- MAGEN DAVID
- The Shield or Star of David composed of two interlaced triangles forming a
six pointed star, and symbolic of Judaism (see also menorah).
Please note that the Magen David is also known as
the Seal of Solomon and as such may be represented with five points as it now
appears on the flags of Ethiopia and Morocco (based on the Hebrew Encyclopaedia).
- MAGIC RATIO
- See golden mean.
- MAIL FLAG
- See postal flag.
- MAIL PENNANT
- A pennant, increasingly obsolete, flown at sea at by vessels carrying, or
more usually licensed to carry mail a postal or royal mail pennant (see also
postal flag and
royal air mail pennant).
Mail Pennant, Poland 1937-39 (fotw)
- The most important mast in a ship or yacht, or the tallest mast in a sailing
ship from which the masthead pennant or the command flag of a full admiral (or
five star/Admiral of the Fleet) was formerly flown (see also
flag of command,
fore, mast 2),
masthead, masthead pennant 1)
- MAKE HER NUMBER
- (v) To hoist that group of signal flags which identify a ship in a recognized
code (see also International Code of Signal Flags,
private signal and
- MAKING COLOURS
- See colours 5).
- MALTESE CROSS
- The heraldic term for a cross resembling four arrowheads, with
straight-sided arms, eight outward facing points and inner points which meet
at the centre but see cross pattιe
(also cross 2)).
From left: Medical Services, Spain (fotw); Flag of Polzela, Slovenia (fotw);
Grand Master of the Military Order of Malta (fotw)
- A heraldic term for a cloak or robe behind the shield, and which can enclose
a full set of armorial bearings (see also Appendix IV
and armorial bearings).
Please note that when used on the arms of a ruling
prince or sovereign a mantle becomes a pavilion (see
pavilion), however, mantles may still be seen in
the parliamentary and state robes worn by British peers (which are graded according
- A heraldic term for the decoration resembling drapery in a coat of arms, and
attached to the helmet by a torse (see also Appendix IV,
coat of arms and,
helm for information on torse see
- MARKING (or MARKER) PENNANT
- In US military usage and some others, a pennant used to mark the turning points
or limits of a parade ground (see also pennant 2)).
- See the note after International Code of Signal Flags.
- 1) Any vertical projection from a vessel upon which sails and/or flags can
be hoisted (see also fore,
mizzen and stumpmast).
- 2) See flag pole (also
sailors mast and
- The highest point below the truck of any mast afloat or ashore (see also
mast and truck).
- MASTHEAD, AT THE
- (adv) When a flag is flown at the truck of a mast or at a point below the
truck, it is said to fly 'at the masthead'
- MASTHEAD FLAG
- 1) Generically, any flag hoisted at the masthead of a vessel (see also
mast and masthead).
- 2) Specifically, the national flags hoisted at the masthead of all masts when
a ship is dressed overall, usually the national flag of the nation being honoured
(see also dress ship).
- MASTHEAD PENNANT
- 1) A flag, usually long and narrow and generally (but not exclusively) tapering
from hoist to fly, it can be triangular, cut off to a square end or swallow-tailed,
and is flown from the main masthead of a naval or other public vessel in commission
but which does not carry a flag officer (or officer commanding other vessels)
on board commissioning or commission pennant, narrow pennant, pennant of
command, war or warship pennant or of a warship commander and others (see also
burgee command pennant,
flag of command,
- 2) The generic name for any long narrow flag that is flown from the masthead
of a vessel a whip pennant
(see also streamer,
homeward bound pennant or
paying off pennant).
Please note that a distinction has been drawn between
the standard masthead pennant flown by commissioned warships as defined in 1)
above, and the various command pennants that are flown in addition and subordinate
to it (see also command pennant).
Please note also however, that there are two exceptions to this the
and the burgee command pennant -
both of which replace the masthead pennant when flown.
Masthead Pennant of Spain
Masthead Pennant of Belgium
Masthead Pennant of France
- MASTHEAD STREAMER
- See streamer 2).
- MEAL PENNANT
- 1) See dinner flag.
- 2) In US usage the practice, almost certainly obsolete, of flying a red triangular
pennant from the port yardarm (or spreader) of a pleasure vessel when the crew are at
meals a crews meal pennant (see also
guest on board flag,
owner absent flag
Meal Pennant, US (fotw)
- MEMORIAL FLAG
- 1) In largely (but not exclusively) US usage, a small national flag (affixed to a short staff)
which, on specified memorial occasions, is implanted on the graves at military cemeteries a
grave decoration flag.
- 2) A flag designed to memorialize one or more persons, or to express sympathy for people in a
specific situation. Such flags may or may not be officially recognized, and are sometimes created
by adding symbols or wording to a national or other recognized flag.
- 3) See commemorative flag.
