A Glossary of Heraldic Terms

Editor’s Note: Torric inn Björn’s Heraldic Templates was published in 1992 and is, as far as I know, the earliest collection of art distributed specifically to facilitate tracing in construction of society armory.

It has fallen out of circulation and was not been available online until now. Lord Torric has recently granted permission for this material to be re-published, for which he has my sincere thanks.

In addition to 45 pages of traceable art, Heraldic Templates also contains a ten-page glossary which contains many of the specialized terms used in society blazons, as well as defining the default position of many charges.

I have converted this document to a web-accessible format, but otherwise made only minor adjustments for clarity. Any typographic errors are my responsibility. Corrections would be welcome.

The article is over two decades old, and a few entries may be out of date due to more recent precedent-setting decisions by the College of Arms, but I think it remains useful to current practitioners as it’s more complete than most SCA-oriented glossaries.

Prudent readers may wish to cross-check material against other sources such as the SCA College of Arms’s Glossary of Terms, Parker’s A Glossary of Terms Used in Heraldry, and Bruce Draconarius’s Pictorial Dictionary of Heraldry.

— Mathghamhain Ua Ruadháin
January 2018

Default Positions

Abacus: Oriental version fesswise
Acorn: Stem to chief
Anchor: Timber to chief
Arch: Singular
Arm: Entire arm, couped below shoulder, unvested, clenched fist
Arrow: Palewise, point base
Arrowhead: Palewise, point base
Axe: Palewise, head to chief
Badger: Statant
Bag: Collapsed
Barnacles: Hinge to chief
Barrel: Fesswise
Bat: Displayed
Bell: Church bell
Bellows: Spout to base
Bird: Statant close
Bone: Human femur, palewise
Bow: Longbow, strung, palewise, string to sinister
Brooch: Closed
Brush: Tuft to chief
Bull: Passant
Burnisher: Head to chief
Caltrap: Point to chief
Candle: Palewise
Candlestick: Ornate column, spiked on top, palewise
Castle: Two towered
Cat: Domestic
Chair: Affronty
Cock: Statant close
Cockatrice: Statant, wings addorsed
Comet: estoile to chief
Compass: Points to base, & slightly spread
Compass Rose: North point to chief
Crampon: Palewise
Crane: In it’s vigilance
Crescent: Horns to chief
Crow: Statant close
Crown: Indented of three points
Cup: Mouth to chief (handle to sinister)
Cushion: Fesswise
Dolmen: Trilithon (two uprights & one crosspiece)
Dolphin: Naiant
Dove: Close
Dragon: Segreant (rampant), four legs
• Wyvern: Statant
Oriental Dragon: Wingless (no more than three toes, four toes are reserved for the King of Korea, & five for Emperor of China.)
Drop Spindle: Palewise
Drum: Palewise, head to chief
Eagle: Displayed
Eel: Wavy
Escallop: Hinge to chief
Eye: Human
Fan: Hand held spread
Fasces: Palewise
Feather: Goose shaped
Fer-a-loup: Cutting edge to base
Fetterlock: Open, bolt to base
Fireball: Spews four flames in cross, (Grenade – single flame to chief)
Flaunches: Always in pairs
Fleam: Blade to chief
Flower: Affronty
Flute: Transverse flute, affronty, finger holes affronty
Foil: Trefoil – slipped
Fork: Two tined
Frog: Tergiant
Furison: Fesswise, flat to base
Garb: Palewise, head to chief
Gate: Corral
Gittern-cittern: Affronty, four strings affronty, neck to chief
Goad: Palewise, point to chief
Gore: Issues from dexter
Griffin: Rampant, termed Segreant
Gyro: Issues from dexter chief
Hand: Human, dexter, apaumy & couped, unclothed
Handgun Rest: Palewise
Harp: Forepiller to dexter
Harpy: Close
Hautbois: Palewise, bell to base, fingerholes affronty
Head: Human, Men face dexter, others are affronty
Hedgehog: Statant
Helm: Great-Barrel, Viking & chapel-de-fer are affronty, all others face dexter
Hide: Laid flat, cowhide
