The following symbolisms have been extracted
from W. Cecil Wade's
"The Symbolisms of Heraldry or A Treatise on the Meanings and
Derivations of Armorial Bearings"
Published in London in 1898.
Colors and Metals
Ocre, yellow or gold - Generosity.
Argent, white or silver - Peace and sincerity.
Sable or black - Constancy, sometimes grief.
Azure or blue - Loyalty and truth.
Gules or red - Military fortitude and magnanimity.
Vert or green - Hope, joy and sometimes loyalty in love.
Purpure, purple - Royal majesty, sovereignty and justice.
Tenne or tawney - Worthy ambition.
Murray or sanguine - Not hasty in battle, and yet a victor.
Dancette - Water.
Embattled - Fire or the walls of a fortress or town.
Engrailed and Invected - Earth or land.
Indented - Fire.
Nebulee or Nebuly - The sea or water.
Ragulee or Raguly - Difficulties which have been encountered.
Ordinaries and Descriptions
Bar - For "one who sets the bar of conscience, religion and honor against
Battune Sinister - Marks a royal descent that is barred by illegitimacy
from succession to
Bend - Defense or protection.
Bordure or Border - Frequently adopted as a "difference" between relatives
Canton - Bearing of honor. When borne charged, it often contains some special
granted by the sovereign in reward for the performance of eminent service.
Cheveron or Chevron - A 'V' shaped bar - either facing up or downward.
One of the honourable ordinaries, and occupies one third of the field, as
Ar. a chev. gu.
Chief - Dominion and authority.
Cross - Chevron - Protection.
Fess - Military belt or girdle of honor.
Flasques - Given by a king for virtue and learning, and especially for
service in embassage.
Gyron - Unity.
Orle or Tressure - Preservation or protection.
Pale - Military strength and fortitude.
Palet - Same as Pale.
Passant - A term used for lions or other beasts in a walking position.
Passant does not apply to the deer kind.
Passant - Counter-passant. Two beasts walking in opposite directions.
Passant Guardant - Walking with head affrontee.
Passant Reguardant - Walking and looking back.
Passant Repassant - The same as Counter passant; that is one animal
walking to the sinister, and the other to the dexter.
Per - Denotes a partition of the field or charge, as Per-Bend, Per-Chevron,
Per-Fesse, Per-Pale, etc.
Pile - Same as Pale.
Quarter - Bearing of honor. Similar to the Canton.
Rampant - A term to express the Lion, Tiger, Leopard, Bear, etc., when in
an upright position standing on the near hind leg.
Reguardant - Looking behind.
Voiders - Given to gentlewomen who have deserved highly.
Alerion - Signifies one who having been maimed and lamed in war, was thus
from fully asserting his power.
Anchor - Succor in extremity and the Christian symbol of hope.
Angels, Cherubs and Seraphs - Dignity, glory and honor.
Annulet or Finger Ring - Fidelity.
Ant - Symbolizes a man of great labor, wisdom and providence.
Arm - A laborious and industrious person.
Arrows and Arrowheads - Martial readiness.
Axe - Execution of military duty.
Beacons or Cressets - One who is watchful for the commonwealth or who gave
in time of danger.
Bear - Ferocity in the protection of kindred.
Beaver - Industry and perseverance.
Bee - Well-governed industry.
Billets - Their first bearer was a man who obtained credence, knowledge
and faith in his
words and deeds, and who was secret in his affairs.
Blackamoor Head - Deeds of prowess in the Crusades.
Boar - A fierce combatant when at bay, and ceases fighting only with its
life, and therefore
may be properly applied as the armorial bearing of a warrior.
Bridge - Signifies a governor or magistrate.
Buckles - Victorious fidelity in authority.
Bull or Ox - Valor and magnanimity.
Camel - Docility, patience and indefatigable perseverance.
Cannon, Mortars, Cannon Balls and Grenades - Well bestowed on those who
their terrors in sieges and battles.
Cat or Cat-A-Mountain - Liberty, vigilance, forecast and courage.
Catharine Wheel - Emblem of one who is prepared to undergo great trials
for the Christian
Centaur - For those who have been eminent in the field.
Chains - A reward for acceptable or weighty service.
Clarion or Rest - Same as Trumpet.
Cock - Courage, always ready for battle, ready to fight to the death.
Cockatrice - Terror to all beholders.
Cornucopia - Bounty of Nature's gifts.
Crescent - Signifies one who has been enlightened and honored by the gracious
Crossed Thigh-bones - Mortality.
Crosses - Symbolic of some Christian experience or sentiment.
Crow - Signifies a settled habitation and a quiet life.
Crown - Royal or seigniorial authority.
Celestial Crown - Heavenly reward.
Chaplets and Wreaths - Granted for special service.
Cubes, squares or dice - Constancy, wisdom, verity probity, and equity.
Cushions - Marks of authority.
Dolphin - Charity and a kind affection towards children.
Double Eagle and Eagle - Signifies a man of action, ever more occupied
in high and
weighty affairs, and one of lofty spirit, ingenious, speedy in apprehension
and judicious in
matters of ambiguity.
Dove - Loving constancy and peace.
Dragon - A most valiant defender of treasure.
Elephant - Courage and strength.
Escallop Shell - One who has made long journeys or voyages to far countries,
borne considerable naval command or who had gained great victories.
Escarbuncle - Supremacy.
Estoiles - Emblems of God's goodness or of some eminence in the first bearer
ruder sort of men.
