- A flag based on the vexillum and combining Christian symbols with those of the
Roman military, introduced by the Emperor Constantine in the early 4th Century AD, and
later used as an imperial standard (see also ‘vexillum’).
Please note - not to be confused with a cantabrian labarum
(see 'cantabrian labarum').
- See ‘cadency, mark of’.
British Royal Standard Showing the Label of HRH Princess Ann (fotw)
- LAMB OF GOD
- See ‘agnus dei’.
Flag of Berlikum, The Netherlands (fotw)
- A long light-weight spear with which some cavalry regiments were formerly
armed, and upon which the standard or guidon was also carried - now restricted
to historical or ceremonial use (see also
‘guidon 1) & 2)’,
‘lance flag’, ‘lance pennon 1)’,
and ‘standard 2)’).
- LANCE FLAG (or PENNANT)
- A small flag or pennant, usually swallow-tailed or triangular and of
generally simple (bicolour) design, formerly carried below the lance head by
those cavalry regiments so armed, or currently by some mounted police units in
parade dress, and now restricted to historical/ceremonial use - a lance pennon (see
also ‘banneret 2)’,
‘lance’ and ‘lance pennon 1)’).
From left: Lance Flags, British c1840; Mounted Police, New South Wales and
Please note that the use of lance-armed cavalry and the
general design of their flag or pennant derive from Polish practice – Poland having
been the country from which lance-armed light cavalry was adopted in the late 18th
- LANCE PENNON
- 1)The term for an armigerous lance flag, either triangular, either
fork-tailed or square-ended according to rank, and carried by a medieval mounted knight (see also
‘banneret 2)’, ‘lance’,
‘lance flag’ and
- 2) See ‘lance flag’.
- (adj) A term used that may be used to describe a rounded fly – but see
‘standard 4)’ and
Examples (2); Flag of Lesna, Poland (Jarig Bakker)
Please note that the differences between “ogival” and “lanceolate” are
often very slight, and we suggest that both entries be consulted.
- See 'national colours 2)' and
'state colours 3)' (also
- LANGUAGE FLAGS
- See ‘linguistic flags’.
- The heraldic term used when the tongue of the beast, if shown, is of different tincture
than the rest of the body (see also ‘armed 2)’,
See ‘appendix V’
Flag of Östergötland, Sweden (fotw); Flag of Aalter, Belgium (fotw); Flag of Uri, Switzerland (fotw)
- 1) In French military usage – and a translation of fourragère – the term for
those cords and tassels that may decorate a (usually) military colour – see
(also ‘colour 2)’,
‘jack of honour’,
‘lanyard pennant’ and
2) See ‘halyard’.
3) See ‘dress knot’ and its following note.
- LANYARD PENNANT
- In French Naval usage, the term – and a translation of flamme de
fourragère - for a tapered pennant in various colours, charged with the Croix de Guerre
and having a rounded (or lanceolate) fly, which is flown to indicate that a vessel has received
citations for a certain number of military decorations (see also ‘cravat 1) and its following
‘jack of honour’,
‘lanyard 1)’ and
From left: 6 Citations for the Legion d’Honneur, 1914-18 (fotw); 4-5 Citations for the Médaille Militaire 1939-45 (fotw)
- LAPEL FLAG
- 1) A metal or plastic flag – sometimes showing a badge or coat of arms
below - worn on the dress or coat lapel as a patriotic or political symbol,
originally characteristic of the former Soviet Union and of the United States,
but now widely used elsewhere – a flag badge or flag pin.
- 2) A paper flag see ‘flag day 2)’.
- A term sometimes incorrectly used to describe the leaves of a rose in place
of the heraldic barbed – see ‘barbed’.
- See ‘gouttes’.
Flag of Loudoun County, Virginia, US (fotw)
- LATE-GOTHIC (or LATE-GOTHIC-STYLE) SHIELD
- The term sometimes used to describe a round-bottomed or Spanish-style shield -
but see note below (also ‘rectangular shield’,
‘shield 2)’ and
Please note that the terms gothic and late-gothic appear to be used indiscriminately
to describe either a pointed or a round-bottomed shield, and the Editors suggest
therefore, that both these terms should be restricted to those with a pointed base.
- LATIN CROSS
- See ‘appendix VIII’.
- LATIN CROSS THROUGHOUT
- See ‘appendix VIII’, and
‘off-centred cross 2)’ with its
- LAUNCHING FLAGS
- Those flags flown from a vessel that is being launched prior to fitting out,
and which in naval usage are generally (but not invariably) of a prescribed type
and sequence (see also ‘dressing lines’ and
Launching of HMS St Albans 1747, UK (portcities)
- LAY UP (or LAYING UP) COLOURS (or COLORS)
- (v) The ceremonial deposit of regimental, unit, service or national colours
in a church, cathedral or museum when they are worn out, or when the regiment
or military organisation is disbanded (see also
‘colour 2)’ and
- LAYERED CROSS
- A term that may be used to describe a cross whose horizontal arm differs in colour
from its vertical as in the flag of the Netherlands Antilles (see also ‘cross 1)’,
‘layered saltire’ and ‘trinitarian cross’).
