This page is part of © FOTW Flags Of The World website

Dictionary of Vexillology: I (Impale - Iron Cross)

Last modified: 2008-01-05 by phil nelson
Keywords: vexillological terms |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors

On this page:

1) (v) In heraldry a term for the marshalling (or placing) of two sets of arms side-by-side on a shield or banner of arms to indicate marriage or alliance – empale (see also ‘coat of arms 2)’, ‘dimidiated’ and ‘entire')
2) (v) On flags as above, but the images placed on a flag need not be arms as defined herein.

[impaled flags]
Flag of Overassel, Netherlands (fotw)

[impaled flags]
Flag of The Orkneys, UK (fotw);

[impaled flags]
NY & NJ Port Authority, US (fotw);

[impaled flags]
English Naval Jack – Royalist - 1643 (CS)

See ‘dimidiated’ and following note.

See ‘dragon flag 2)’.

A term used to describe when the rays of a star or sun emblem, or a radiating stripe, are straight-edged – see ‘active’ (also ‘active and inactive’, ‘radiating’ and ‘star’ and its following note).

A term used when the fly of a flag is cut diagonally so that the upper length of the flag is greater than its lower length – a type largely limited to Central Europe (see also ‘length 1)’, ‘schwenkel’ and ‘swallow-tail(ed)’).

[inclined fly flags]
From left: Flag of Jarocin, Poland (fotw); Flag of Pleszew, Poland (fotw); Flag of Janow, Poland (fotw)

Please note that this is not an established term, but has been introduced by the Editors since no suitable (or suitably descriptive) alternative could be found.

See ‘serrated’.

In U.S. army usage, a flag denoting an officer's rank – see ‘rank flag 1)’ (also ‘distinguishing flag 3)’, ‘flag of command’ and ‘personal flag 4)’).

A flag made expressly for display inside a building and sometimes fringed. It is often made from more costly materials, has embroidered detail, and is fitted with a sleeve for attachment to a staff – a dress flag or flag of ceremony (see also ‘cord’, ‘embroider’, ‘fringe’, ‘sleeve 2)’, ‘staff 2)’ and ‘tassels’).

The heraldic term for one shield appearing within another (usually at its centre point), or in the centre of a banner of arms (see also ‘banner 1)’, ‘coat of arms’ ‘escutcheon’ and ‘overall’).

[Inescutcheon example]
Royal Standard 1700 – 1759, Spain (fotw)

Please note, some heraldic sources propose that this term should also be used when more than one shield appears within another, but it is suggested that a suitable glossary or heraldic dictionary should be consulted for further information.

An elongated clip (usually of bronze, but also of a tough synthetic material) with an eye and double-tapered gap in the beak part, making it easy for two to be clipped together. The clips, spliced to the ends of halyards, are swivelled to allow the halyards to move freely. With similar Inglefield clips spliced to the ends of the hoist lines attached to flags, it allows for rapid and easy hoisting, especially of signal flags (see also ‘Appendix I’ and ‘halyard’).
[Inglefield clip - left] [Inglefield clip - right]

Please note that these clips were patented in 1890 by Lieut. (later Admiral) Edward Fitzmaurice Inglefield, RN, when serving as a signals officer in the British Mediterranean Fleet.

See ‘engrailed’.

An obsolete term for a flag or ensign (see also ‘insignia’).

A term for the emblems of rank and distinction sometimes applied in the Middle Ages to flags of varying sorts, and from which the word ensign probably derives (see also ‘ensign 5)’ and ‘insigne’).

The term from which ‘ensign-banner’ was possibly derived.

Those flags that have been officially granted and/or formally approved by the governing body/directing authority of an institution such as a university, college, sporting club or other similar entity, and are recorded as such in their official documentation or proprietary websitewebsite (see also ‘institutional flags (unofficial)’ below).

Please note that this category includes only those flags listed above, and that national, sub-national, personal and corporate flags as defined separately herein are specifically excluded (see also ‘sports flag 2)’, 'national flag', 'sub-national flag', 'civic flag', 'personal flag' and 'corporate flag').

Those flags that purport to identify institutions, clubs and other entities, but which have not been formally approved by the relevant governing body or directing authority (see ‘institutional flags (official)’ above).

