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Dictionary of Vexillology: C (Car Flag - Civil Flag)

Last modified: 2008-01-05 by phil nelson
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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A flag or pennant, sometimes in metal or other non-flexible material, designed specifically to be flown from a car – an automobile flag.

German car flag 1941-45
General officer, Germany 1941– 45 (fotw)

Please note that the practice of flying a car flag or pennant was previously (usually but not exclusively) limited to that carrying a head of state, government official or military officer, however, the practice has arisen whereby such flags are available as sports flags and may also be displayed by a funeral cortege. Formerly sometimes flown from the radiator cap, a car flag is now more usually seen on the right front fender, wing/mudguard (or often on both front fenders) but there is a suggestion that the two positions might also previously have indicated differences in the rank of the occupant. It is usually flown from a short metal staff, or from a clip-on, window mounted staff, or from the radio antenna (see also ‘funeral flags’).

An alternative medieval term, now obsolete, for the cart upon which the standard was placed (see also ‘altema’, ‘gajardus’ and ‘standard 6)’).

In obsolete UK and some other usage, a flag or one of a pair of flags, that mark a vessel involved in the exchange of prisoners (see also ‘flag of truce’).

1) In heraldry, an oval escutcheon often used (but not exclusively so) by Italian clergymen (see also ‘escutcheon’).
2) On flags as above, and a term that now covers a usually (but not invariably) oval plaque or frame containing heraldic insignia, and occasionally a date or motto (see also ‘motto’ and ‘ring’).

From left: Detail, Spain (CS); Andorra (fotw)

1) A narrow sleeve-like sack, usually of some decorative, waterproof, material used in order to protect a regimental, unit, service or national colour when outdoors and furled (see also ‘colour 2)’ and ‘furl’).
2) (v) The act of placing the furled colour into its case (see also ‘uncase’).

See ‘pall flag’.

See flag tossing’.

See ‘quatrefoil 2)’.

See ‘sendal’.

1) An ensign or flag flown by naval ships and over naval or military establishments on Sundays or days of national or service celebration (see also ‘Sunday ensign’ and ‘garrison flag’).
2) See ‘ceremonial standard’ below.

Please note with regard to 1) that this term does not refer to flags used on parade or those made for indoor display, but to flags and ensigns that are identical with their everyday equivalents except for size and/or care of manufacture (see also ‘parade flag’ and ‘indoor flag’).

A term for the standard, or flag, flown on royal ceremonial occasions in (as far as can be discovered) Kelantan, Malaysia in place of the individual standards of any royal family member present (see also ‘royal standard 1)’, ‘royal standard 2)’ and ‘standard 1)’).

[ceremonial standard]
Ceremonial Standard of Kelantan, Malaysia (fotw)

A term for the ensign, possibly obsolete, flown (in place of a standard state ensign) on ceremonial state occasions by government entities at sea (see also ‘government ensign’ under ‘ensign’).

Please note that, as far as can be discovered, Johore, Malaysia is the only country which may currently still use such a flag.

[ceremonial ensign]
Ceremonial State Ensign, Johore, Malaysia (fotw)

A wheel-like emblem that represents the Buddhist Dharma Chakra (or wheel of law) and which appears in a variety of different designs on the national flag of India, the military flags of Thailand and several other flags both past and present.

From left: India (fotw); Thailand (fotw)

See ‘crown of rue’.

In US army usage a flag, bearing a device corresponding to a particular religion, displayed in a military chapel.

[US Chapel Flag]
Christian Faith Chapel Flag, US (fotw)

In US army usage a flag, bearing a device corresponding to a particular religion, flown in the field to designate the location of a chaplain&'s quarters or office, or the site at which religious services are being held.

[Jewish chaplain flag]
Jewish Faith Chaplain’s Flag, US (fotw)

See ‘garland’.

1) Generically, any emblem, object or design placed upon the field of a flag or shield (see also ‘Appendix IV’).
2) Specifically, a symbol placed upon the field of a flag, which is neither an emblem as specifically defined herein, nor a badge (see also ‘emblem’, ‘emblem, national’, ‘emblem military’ and ‘badge’).
3) (v) The act of placing such a charge on a flag.

Please note however, that with a considerable degree of heraldic justification, some sources propose the charge to be an integral part of a flag’s design and usually not used separately, whereas, in general a badge may. It is suggested therefore, that the entry ‘badge (in heraldry)’, and a suitable glossary or heraldic dictionary be consulted.

(adj) The act of having placed a charge on a flag (especially "charged with") – to have defaced with a charge (see also ‘charge’ and ‘deface’).

See ‘sports flag 4)’.

1) In vexillology, a flag bearing more than four but an otherwise varied number of rectangles (usually but not invariably squares) in alternating colours  (see also ‘quarterly’).
2) In heraldry a the term for a shield or banner of arms bearing (not less than twenty) squares of a metal and colour alternately. Any number between ten and twenty squares is generally specified, and a shield or banner of arms carrying only nine is called equipolle by French heralds.

Please note with regard to 2) that in heraldry the exact number of squares (if more than twenty) is usually left undefined, but in vexillology the number of such rectangles is often precisely regulated.

