Heraldic Terms

Heraldic Terms

Heraldic terms were very important in Medieval England, where heraldry was a significant part of life. As heraldry was so complex, exclusive and significant, the practise was required a long list of very precise terms. We have listed some of the most common below:

Accosted Side by side
Addorsed Back to back
Affronté An animal seen in full front view
Aislé With wings
Ambulent Walking
Ancient Crown A circlet with 4 fleurs-de-lis (3 visible)
Apaumé Referring to a hand showing its palm
Arched Shaped like an arch
Armed Referring to claws, teeth, horns or talons of animals including birds
Armigerous Applied to people who possessed coats of arms
Armorial bearings Another name for achievement of arms
At gaze A stag with its face looking forward
Attires The horns of a deer
Attired With horns
Augmentation A special grant that allowed additions to a coat of arms, usually as a result of a special deed
Banded With a band or ribbon around
Bars gemelles Barrulets placed in pairs
Barbed and seeded proper A heraldic rose with five leaves in a natural colour
Beaked Referring to the beaks of birds and creatures like a griffin.
Bezanty Strewn with bezants
Billety Strewn with billets
Caboshed The head of a deer shown full face but with no neck
Cadency marks Symbols used by sons to emphasise differences between their coat of arms and that of their father
Canting arms Punning arms
Caparisoned A horse dressed for battle
Close When the wings of a bird lie against its body
Cockatrice An imaginary beast made up of two different parts of two creatures
Combatant When two lions faced each other, seemingly preparing to fight
Combed A reference to the crest of a cock
Compony A single row of chequers
Conjoined Joined together
Cotise Narrower than a bendlet
Cotised A bend, fess or chevron is cotised when placed between two narrow bars
Counter compony Two rows of chequers
Courant Running
Coward An animal with its tail between its legs
Crined This referred to human hair or the mane of animals
Crusily Scattered with little crosses
Dancetty This described a zigzag line with fewer but bigger points than a line indented
Demi Halved
Dimidiation Two coats on one shield
Dormant Sleeping
Double-queued With two tails
Ducally gorged and chained With a crest coronet around the neck and a chain attached
Elevated Wings that are raised
Embowed Curved
Enfield Imaginary beast with the head of a fox, chest of an elephant, mane of a horse, front legs of an eagle, hind legs of a greyhound and a lion’s tail
Eradicated A tree that is uprooted
Erect In an upright position
Erminois A fur – black spots on gold
Escutcheon A shield
Escutcheon of pretence A shield containing the arms of an heiress wife placed in the centre of her husband’s shield
Flory A field scattered with fleurs-de-lis
Fructed A tree bearing fruit
Fusil Diamond shape that is narrower than a lozenge
Gamb Leg of an animal
Gorged Placed around the neck
Gorges A whirlpool
Goutteé Scattered with drops of liquid
Gyronny Where a shield has been divided into eight parts
Habited in Dressed in
Hauriant A fish in an upright position
Hoofed Referred to the hooves of animals
Horned referred to the horns of animals
Impaled A shield that is parted down the middle so that two coats can be displayed
In splendour The sun when it is shown with its rays
Inescutcheon A shield placed inside another shield
Inverted Upside down; wings with tips facing downwards
Irradiated With rays about it
Issuant Coming out of
Langued Referring to an animal’s tongue
Lined With cords
Marshalling Grouping two or more coats of arms on one shield
Masoned A reference to the lines that represent cement between bricks
Mural Crown Crown with the appearance of a wall with an embattled top
Naiant Swimming
Passion Nail Like a wedge and with no head
Pean A fur – gold spots on black
Pendent Hanging
Per Used to show how a line is drawn to divide a shield
Pierced With a hole so that another tincture shows through
Plate A silver roundel
Platy Strewn with plates
Potent A fur – made up of T-shapes
Queue fourché With a forked tail
Radiant Charges that have the sun’s rays around them
Reguardant Looking behind
Respectant Face to face
Salient Springing
Sans Without
Sejant Sitting
Shafted Referring to the shaft of an arrow, spear etc
Surmounted A charge that has another place on it
Tierced Divided into three
Torse Wreath
Torteau A red roundel
Transfixed Pierced through
Trippant Used for deer shown to be walking
Unguled Referring to the hooves of animals
Urchin A hedgehog
Voided A charge with the middle removed so that only an outline remains
Volant Flying
Wattled This described a cock’s wattles

See also: Heraldry

MLA Citation/Reference

"Heraldic Terms". HistoryLearning.com. 2023. Web.