Hoe: Palewise, blade to base
Horn: Musical, bell to dexter, embowed to base, Drinking Horn-bell to chief, Spiral Hunting Horn-bell to dexter
Horn: Animal, points to dexter
Horn of Plenty: “Effluent” to dexter
Horseshoe: Opening to base
Hourglass: Palewise
Humanoid Monsters: Only “Angel & Standing Seraph” have a default being affronty
Insect: Tergiant
Key: Palewise, wards to base
Knife: Palewise, point to chief
Kraken: Tentacles in chief
Krummfiorn: Mouthpiece to chief
Label: In chief, throughout, three points
Ladder: Palewise
Lamp: Handle to sinister
Lantern: Candle lit
Leaf: Elliptical shaped, stem to base
Leg: Human-toes to dexter, Jambes-erect, claws to chief, Humans & birds-foot down
Level: Triangular piece of wood surrounded by a plumb-line
Lion: Rampant, “Great Cats”-rampant
Lozenge: Axis palewise
Lure: Cord to chief
Lute: Affronty, pegbox to chief
Lyre: Arms pointing to chief
Mandrake: Affronty
Martlet: Close
Mask: Guar dant
Maunch: Wrist to dexter, elbow bent to base
Mermaid: Affronty
Merman: Affronty
Mirror: Handle to base
Mullet: A point to chief
Mushroom: Couped
Nail: Palewise, point to base
Net: Fisherman’s
Norse Beasts: Norse serpent nowed, Urnes style
Ostrich: Statant, close
Owl: Close, guardant
Panther: Guar dant
Pavilion: Door flaps face viewer, & are tied back
Peacock: Affronty, head to dexter, tail displayed
Pelican: Wings addorsed, piercing it’s breast
Pen: Palewise, point to base
Pheon: Point to base
Pheonix: Displayed, flamed
Pipe: Long stemmed clay
Pitcher: Spout to dexter
Pole-arm: Head to chief
Pole-cannon: Mouth to chief
Polygon: Point to chief
Popinjay: Close
Portcullis: Chains on either side hanging to base
Printer’s Ball: Handle to chief
Psaltry: Strings affronty
Quill of Yarn: Wound with yarn
Quiver: Palewise
Rainbow: Arc fesswise, embowed to chief, banded of four, with clouds
Ram: Battering- fesswise, head to dexter
Recorder: Alto, palewise, affronty, finger holes affronty
Ring: Gemstone to chief
Rivet: Pre-flattened, head to chief
Rocket: Skyrocket, point to chief
Sackbut: Palewise, bell to base
Saddle: Front faces dexter
Scabbard: Sword sheathed point to chief, empty or on a belt point to base
Scroll: When open palewise
Scythe: Blade to chief
Sea-horse: Erect
Sea-horse, Natural (Hippocampus): Naiant, erect with tail sufflexed
Sea-lion: Sejant
Sea-monster: Erect
Shave: Fesswise, edge to base
Shears: Points to chief
Shell: “Whelk”-opening to chief, “Snail shell”-opening to dexter
Ship: Face to dexter
Shoe: Toes to dexter
Shuttle: Fesswise
Sickle: Blade to chief, embowed to sinister
Silkie: Erect guardant
Sitar: Neck to chief
Skeleton: Statant affronty
Skull: Affronty
Sling: Hand, cup to base, thongs to chief
Slip: Couped, along with sprigs & branches
Snail: Faces dexter
Spade: Blade to base
Spear: Palewise, point to chief
Spiderweb: Throughout
Spinning Wheel: Spindle to sinister
Spoon: Affronty, bowl to chief
Spur: Profile, rowel to sinister
Squirrel: Sejant erect
Staff: Palewise
Staple: Points to base
Swan: Rousant or rising
Sword: Palewise, point to chief, edge to dexter, if single-edged
Tail: Erased, severed end to base
Thimble: Opens to base
Thistle: Profile
Thunderbolt: Pillar is palewise
Tongs: Handles to base
Tooth: “Fang”-point to base
Torch: Enflamed
Torque: Opening to base
Triquetra: Point to chief
Trowel: Handle to base, blade flat on to viewer
Trumpet: Bell to Chief
Turtle: Tergiant palewise
Tyger: Rampant
Unicorn: Rampant
Vair-bell: Point to chief
Viol: Neck to chief
Wagon: Faces dexter
Whip: Handle to base
Windmill: Sails set saltirewise
Wing: Feathered, when singular it is dexter, displayed, “vol”(conjoined) displayed
Winged Monsters: Eagle’s, rampant winged are “segreant”, statant or couchant are addorsed
Yoke: Fesswise
Zil: When in pairs, in pale, lower one inverted
Zither: Strings affronty