[Checky - North Brabant Netherlands] [Checky - Chihuahua Mexico]

From left: Flag of North Brabant, Netherlands (fotw); ) Flag of Chihuahua, Mexico (Juan Manuel Gabino Villascαn)

1) A heraldic term for a charge with arms generally in the shape of an inverted letter ‘V’, and heraldic use frequently suggests that a chevron should have a width equal to one-fifth the field of a banner of arms or shield.
2) Any ‘V’ shaped charge on a flag irrespective of the width of the arms. The standard orientation of a chevron on flags is the same as in heraldry, however, when the apex is towards the top edge of the flag it may be called a simple chevron; with the apex towards the bottom edge of the flag, an inverted chevron; with the apex towards the fly a horizontal chevron and with the apex towards the hoist of the flag it may be called a reversed chevron (see also ‘inverted’ and ‘reversed’).

Please note that the Editors have adopted a heraldic model in defining a chevron on flags, however, please note also that there are conflicting definitions with regard to the standard vexillological orientation of a chevron and that usage of this term has not yet settled upon a consistent approach.

From left: Flag of Campina Grande; Brazil Flag of Boelenslaan; Netherlands Flag of Otovice; Czech Republic (fotw)

A heraldic term used when two or more chevrons are displayed together on a shield or banner of arms, and heraldic use frequently suggests that a chevronel should be one-half the width of a chevron (see ‘chevron’ above).

Please note that in heraldry the standard orientation of a chevronel is the same as that of a chevron and that variations of this standard may be described using the terminology given in 2)’ above.

A heraldic term for the top horizontal section of a shield or banner of arms, however, heraldic use frequently suggests that a chief should be one-third of the total depth of that shield or flag (see also ‘banner of arms’, ‘base’ and ‘shield 2)’).

[chief example]

One of a number of designs symbolizing Christianity, especially the white flag with a blue canton containing a red Latin cross designed in 1897 by Charles Overton, and used by various Protestant groups – an ecclesiastic, ecclesiastical or church flag - but see ‘religious flag’ (also ‘church flag 2)’).

[Christian flag] Anglican Curce
Charles Overton’s Flag (fotw); The Anglican Catholic Church, US (fotw)

Please note that usage of the Charles Overton flag was originally (largely) confined to the United States, but evidence of growing use elsewhere has been reported.

A medieval term, now obsolete, for the bearer of a standard, flag or banner upon which the figure of Christ crucified was depicted.

See ‘banner 3)’.

1) See ‘Christian flag’ and ‘religious flag’.
2) In UK usage and some others, the flag flown from or outside a church; particularly that flown from an Established (or Anglican) Church defaced with the appropriate diocesan arms.

[church flag example]
The Anglican Diocese of Chester (fotw)

In US, UK and some other naval usage, the pennant hoisted aboard a warship or naval shore establishment during religious services (see also ‘bethel flag’ and ‘flying angel flag’).

[Church pennant - UK, Netherlands] [Church pennant - US]
Pennants, UK and The Netherlands (CS); US (CS)

Please note however, that in US usage this may also be called a worship pennant, particularly when in connection with a non-Christian service.

[Church pennant - Jewish worship pennant US]
Jewish Worship Pennant, US (CS & fotw)

The heraldic term for a charge in the form of a stylized flower having five leaves and often pierced in the centre – a quinterfoil or quintefeuille.

cinquefoil example German speakers - German
from left: cinquefoil example; Flag of the German Speaking Community, Belgium (fotw)

See ‘monogram’.

See ‘award flag’.

See ‘civic flag 1)’.

1) See ‘banner 3)’.
2) A term used when the flag of a municipality or urban area is a banner of arms – see ’civic flag’ (also ’banner 1)’).

[civic banner example] [civic arms for banner example]
Banner and Arms of the City of Birmingham, UK (fotw)

1) On flags, a crown composed of battlemented walls showing masonry and generally from three to five towers, usually (but not exclusively) representative of a municipality or urban area – but see ‘mural crown 2)’ (also ‘astral crown’, ‘coronet’, ‘crown’, ‘mural crown’ and ‘naval crown’).
2) In heraldry, a closed garland or chaplet composed of oak leaves and acorns (see also ‘crown triumphal’ and ‘garland’).

Abrantes Portugal [civic crown]
From left: Flag of Abrantes, Portugal (fotw); A Heraldic Civic Crown (Parker)

Please note with regard to 1) that in some European heraldic systems, the number of towers is dependent upon the size and civic status of the municipality represented

1) The flag of a municipality or urban area – a municipal flag or city flag.
2) In UK usage, as above but also the sub-national flag of a county (see also ‘sub-national flag’).

[civil example] [civil example]
Flag of Ludwigslust, Germany (fotw); Flag of Northumberland County, UK (fotw)

That flag flown at civilian airports, landing fields and by civil air authorities (see also ‘royal air mail pennant’).

Please note that in British use (and in that of some Commonwealth countries) such a flag is called a civil air ensign (see also ‘ensign 2’).

[Civil air ensign - UK] [Civil air ensign - Pakistan] [Civil air ensign - Ghana] [Civil air ensign - Israel] [Civil air ensign - Poland]
From left: Civil Air Ensign, UK (fotw); Civil Air Ensign, Pakistan (fotw); Civil Air Ensign, Ghana (fotw); Airport Authorities, Israel (fotw); Civil Air Flag, Poland 1930–32 (fotw)

See under ‘ensign’.

The version of a national or provincial flag that is for use by private citizens on land (see also ‘national flag’, ‘state flag’, ‘civil ensign’ under ‘ensign’ and ‘sub-national flag’).

[Civil flags]
From left: Civil Flag of Guatemala (fotw); National Flag of Guatemala (fotw)

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