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Dictionary of Vexillology: V (Vailing - Voided)

Last modified: 2008-01-05 by phil nelson
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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When the finial on the staff of military colour or parade flag is allowed to touch – or nearly touch - the ground whilst being lowered in salute - but see 'trailing 1)' (also ‘dipping 1)’).

1) 1) The term for a short, triangular pennant now obsolete, sometimes stiffened with a frame (often plain red) and formerly flown from the mastheads of sailing merchant vessels in place of a masthead pennant, or sometimes to identify individual ships when travelling in convoy (see also ‘masthead’ and ‘masthead pennant 1)’).
2) See ‘distinguishing vane’.
3) A length of bunting (or other light material) extended on a wooden stock and fixed in the shrouds of a yacht or small sailing vessel to indicate wind direction – a wind vane.
4) A small metal flag-like object; generally set on a rod on the top of a building – a weather vane.
5) A pre-heraldic vexilloid in the form of a decorative metal plaque mounted onboard ship by the Vikings (see also ‘pre-heraldic’ and ‘vexilloid’).

Please note that the term vane (or van) in heraldry can also refer to a ‘winnowing basket’ or scruttle/shruttle/fruttle/fan. see supplemental note

A medieval term, now obsolete, for a small flag or vane - see ‘vane 1)’.

A medieval term, now obsolete, for a banner – see ‘banner’.

A distinctive design invented in Venice that gives an aesthetically pleasing taper to a tall flagpole, and now the most common form used (see also ‘flag pole’).
A term (divided into Venn A and Venn B) sometimes employed for the detailed classification of 17th Century English military colours, with particular regard to their use within a regiment (see also ‘colour 2)’, ‘colours 2)’ and ‘stand of colours 1)’).

Please note that the above system of classification only applies to English colours, and is taken from that used by Captain Thomas Venn when writing in 1672. Please note also however, that there were variations not originally covered, and that further methods have been recently proposed.

See ‘paly’ in Appendix VI.

A heraldic term for the colour green (see also ‘Appendix III’ and ‘rule of tincture’).

See ‘meridian’.

In German speaking, Central European and some other usage, a term that may be applied to any long, vertically orientated flag, but which (unlike a banner or hanging flag as defined herein) is hoisted along its upright (rather than topmost) edge (see also ‘banner 2)’, ‘hanging flag’, ‘hoisted flag’ and ‘outrigger flag’).

[vertically hoisted flag example]

Please note that this term has been introduced by the Editors as no existing established term could be found, however, in German language vexillology the terms hochflagge, hochformatflagge, hochformatfahne, knatterflagge or knatterfahne (or their plurals flaggen and fahnen) are variously used.

In US army usage, now increasingly obsolete, a term for the special flag or pennant of an army unit, or of a type of command, flown by that unit or commander only when operating aboard a vessel – but see ‘boat flag 2)’ and note below.

[US Army oridinace corps] [US Army Mine planters] [US Army quartermaster corps] [US flag and pennant] From left: Army Ordinance Corps, US; Army Mine Planters, US; Army Quartermasters Corps, US Flag and Pennant (fotw)

Please note that as far as is known the vessel flag of the US army transportation corps is still in current use, and that the vessel flag of the US corps of engineers is now also authorized to be flown on land at their facilities which are not located on Army installations.

[US army transportation corps] [US Army corps of engineers]
From left: Army Transportation Corps, US; Army Corps of Engineers, US (fotw)

The flag of an organization representing the veterans of a particular, service, war, campaign, or unit. The flags of veteran’s organizations are often mounted, trimmed and treated like a military colour (see also ‘parade flag’ and ‘colour 2)’).

[Royal British Legion]
Flag of the Royal British Legion, UK (Graham Bartram)

A colloquial term for one who undertakes an assiduous search for (sometimes obscure) flag information (see also ‘vexiferreting’ below and ‘vexillologist’).
A colloquial term for the assiduous search for (sometimes obscure) flag information (see also ‘vexiferret’ above and ‘vexillologist’).
1) See 'vexillifer'.
2) A member of a Roman military unit (vexillatio) detached from the main force under a vexillum – but see ‘vexillation’ (also ‘vexillifer’ and ‘vexillum’).
1) (adj) Of or pertaining to flags (see also ‘vexillology’).
2) See ‘vexillifer’.

Any detachment of soldiers serving under a vexillum - but see ‘vexillarius 2)’ (also ‘banderium’, ‘vexillifer’ and ‘vexillum’).

Please note this term is taken directly from the Latin vexillatio being a detachment of soldiers as described above.

A 19th Century term, now obsolete, for the standard bearer in a medieval mystery play.

The treatment of a flag as a fetish or religious object.

The bearer of the vexillum (see also ‘vexillarius 2)’, ‘vexillation’ and ‘vexillum’.
A person who loves and/or collects flag books (but see also ‘vexillophile’ below).

A designer of flags, or the creator of a flag design.

The designing of flags, or the creation of a flag design.

1) A rigid emblem (such as a carved animal or similar) mounted on a pole, which fulfils the function of a flag but which is not a flag, and characteristic (but not exclusively so) of traditional societies – not to be confused with a tufa (see also ‘tugh’ and ‘tufa’).
2) As above, but the forerunner of the flag as in the Nome standards of ancient Egypt, the Semeia of classical Greece or in the Eagles of a Roman legion (see also ‘eagle 2)’, ‘Semeion’ and ‘standard 5)’).
3) See ‘standard 6)’.

A student and/or collector of flag related postage stamps and/or of related information.

A collector of flags and/or of information regarding flags - a flag enthusiast (but see also ‘vexillobibliophile’).

A student of vexillology (see also ‘vexillology’).

The scholarly or scientific study of the history, symbolism and/or usage of flags.

Please note, the term was coined by Dr. Whitney Smith of the Flag Research Center (Massachusetts, USA) and based on the Latin vexillum (see also ‘vexillologist’ and ‘vexillum’).

The collection of flags and/or of information regarding flags (see ‘vexillophile’ above).

An ancient Roman standard consisting of an often decorated (usually) red or purple cloth hung from a cross bar. It is considered to be the first true flag in Western culture, and from which the term vexillology is derived (see also ‘vexillarius’, ‘vexillifer’, 'vexillation' and ‘vexillology’).

[Roman vexillum]
Vexillum of the 13th Legion (Eugene Ipavec)

Please note however, that whilst frequently described as a cavalry standard (which it was), the vexillum also had a number of other military uses.

A medieval term, now obsolete, for the royal standard – see ‘royal standard 1)’.

Please note that it is unclear whether the medieval chroniclers were referring to a banner of the royal arms as is common today, or to a standard of the heraldic pattern known to have been used by many English kings in the medieval period (see also ‘standard 4)’).

A medieval term, now obsolete, for the fixing of banners or standards to the walls of a fortress (see also ‘banner 1)’ and 'standard 4)).

A basically heraldic term that is applicable to any ordinary (or other charge) when the middle is removed so that the field of a shield or banner of arms may be seen through it (see also ‘charge 2)’, ‘ordinary’ and ‘pierced’).

[voided examples]

Please note that in vexillology a voided cross such as shown above may, for example (and with equal accuracy) be described as “a red cross, fimbriated yellow on a red field” or similar.

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