Do you know the definition of “vexillology?” If you overheard a discussion between two vexillologists (and we’re sure there are at least two of them) it would likely sound like a conversation in some strange alien language. Well, hold on to your seat, folks--because we’re about to give you a lesson in vexillology, the scientific study of flags.
Flag Anatomy and Vexillology Terms
The study of flags is quite interesting. No, seriously it is. Just, do a Google search on the term “gonfalon” and you’ll see tons of examples of what we mean. To learn more about gonfalons check out our gonfalon page.
Gonfalon - an elaborate flag, usually of intricate design hung from a crossbar. Gonfalons can be used for a variety of reasons. Often graduation gonfalons are used at high school or college graduations.
Here are some additional flag terms you may find interesting:
Canton – the upper hoist quarter of a flag (see hoist below)
Charge – an emblem or device added to a flag or shield
Cockade – an ornament (rosette) or other significant colors worn as a badge
Field – the background color of a flag or shield
Fimbriation – a thin band of color that separates two other colors
Fly – the half of a flag away from the flagstaff
Hoist – the half of a flag nearest the staff
Jack – a flag flown at the bow of a ship to indicate its nationality
Jolly Roger – common name for flag supposedly used by pirates…Arr
Livery Colors – the main colors of the field and main figure on a coat of arms
Obverse – the side of a flag seen when the staff is on the spectator’s left
Saltire – a diagonal cross
Staff – the pole from which a flag is flown
Fascinating isn’t it? Don’t forget to search “gonfalon” and may, your un-tattered flag always fly true in a stiff breeze.
Please note the source for the above information is from Flags by Kent Alexander & Dr. Whitney Smith (Consulting Editor), published in 1992 by Mallard Press, NY, NY.