POW-MIA Flag, US and Canada (fotw) 9/11 Memorial Flags, US (an official website and CS)
- A seven-branch candlestick that is symbolic of Judaism, and is featured on the
national arms, the Presidential Standard and some other flags of Israel (see also
Magen David and
Presidential Standard and National Arms, Israel (fotw)
- MERCHANT ENSIGN
- See civil ensign under ensign.
- MERCHANT FLAG
- An alternative term, now largely obsolete, for the civil ensign (see civil
ensign under ensign).
Merchant Flag of Spain 1785 1927 (fotw)
- MERCHANT JACK
- An alternative term, now largely obsolete, for the civil jack (see civil
jack under jack).
- MERIDIAN (or MEDIAN)
- An imaginary line drawn (either vertically or horizontally) through the centre
of a flag a vertical or horizontal meridian.
- See Appendix III.
- MIDDLE ARMS
- See under arms.
- MILITARY BANNER
- See banner 5) (also
- MIXED TINCTURE
- See Appendix III.
- The aftermost mast in a sailing vessel with three or more masts (and on a two
masted vessel dependent upon the rig) from which the gaff is rigged, and from which
the command flag of a rear-admiral was formerly flown (see also
flag of command,
gaff, mast and
- A simple often (but not exclusively) circular design and the Japanese equivalent
of a heraldic badge or shield, originally a personal or family symbol, they are now
also common in Japanese civic flags (see also
daimo flags and,
Flag of Aogashima Island, Japan (fotw)
- A motif formed by one or more letters, formerly often intertwined and now
more usually seen plain, as for example, on the royal standard of Belgium and
some presidential flags of France a cipher or ligature (this last especially
if of only two letters).
France 1969 74 (fotw)
- MORNING COLOURS (or COLORS)
- See colours 5).
- MORNING RIBBON
- See draping (also
- MORSE CODE SIGNALLING WITH FLAGS
- 1) The current system of signalling with flags (or with the arms alone in the absence of
flags) using the Morse code, where if hand-held vertically (above the head) they signify
dots and if held horizontally (at shoulder level) dashes (see also
international code of signals,
- 2) A system, now obsolete, of signalling with a single flag using the Morse code, where
short waves signified dots and long waves dashes - signalling by flag waving (see also
Please note that 1) is contained in the current (2005) Edition of the International Code
of Signals, and that 2) had reasonably widespread use in the field prior to radio, both
between artillery batteries and forward observers, and for communication between naval and
army units ashore. Please note also that the 1937 (British) Admiralty Manual of Seamanship
gave the Morse code flags as plain blue, or white with a blue horizontal stripe (against
light or dark backgrounds respectively), but that other variants are known to have
- A word or phrase, sometimes in a classical language, usually inscribed on
the scroll accompanying a coat of arms or state emblem, and originally derived
from the war cry (see also Appendix IV,
device 1) and
- MOURNING FLAG
- A usually plain black flag of slightly varying design, displayed (sometimes
unofficially) by organisations and persons to signify mourning for people or events,
often (but not invariably) for political reasons not to be confused with a pall
flag or funeral flag (see funeral flags
and pall flag, also
and 'half mast a flag').
From left: Croatia (CS); Denmark (CS)
- See star 2).
- 1) A flag of four or more stripes or bands, whether horizontal, vertical or
diagonal, and of equal or unequal width. (see also plain 2)
- 2) A flag of four or more horizontal stripes or bands of equal width, also barry.
- 3) A flag of four or more vertical stripes or bands of equal width, also paly.
- 4) A flag of four or more diagonal stripes or bands of equal width, also bendy
if they go from the upper hoist to the lower fly or bendy sinister if from the
lower hoist to the upper fly.
Please note however, that on certain flags (as in
those of - for example Botswana, The Gambia or North Korea) there is often no
clear distinction between a fimbriation and a stripe, and that the terms multi-stripe
or fimbriated tricolour/triband (or similar) may reasonably be used as alternatives
in describing such flags (see also Appendix VI,
From left: Civil Flag of Costa Rica (fotw); National Flag of
Mauritius (fotw); Power Squadrons, US (fotw); Flag of Friesland, Netherlands (fotw)
- MULTI-TAILED (or TONGUED)
- (adj) A term used to describe a fly that is cut into more than three tails or tongues
(see also gonfanon,
swallowtail and tongue and
- MULTI-TAILED DESCATE
- (adj) A term used to describe a fly that is cut into more than three tails
with rounded ends (see also
swallowtail and tongue and
- MUNICIPAL FLAG
- See civic flag 1).
- MURAL CROWN
- 2) Specifically the heraldic term for a crown with masoned, battlemented walls but without
towers, often representative of a town or city and reputedly based on an ancient
Roman triumphal ornament - but see civic crown 1)
also astral crown,
Please note that in some European heraldic systems,
the number of crenellations is dependent upon the size and civic status of the
Heraldic Mural Crown (Parker)