Please note that it is a wide-spread practice, especially among North American Universities and sporting clubs worldwide, for faculty members, student bodies and supporters to display commercially manufactured flags which differ from those formally approved, and which must, therefore, be designated as unofficial. It should be noted also, that whilst manufacturers may often have permission to use registered trade marks and logos of the organization concerned, this does not give the resulting flags official status (see also ‘de facto’).

A term for an early 19th Century flag, now obsolete, showing the insurance number of ship and usually issued by the appropriate marine insurance company – a number flag.

Please note that this is not an established term, but has been introduced by the Editors since no contemporary source describing such flags could be found.

See ‘conjoined’.

See ‘pall flag’.

See ‘proportions 2)’.

An internationally agreed set of flags of simple design to represent letters of the Roman alphabet and numeral pennants, that can be hoisted singly or in groups to convey meanings contained in the International Code of Signals (see also ‘blue peter’, ‘complement’, ‘diver below flag’, ‘flag of distress’, ‘hoist 2)’, ‘International Code of Signals’, ‘make her number’, ‘numeral pennant’, ‘pilot flag’, ‘quarantine flag’ and ‘signal flag’).

A code of single and multiple groups of letters with internationally agreed meanings that can be transmitted by means of signal flags, radio or signal lanterns (see also ‘complement’, ‘International Code of Signal Flags’, ‘numeral pennant’, and ‘signal flag’).

Please note that the International Code of Signals was first introduced (as the Commercial Code of Signals) in 1857, and whilst it has gone through several revisions since that date, was also a further development of the code invented by Captain Frederick Marryat RN, first published in 1817 (Marryat’s Code). Please note also that the ICS is currently published by the International Maritime Organization, and that all references to the code given in this Dictionary are taken from the 2005 Edition.

That code prescribed by the Federation Internationale des Associations Vexillogiques (FIAV) for use by the international vexillogical community, which lists the colours employed on flags: R = red, Y = yellow, V = green (from vert/verde etc, in the Romance languages), B = blue, O = orange, P = purple, G = grey, N = black (from noir/negro), W = white, Au = gold and Ag = silver. Lighter shades are indicated by a minus sign thus light blue, for example, becomes B-, and darker by a plus sign thus dark blue becomes B+ (with B++ being a very dark blue).

1) The generic term for any flag that is recognized as having international significance , for more precise definitions however, see 2) below (also ‘Geneva Convention flag’, ‘safe conduct flag’, and ‘supra-national flag’).
2) The flag of an organization which represents the interests of a number of different countries, as in for example, that of the Organization of American States, the Association of South East Asian Nations or of OPEC, or that represents an international non-governmental organization such as the International Olympic Committee (see also ‘sports flag 3)’.
3) In the plural this term can also applied to a display of the world’s national flags, such as that which appears outside the United Nations building in New York (see also ‘national flag’).

Please note that the flags of most international organizations fall into this category, however, the flags of the International Red Cross and its equivalent organizations are at the same time Geneva Convention flags, international flags and safe conduct flags.

(adj) A heraldic term for where a division in the field of a banner of arms or shield, or the edge of an ordinary, is cut into a series of projecting curves or half circles strung together - that is with the half-circles facing outward and the points inward - invecked, envecked, or invecqued (see also ‘armorial bearings’, ‘banner of arms’, ‘coat of arms’, ‘engrailed’, ‘ordinary’, ‘shield’, and ‘scalloped’).

1) On flags a term which may be used when a charge or charges, that are (or that may be) orientated vertically, are shown as being turned upside down (see also ‘chevron’, ‘pall’ and ‘pile’).
2) In heraldry see ‘reversed 2)’.

See ‘chevron’.

See ‘pall’.

See ‘pile’.

The term (and derived from an originally Prussian military decoration) that describes a distinctly Germanic form of the cross pattee – see ‘cross pattιe’ (also ‘Hanseatic cross’).

[German Naval Jack] [German Vice Admiral]
Naval Jack 1871–1918; Vice Admiral’s Flag, Germany (fotw)

Please note that the above term should only be used when the cross pattιe being described is black and carries a white or silver border.

Introduction | Table of Contents | Index of Terms | Previous Page | Next Page