accorne: having horns or attires
acorned: bearing acorns
aqisle: having wings
a la cuisse: at the thigh
alcrion: without legs or beak
alise: rounded
annelled: ringed, e.g. a bull
annuletty: terminating in rings
armed: having teeth, talons, horns, or claws (beasts or wearing armor)
arrache: torn off
arrayed: richly apparelled
attired: having antlers
aulned: bearded (of corn)
banded: encircled with as band or ribbon
barbed: describing the head of an arrow or describing the sepals of a rose
barded: of a horse bridled, saddled & armored
beaked: describing the beak of a bird or monster
belled: having a bell or bells attached
blasted: of a tree without leaves
blemished: broken
bound: describing the cover of a book
bridled: having a bridle
bristled: having bristles (e.g. boar)
burgeonee: of a fleur-de-lis with ‘petals’ about to open like buds
cabled: having a chain or rope attached
caparisoned: of a horse barded & covered by an armorial or ornamental cloth
chained: being possessed of a chain
clasped: describing the clasp of a book
coded: having a scrotum of a different color
collared: having a plain collar
combed: describing the crest of a cock
complement, in her: descriptive of the moon when full
corded: tied with a cord
crested: combed (cock)
crined: describing hair or a mane
crowned: having a crown
couped: cut short by a straight horizontal line
eloped close: cut short by a straight vertical line
cuffed: having cuffs
dechausse: dismembered
defamed: having no tail
demi: only upper half depicted
dented: having teeth of a different color
disarmed: without claws, beak, horns, etc.
dismembered: of a beast with head, paws & tail separated from body
doubled: having the lining turned up
double-headed: having two heads
edged: describing the surface formed by the closed pages of a book
embattled: having crenellations
embrued: spattered or dripping with blood
enflamed: flaming
enraged: having tongue & claws of a specific tincture
en soleil: surrounded by rays of the sun
equipped: fully armed
eradicated: uprooted
eased: torn off in a horizontal plane leaving a ragged edge
erased close: torn off in a vertical plane leaving a ragged edge
eyed: having eyes of a specific color
feathered: describing an arrow
figured: having a human face
finned: having fins of a specific color
fired: ignited
flamant: in flames
flighted: describing an arrow
fluted: of a pillar
foliated: having leaves
fourche: forked, e.g. of a tail
fracted: broken
fringed: having a fringe
fructed: bearing fruit
fumant: emitting smoke
furnished: a horse caparisoned
garnished: adorned, decorated
gemmed: having or describing a precious
glory, in his: descriptive of the sun when depicted in full
gorged: encircled about the throat with, e.g. a crown
gringoly: embellished with serpents’ heads
guarded: having the lining turned up
habited: clothed
hafted: describing the handles of tools & weapons
helmed: wearing a helmet
hilted: describing the handle & guard of a weapon
hooded: of a hunting bird when hooded
horned: describing horns
imbrued: spattering or dripping with blood
incensed: having flames issuing from mouth & ears
inflamed: in flames
irradiated: surrounded by rays of light
jelloped: having wattles (of a cock)
jessant: emerging, springing forth
jessed: having thongs attached (e.g. falcon)
langued: describing the tongue of a creature
leathered: describing the cover of a book
leaved: having leaves
legged: describing legs, usually of a bird
lined: having an inside lining or having cords or chains attached
maned: having a mane of a different color
masoned: describing the cement of brickwork or other
membered: describing the legs of a bird or griffin
mutile: dismembered
muzzled: having a muzzle
nimbed: encircled with a nimbus
pierced: perforated
pizzled: having a penis of a different color
plentitude, in her: descriptive of the moon when full
plumed: having a plume of feathers
polled: having the horns remove
pommelled: describing the pommel of a weapon
purfled: decorated (of material)
queued: tailed
queu fourche: the tail of a beast divided at it’s mid point
quilled: describing the quill of an ostrich feather
rayed: having rays
rebated: cut short
replenished: filled
ringed: having a ring, e.g. that in a bull’s nose
rompu: broken
sans wings: without wings: descriptive only of creatures who are normally possessed of wings
sangliant: blood-stained
seeded: having seed vessels (of flowers)
sexed: having genitals of a different color
shafted: of the shaft of a weapon
slipped: having a stalk (of a leaf, flower or twig
splendour, in his: descriptive of the sun when depicted in full
spurred: having spurs (of a cock)
steeled: being of steel
stringed: having a string or strings
studded: having studs
sur le tout: over all
tasselled: having tassels
towered: having towers
tufted: having tufts of hair on tail, limbs, etc. (of beasts)
unguled: describing the hooves of animals
vambraced: wearing armor (of an arm) having a veil
vervelled: having thongs with rings attached (of hawks etc.)
vested: clothed (usually of vestments)
viroled: having decorative bands
voided: of a charge, the center of which is removed to reveal the field or another tincture
voluted: encircled
vulned: wounded
winged: having wings, descriptive only of creatures who would not normally be possessed of wings
wattled: of the wattles of a cock
wreathed: ‘wreathed about’, encircled by, e.g. a garland


