Heraldic Symbols

There’s all kinds of heraldic symbols, with specific meanings, that could be chosen for your Victorian Cake Pulls.

Scotland is so closely connected with water ~ the seas, lochs, and rivers. Maritime symbols abound in the symbolism. Fish, ships, anchors, otters, seals, and seahorses.

All kinds of animals abound, as heraldic symbols ~ the ant, antelope, antlers, ass/donkey, bear, beaver, bee, and boar just begin the list of animal symbols. Fish and birds are the animals found most often as symbols, or charges.

Weapons played a very important role in Medieval heraldry…and in the Scots defending themselves and their lands ~ arrows, battleaxe, halberts to spur rowels, spears, and swords are all heraldic symbols.

So far, I’ve located over 800 heraldic symbols, including 230 crosses, and their meanings.

Heraldic Symbols and Their Meanings ~

A ~ B ~ C ~ D ~ E ~ F ~ G ~ H ~ I ~ J ~ K ~ L ~ M ~

N ~ O ~ P ~ Q ~ R ~ S ~ T ~ U ~ V ~ W ~ X ~ Y ~ Z ~


A ~ Heraldic Symbols

  • Acacia branch or leaves ~ eternal and affectionate remembrance

  • Acorn ~ antiquity and strength

  • Agricultural tools ~ labouring in the earth

  • Allerion ~ see Birds

  • Alligator ~ guardian of great treasure


    Image courtesy Wikipedia


  • Alpaca [Pago] ~ Titus Salt of Crow Nest had an alpaca standing on a rock on his crest. As yet, a rendition of this crest has not been located.

  • Anchor ~ hope, religious steadfastness, succor in extremity, the Christian symbol of hope

  • Angels ~ dignity, glory, honour, bearer of joyful news, missionary

  • Angles ~ meaning uncertain


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Annulet [small ring or ring finger, 5th son] ~ fidelity

  • Ant ~ great labour, wisdom, providence in one's affairs

  • Antelope, Heraldic [mythical creature with body of a stag, tail of a unicorn, tusk at the tip of the nose, tufts down the back of the neck, chest, and thighs] ~ meaning not found


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Antler ~ strength and fortitude

  • Anvil ~ honour, smith's trade

  • Apple ~ liberality, felicity, peace

  • Arm or Hand

    in Armour or Embowed [bent] ~ a person with qualities of leadership

    Naked ~ a laborious and industrious person

  • Arrow ~ readiness for battle, or if with a cross, affliction

  • Arrowhead - Martial readiness

  • Ash [Mountain Ash, Rowan] Clan plant for Clans Mac Callum, Mac Lachlan, Malcolm, and Scrimgeour

    Ashen Keys ~ the berries


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Ass ~ patience, humility

  • Axe ~ execution of military duty
~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


B ~ Heraldic Symbols

  • Bagpipes ~ festivity and rejoicing


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Baguette [thin, half-round molding, sometimes carved, and enriched with foliage, pearls, ribbands, laurels. When enriched with ornaments, it was also called a chapelet] ~ fidelity

  • Banderole [a long narrow forked flag or streamer] ~ refers to a special action wherein the bearer was captured or rewarded for valiant service

  • Banner ~ refers to a special action wherein the bearer was captured or rewarded for valiant service

  • Bar [horizontal stripe] ~ one who sets the bar of conscience, religion, and honour against angry passions and evil temptations

  • Barrel [Barillet if small, Hogshead, Tonneau, Tub, Tun. Hogshead, barrels, tub drawn upright. Tun, barillet, tonneau drawn horizontal.


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Barry [field is horizontally divided into a certain even number of equal parts] ~ one who sets the bar of conscience, religion, and hounour against angry passions and evil temptations

    Wavy [wavy barry] ~ troubles keep us in continuous exercise and reminders of providence, as saves in a storm at sea

  • Barrulet [horizontally divided into ten or any higher even number of equal parts] ~ one who sets the bar of conscience, religion, and hounour against angry passions and evil temptations

  • Bat ~ awareness of the powers of darkness and chaos

  • Baton ~ token of authority

  • Battle Axe ~ execution of military duty

  • Battune Sinister ~ marks a royal descent that is barred by illegitimacy from succession to the throne

  • Bay leaves ~ poet or victor's laurels

  • Beacon ~ one who is watchful or who gave the signal in time of danger

  • Bear ~ strength, cunning, ferocity in the protection of one's kindred

  • Beaver ~ industry and perseverance

  • Bee ~ efficient industry, well-governed industry


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Bell ~ denotes one who was not afraid of signalling his approach in peace or war

  • Bend [one diagonal stripe] ~ defense or protection

  • Bendlet [multiple bends or stripes] ~ defense or protection

  • Bendy [one diagonal stripe] ~ defense or protection

  • Berries ~ liberality, felicity, peace

  • Bezant [Byzantine Coin, Gold Roundle] ~ worthy of trust of treasure

  • Billet ~ bricks or letters or correspondence, one who obtained credence, knowledge, and faith in his words and deeds, one who is secret in one's affairs.

  • Billettee [at least ten billets in a bar] ~ bricks or letters or correspondence, one who obtained credence, knowledge, and faith in his words and deeds, one who is secret in one's affairs.