Flag of the Netherlands Antilles (fotw); Former Flag of The Canada Steamship line (fotw); Flag of Belov, Czech Republic (fotw)
Please note that this term has been introduced by the
Editors as no established alternative could be found.
Also please note that this term should only be used in the
description of flags as illustrated above, and does not include crosses which show two colours
because of a fimbriation, or are divided in ways other than those shown.
- LAYERED SALTIRE
- A term that may be used to describe any saltire where an arm of one colour overlays (or
apparently overlays) an arm of a different colour as in the examples given below (see also
‘layered cross’ and ‘saltire’.
Flag of Rubi, Spain (fotw); Flag of Horní Cerekev, Czech Republic;
City of Alfarràs, Spain (fotw); Flag of Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA (fotw)
Please note that this term has been introduced by the Editors
as no established alternative could be found.
Also please note that this term should only be used in the
description of flags as illustrated above, and does not include saltires which show two
colours because of a fimbriation, or are divided in ways other than those shown.
- LEADING EDGE
- An alternative term for the dexter edge of a vertically hung banner or a gonfalon – see
Please note, that this term has been introduced by the Editors
as a vexillogical alternative to the heraldically derived ”dexter edge”.
- A term sometimes used in heraldic blazoning to indicate that a flower or
plant is shown complete with its stalk and leaves (see also
Flag of Sins, Switzerland (fotw); Flag of Wynau, Switzerland (fotw)
- The edge of a sail that lies opposite to its yard, and is used (in place of “at the peak” on
gaff-rigged vessels) to indicate the position of an ensign when flown from a halyard running from
the outer end of the mainsail boom to the mast of a Bermuda rigged sailing yacht - instead of from
an ensign staff at the stern (see also
Ensign Flown From The Leech: Ensign At The Peak
- LEISURE ENSIGN
- See ‘yacht ensign’ under ‘ensign’.
Ensign of the Royal Norwegian Yacht Club (fotw)
- See ‘membered’.
- 1) That dimension of a flag which is measured horizontally from the outside
edge of the hoist (generally excluding the heading), to the opposite extreme edge
of the fly (see also ‘Appendix I’,
‘hoist’ and ‘fly’).
- 2) The longer dimension of a stripe or band within a flag – howsoever orientated
(see also ‘stripe’).
- 3) The dimension of an emblem, charge, arms, shield or badge measured horizontally,
when it appears on a flag – but see the note below, ‘height’
and ‘width across’ (see also ‘badge’,
'establishment of arms'
Please note that definition 3) is given with regard to the consistent
use of proportions when describing a flag and its charges, however, it is suggested that when
giving the actual dimensions of any such charge the phrase ‘width across’ should be used for its
horizontal measurement and the word ‘height’ for its vertical size (see also
- LESSER ARMS
- See under ‘arms’.
- LETTER OF MARQUE (and/or REPRISAL)
- See ‘privateer(s)’.
- LIBERTY CAP
- See ‘cap of liberty’.
- See ‘monogram’.
- See ‘fastness’.
- 1) See ‘edging 1)’.
- 2) A term sometimes used to describe the detail lines within a charge
or a figure – but see ‘garnished’ and
‘masoned’ (also ‘charge 1)’.
- 3) In heraldry a term for the lining (either fur or fabric) of a mantle or pavilion, or if a
bear or greyhound has a line affixed to its collar (see also ‘mantle’
- LINGUISTIC FLAGS
- 1) Flag-like images that are intended to link together communities which speak the same language
irrespective of national boundaries, and which are usually an amalgam of the national flags concerned.
- 2) Flags that are intended to represent a link through the use of a common natural language,
generally (but not invariably) countries previously held by colonial ties – such as that of the Francophonie.
- 3) Flags that are intended to represent one of the constructed languages, for example Esperanto.
- 4) Flag images, usually (but not invariably) those of national flags, which are used on the Internet
(and on other documentation) to indicate in which languages the material on a particular site are available
for the convenience of the reader.
Please note with regard to 1) that these images do not (as far as is known) exist in cloth.
Amalgam Language Flags for English and German (CS)
From left: Flag of the Francophonie; Esperanto flag (fotw)
- LIVERY BANNER
- The term, now obsolete, for a small square flag in the deceased person’s livery colours,
usually for use at that person’s funeral (see also
- LIVERY COLOURS (or COLORS)
- The principal colours (often - but not exclusively - the first metal and first
colour) of a coat of arms and generally (but not exclusively) shown as two or three stripes on flags
(see also ‘banner 2)’,
‘coat of arms 2)’,
‘rule of tincture’,
‘state colours 3)’
and ‘streamer 2)’).
- 2) The principal colours of a flag unrelated to a coat of arms - but see
‘national colours 2)’ and
‘state colours 3)’.