aboute: end to end
addorsed: back to back
affronty: head & body facing observer
appaume: hand or gauntlet open showing palm
arched: bent in the form of an arch
ascending: of a bird taking flight
assurgant: rising from, e.g. the sea
at gaze: of a stag standing with head facing observer
at speed: of a stag courant
aversant: clenched benediction, in a hand raised with first & second fingers erect
bicorporate: lion combatant sharing the same head
braced: interlaced
caboshed: an animal’s head affronty & cut off with no part of the neck showing (not lions, leopards or panthers, to which the term ‘face’ applies)
chase, in full: of a hound in pursuit
clenched: a closed gauntlet
climant: a goat rampant
close: of a bird with the wings close to the body or a bascinet with the vizor closed
coiled: of a snake, head erect
combatant: two rampant beasts facing one another
contourne: reversed to face the sinister
conjoined: joined together
couchant: beast laying down, head erect
counter-: prefix meaning opposite
courant: running at speed
coward or cowed: the tail between the legs
debruised: overlaid
displayed: with wings expanded — ‘spreadeagled’
distilling: shedding drops of
dormant: laying down, as asleep
elevated: pointing upwards
embowed: curved & bent
encircled: of a serpent when coiled
enfile: passing through
enhanced: raised above normal position
ensigned: having a charge placed above, e.g. a crown
entoured: surrounded by
environed: encircled by
erect: upright (applied only to charges which are not normally so depicted, & to beasts such as the wyvern which have no hind legs)
extended: of a tail when held in a horizontal position
flexed: bent or bowed
flotant: floating (of flags & ships)
forcene: a rearing horse with both hind hooves on the ground
glissant: of a snake when gliding
guardant: head turned to face the observer
hauriant: of a fish, head upwards
inverted: downwards, inverted
involved: encircled
issuant: emerging from behind or proceeding from
lodged: of a stag when couchant
lure, in: two wings joined, the tips upward
naiant: swimming
naissant: emerging from the midst of
rowed: knotted
open: of a book
oppressed: overlaid
overt: open (of wings)
passant: 3 legs down, the 4th extended
pendent: hanging from
perched: of a bird when standing on an object
piety, in it’s: of a pelican when wounding it’s breast with it’s beak & nourishing it’s young with blood
preying: devouring prey
pride, in it’s: of a peacock (or turkey) affronty with tail displayed
raised: of a portcullis, only the lower portion showing within the gateway
rampant: standing on 1 leg with other 3 splayed
reflexed: curved backwards
regardant: a beast looking over it’s shoulder
respectant: of beasts facing each other
rising: of a bird about to take wing
salient: leaping hind feet on ground
segreant: of a griffin when rampant
sejant: of a beast sitting
shut: of a book when closed
soaring: flying upwards
spancelled: fettered (of a horse)
springing: of a deer having both hind hooves on the ground, the forelegs raised & bent
statant: standing all 4 feet on ground
stooping: of a bird of prey swooping on it’s quarry
suppressed: overlaid
transfixed: pierced
transfluent: water flowing through or beneath
traversed: facing the sinister
tricorporate: 3 beasts pallwise sharing the same head
trippant: a walking stag
trotting: of a horse
trussed: of wings when folded
trussing: of birds when devouring prey
uriant: of a fish when diving
veneration, in: kneeling as if in prayer
vigilance, in it’s: of a crane when standing on one leg & holding a stone in the other
vol, a: 2 wings conjoined
volant: flying horizontally
vorant: devouring
vulning: wounding to produce blood