony, especially attended with armorial trappings; pageantry.

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Wordnet definitions

  • (noun): emblem indicating the right of a person to bear arms
  • (noun): the study and classification of armorial bearings and the tracing of genealogies

Look up "heraldry" to find its meanings and associations with other words and concepts


Heraldry () is a broad term, encompassing the design, display, and study of armorial bearings (known as armory), as well as related disciplines, such as vexillology, together with the study of ceremony, rank, and pedigree. Armory, the best-known branch of heraldry, concerns the design and transmission of the heraldic achievement, more commonly known as the coat of arms. The coat of arms usually includes a shield, helmet, and crest, together with any accompanying devices, such as supporters, badges, heraldic banners, and mottoes.Although the use of various devices to signify individuals and groups goes back to antiquity, both the form and use of such devices varied widely, and the concept of regular, hereditary designs, constituting the distinguishing feature of heraldry, did not develop until the High Middle Ages. The use of helmets with face guards during this period made it difficult to recognize one's commanders in the field when large armies gathered together for extended periods, necessitating the development of heraldry as a symbolic language.The beauty and pageantry of heraldic designs allowed them to survive the gradual abandonment of armour on the battlefield during the seventeenth century. Heraldry has been described poetically as \"the handmaid of history\", \"the shorthand of history\", and \"the floral border in the garden of history\". In modern times, individuals, public and private organizations, corporations, cities, towns, and regions use heraldry and its conventions to symbolize their heritage, achievements, and aspirations.

Example Sentences

  • This is one of those passages for which the editor of that review has merited an abatement in heraldry, no such writing ever having been written; and indeed, by other like assertions of equal veracity, the gentleman has richly entitled himself to bear a gore sinister tenne in his escutcheon.

  • More trivia: in heraldry, a vertical stripe on a flag is called a "pale" (the French tricolour is made up of three pales, for example).

  • The auriferata (which is made of cloth of gold or of thin gold plates, and is not jewelled) is the one always used in English heraldry for an Anglican bishop or archbishop.

  • As a matter of fact the six-pointed star was not adopted because of its use in English heraldry, while in Holland and

  • 'gagliarda' by Villani, that these groups of piles, pales, bends, and bars, were called in English heraldry 'Restrial bearings,'"in respect of their strength and solid substance, which is able to abide the stresse and force of any triall they shall be put unto."

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