Arms and Flag of Cerklie na Gorenjskem, Slovenia (fotw); The State Arms and
National Flag of Germany (fotw); Arms and Flag of Głubczyce, Poland (fotw)
Please note that the term is derived from the colours – usually
taken from a family’s arms - worn as a livery by the servants of that family.
- 1) A design serving as the symbol of a commercial enterprise or educational
establishment, or other entity, that is not a coat of arms, seal, badge or emblem as
defined herein (see also ‘badge 1) &-3)’,
‘coat of arms’,
all entries under ‘emblem’,
‘house flag 1)’,
‘institutional flag, official’,
institutional flag, unofficial’ and
- 2) A simplified version of an existing badge or of an emblem that is often
used in lieu of these for the same purpose.
Flag of the Portuguese Railway Company (fotw)
- LOGO ON A BEDSHEET (or LOB)
- A term that is intended to be derogatory, and to describe any flag bearing
an emblem, badge, seal, shield or arms upon a plain field – a bed sheet flag
or building site flag – but see ‘seal on a bedsheet’ with the note below,
‘armorial ensign’ and
‘seal flag’ (also
‘badge 1) - 3)’,
‘coat of arms 2)’, all entries under
and ‘shield 1)’).
Please note that the Editors would suggest a certain degree of caution when using
this term - it was intended to be derogatory and the definition given above could
equally apply to several types of flag (for example the civic/municipal flags of
Japan) to which any such implication would be inappropriate.
- LONE STAR FLAG
- A colloquial term used to describe the flag of the US state of Texas, which was introduced
in 1839.as that of an independent republic (see also ‘state flag 2)’).
Flag of the State of Texas, US (fotw)
- LONG CROSS
- See ‘Latin cross’ in ‘appendix VIII’.
- LOOP (or LOOP, THE)
- See ‘flag adjutant’.
- A term that may be used for the increasingly (but by no means entirely) obsolete practice of fixing
a flag or gonfalon to its pole, staff or crossbar by a series of attached fabric loops (see also
‘ties’ with its following note,
‘ring 4)’ and
Gonfalon of Sutivan, Croatia (fotw)
Please note that this is practice is almost certainly based on the earlier use of ties – see
- LORD HIGH ADMIRAL'S FLAG
- See ‘anchor flag’.
Flag of The Lord High Admiral 1685 - 1688, England (fotw)
- LOWER FLY (or LOWER FLY CANTON)
- In vexillology a term for that quarter of a flag which occupies the lower fly -
the fourth or lower fly canton (see also 'canton 3)' and
- LOWER HOIST (or LOWER HOIST CANTON)
- In vexillology a term for that quarter of a flag which occupies the lower hoist, -
the third or lower hoist canton (see also ‘canton 3)’ and
- See ‘abased’.
- 1) In vexillology the term for a diamond-shape – a rhombus.
2) In heraldry a diamond shape, usually shown with its upper and lower angles
slightly acute – but see ‘square lozenge’
(also ‘lozengy’, ‘lozengy bendy’
National Flag of Brazil (fotw); Example
Please note with regard to 2), that in English heraldry
is also the escutcheon upon which a spinster or a widow’s coat of arms is placed (see also
‘coat of arms’).
- See ‘mascle
Pennant of the River Police, Croatia (fotw)
- 1) In heraldry, a term for when the field of a banner of arms or shield is covered
with lozenges or diamonds in alternating colours – fusilly (see also ‘banner’,
‘lozenge 2)’ above and
- 2) In vexillology as above, however, the term may also be applied to a field covered with lozenges or
diamond shapes set at an angle – see ‘lozengy bendy’ below.
Slocum Society International (CS); Banner of Arms 18th Century, Monaco (fotw)
Please note however, that on flags this term may also be
applied to a field covered with lozenges or diamond shapes set at an angle such as those
on the flag of the German state of Bavaria, whereas in heraldic practice these would be
lozengy bendy (or bendy sinister).
- LOZENGY BENDY (or BENDY SINISTER)
- The heraldic term used when the field of a shield or banner of arms is covered with lozenges
or diamond shapes in alternating colours and set at an angle – fusilly bendy or bendy sinister–
see ‘bendy’ and ‘bendy sinister’ in ‘appendix VI’
(also ‘banner 1)’,
‘lozenge 2)’ and ‘lozengy 1)’ above).
The Arms and Flag of the State of Bavaria, Germany (fotw)
- The heraldic term (more common in Scottish than in English heraldry)
for a ship with a single mast and usually (but not exclusively) oars – a birlinn, antique or ancient ship – but see the note below.
Please note that a vessel with oars but more than one mast should be
blazoned “galley”, and that in English heraldry, a single- masted, medieval
nef or cog (without oars) is often (but by no means exclusively) blazoned an
“ancient” or “antique ship” – which term can (and does) include sailing
vessels with more than one mast – see ‘cog 2)’,
Banner of Arms of New Brunswick, Canada (fotw); Banner of Arms of the
Western Isles, Scotland (fotw); Flag of
Gzira, Malta (fotw); Flag and Arms of
Kostrena, Croatia (fotw)