Eye - Providence in Government.
Falcon or Hawk - One eager or hot in the pursuit of an object much desired.
Feathers (usually ostrich) - Willing obedience and serenity.
Fire - Zeal.
Foot - Same as leg.
Fox - One who will use all that he may posses of sagacity, wit or wisdom
in his own
Fret - Persuasion
Fusil - Travel and labor.
Fusil of Yarn - Negotiation.
Gannet - To subsist by the wings of his virtue and merit, having little
land to rest upon.
Gauntlet - Signify a man armed for the performance of martial enterprise.
Goat - Emblem of that martial man who wins a victory by the employment
rather of policy
Gold Roundles - One who has been found worthy of trust and treasure.
Gold Spur - Dignity of knighthood.
Goose and Duck - A man of many resources.
Grasshopper - Wisdom and nobility.
Griffin - Sets forth the property of a valorous soldier whose magnanimity
is such that he
will dare all dangers, and even death itself, rather than become captive.
Hand - Faith, sincerity and justice.
Red Hand - Usual mark for a baronet if borne on a small escutcheon.
Hares and Rabbits - One who enjoys a peaceable and retired life.
Harp - Contemplation.
Harpy - Ferocity under provocation.
Hawks or Falcons Bells - One who feared not to signal his approach in either
Heart - Charity, sincerity.
Flaming Heart - Ardent affection.
Hedgehog - Provident provider.
Heraldic Tiger - Same as Tiger.
Horns and Antlers - Strength and Fortitude.
Horse - Readiness for all employments for king and country.
Horse Shoe - Good luck.
House Snail - Deliberation and perseverance.
Human Head - Honor.
Hunting Horn - One who is fond of high pursuits.
Hydra - The conquest of a very powerful enemy.
Inkhorn - Same as pen.
Lamb - Gentleness and patience under suffering.
Leg - Strength, stability and expedition.
Leopard - Valiant and hardy warrior.
Lightning - The effecting of some weighty business with great clarity and
Lion - Deathless courage.
Lozenge - Honesty and constancy, also held to be a token of noble birth.
Lozenge - Same as Cubes.
Lyre - Same as harp.
Mermaid - Eloquence.
Millstones - The mutual converse of human society.
Moon - Serene power over mundane actions.
Mullet - Denotes some Divine quality bestowed from above.
Owl - One who is vigilant and of acute wit.
Panther - As a lion may be said to signify a brave man, so may a panther
woman, which, though fierce, is very tender and loving to her young, and
will defend it
with the hazard of her life.
Pastoral Crosier - The emblem of a shepherd's watchfulness over his flock,
episcopal jurisdiction and authority.
Peacock - Beauty and pride of carriage.
Pegasus - Exceeding activity and energy of mind whereby one may mount to
Pelican - Devoted and self-sacrificing charity.
Pen - Emblematic of the liberal art of writing and of learned employments.
Phoenix - Resurrection.
Pillar or Column - Fortitude and constancy.
Portcullis - Effectual protection in emergency.
Purse - A frank and liberal steward of the blessings that God has bestowed
Ram - Authority.
Raven - One who, having derived little from his ancestors, has through
become the architect of his own fortunes or one of an enduring constancy
Rhinoceros - Great ferocity when aroused.
Rocks - Safety, refuge and protection.
Saddles, Stirrups and Spurs - Preparedness for active service.
Scaling Ladder - One who was fearless in attacking.
Scepter - Justice.
Scythe - Hope of a fruitful harvest of things hoped for.
Shacklebolt - Victory in war.
Shells - Protection of Providence.
Shield - A defender.
Ship, Lymphiad or Galley - All such symbols would point to some notable
sea, by which, perhaps, the first bearers had become famous.
Shoe - Same as Leg.
Sickle - Same as Scythe.
Silver Spur - An esquire.
Skulls - Mortality.
Snake - Wisdom.
Spear or Lance - Knightly service and devotion to honor.
Spear Heads or Pheons - Dexterity and nimbleness of wit to penetrate and
matters of highest consequence.
Sphinx - Omniscience and secrecy.
Spider - Wisdom, labor and providence in all affairs.
Squirrel - Sylvan retirement being the delight of its bearer.
Stag, Hart, Buck and Deer - Policy, Peace and Harmony.
Stork - Filial duty, emblem of a grateful man.
Sun - Glory and splendor.
Swallow - One who is prompt and ready in the dispatch of his business.
Swan - A lover of poetry and harmony.
Sword - Indicates the bearer to a just and generous pursuit of honor and
virtue in warlike
Talbot, Mastiff and Greyhound - Courage, vigilancy and loyal fidelity.
Tiger - Great fierceness and valor when enraged to combat; one whose resentment
dangerous if aroused.
Tortoise - Invulnerability to attack.
Tower or Castle - Grandeur and solidity. Sometimes granted to one who has
held one for
his king, or who has captured one by force or stratagem.
Trestles and stools - Hospitality.
Trident - Maritime dominion.
Trumpet - Ready for the fray.
Trunk of a Tree - An object of veneration.
Unicorn - Extreme courage.
Water Bougets - Conferred on those who had brought water to an army or
Wheel - Fortune.
White Roundles - Generosity.
Wings - Celebrity, sometimes protection or coverture.
Wolf - Denotes valiant captains that do in the end gain their attempts
after long sieges and
hard enterprises. One whom it is dangerous to assail or thwart.
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