    ~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


  • Birds [one of the more popular heraldic symbols] ~ in any tincture, the peace and affection of home and family.
  • Allerion [eagle without beak or claws, wings expanded with points turned downward] ~ one who has been maimed and lamed in war, preventing them from fully asserting their power, a vanquished and disarmed imperialist


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Cock [male bird] ~ courage and perseverance, hero, able man in politics,always ready for battle, ready to fight to the death

  • Cormorant ~ meaning uncertain


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Cornish Chough [like a crow, but with red legs, feet and beak] ~ a strategist in battle, watchful for friends and divine providence


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Crane ~ close parental bond, if holding a rock, vigilance

  • Crow [Crough] ~ strategist in battle, watchfulness for friend, divine providence, a settled habitation and a quiet life

  • Cynget [young swan] ~ where gorged with a crown around it's neck, dignity

  • Dove ~ loving constancy and peace, The Holy Spirit
    with an olive branch in its bill, it signifies a harbinger of good tidings


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Duck ~ a man of many resources

    ~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


  • Eagle ~ signifies a man of action, speedy in apprehension, alertness, quick-witted, strength, bravery, ever more occupied in high and weighty affairs, of lofty or noble spirit, ingenious, judicious in matters of ambiguity, "True magnanimity and strength of mind"

    Wings displayed ~ protection


    Image courtesy James Parker


    Double ~ 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

    Two heads ~ conjoining of two forces


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Falcon [Latin 'falx', meaning sickle, referring to the wing shape in flight] ~ majesty, power, bravery, foresightedness, leadership, eager, in hot pursuit of a much desired object, one who doesn't rest until the objective is achieved


    Image courtesy James Parker


    Seated on rest or perch ~ bearer is ready and serviceable for high affairs

    ~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


  • Flamingo ~ meaning uncertain


    Image courtesy Wikipedia


  • Gannet [a duck without beak and feet] ~ prompt and ready in the dispatch of his business, one who has to subsist by the wings of his virtue and merit being unable to rest on land


    Image courtesy Wikipedia


  • Goose ~ a man of many resources, resourcefulness


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Hawk ~ one eager or hot in the pursuit of an object much desired, one who does not rest until objective achieved

  • Kestrel [Sparrow Hawk, Winhover] ~ from the Latin 'crepitare', meaning to crackle, winhover from how it hovers with it[s head to the wind, recognizes and acts on life's opportunities at the precise and correct moment, like the kestrel hunting it's prey

  • Kingfisher [Halycon ~ peace, prosperity, abundance, warmth, love about to unfold. From Greek myuthology, Alcyone, daughter of the king of the winds, found her husband drowned and cast herself into the sea. For her devotion the gods turned her into a kingfisher. They also forbade the winds to blow for seven days before and after the winter solstice, when the kingfisher lays it's eggs ~ known as the 'Halycon Days'

  • Kite [Milvus from mollis volalutu, meaning weak in flight because it glides] ~ those who are tempted by effete pleasures, sharp vision, to accomplish a great deal with little effort

  • Lapwing [Pewit, Tyrwhitt, Huppe, Sea-pye] ~ sincerity, perfection


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Lark ~ meaning uncertain

  • Magpie [Pie] ~ associated with fairy revels in Celtic lore

    ~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


  • Martlet [footless swallow, 4th son] ~ in cadency, the fourth son, mark of difference, may signify one who has to subsist by virtue and merit, not inheritance


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Mew [seagull] ~ its sound guides the lost sailor, indicating land was near, hope

  • Moor Cock [grouse] ~ the law or the legal profession


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Moor Fowl [grouse] ~ the law or the legal profession

  • Ostrich ~ willing obedience and serenity

  • Owl ~ one who is vigilant and of acute wit

  • Parakeet, Parrakeet, Paraquet [A small sort of parrot] ~ meaning uncertain

  • Parrot [Poppinjay, Popegay, Papagallo] ~ may signify distinguished service in a tropical country, Egyptian symbol of wisdom and of good counsel

  • Partridge [game bird] ~ meaning uncertain

  • Peacock ~ it was once believed a peacock's flesh wouldn't decay, thus it came to symbolize resurrection and immortality, as well as beauty, pride of carriage, power, and knowledge.

    With tail expanded ~ pride of carriage
    Feather ~ beauty, pride of carriage, power, and knowledge

    This example is the Arbuthnot of Kitttybrewster Coat of Arms.


    Image courtesy Wikipedia


    ~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


  • Pelican ~ piety, devoted and self-sacrificing, charitable nature

    When feeding her young (in her piety) symbolizes the duties of a parent or parental love


    Image courtesy Fleur de Lis Designs



    Image courtesy Flicker, photographer Mike Young


  • Pheasant ~ an alert individual of many resources


    Image courtesy Somewhere in Tyme


  • Phoenix ~ resurrection


    Image courtesy Somewhere in Tyme


  • Pigeon ~ one who is virtuous, peace and wisdom

  • Poppinjay [parrot, papagallo] ~ see parrot

  • Puffin [Sea-Parrot] ~ family and consummate provider

  • Pyncheon [goldfinch] ~ meaning not found

  • Raven ~ as the raven collects bright objects, it symbolizes knowledge, also Divine Providence, and one who has become the architect of his own fortunes, a nature of enduring constancy


    Image courtesy Somewhere in Tyme


  • Starling [small, aggressive blackbird with triangular wings] ~ small star, warriors. Legend tells of Branwen, a Welsh princess mistreated by her Irish husband. Branwen trained a starling, who took a message of her plight to Bran, her brother in Wales. A great war followed. The Welsh were basically wiped out.

    ~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


  • Stork [avid foe of snakes] ~ fertility, springtime, birth; gratitude, close parental bond and filial duty as they supposedly feed their elderly parents; chastity, contemplation, immortality, longevity, meditation, piety, prudence, and vigilance; a grateful man

    Holding a rock ~ vigilance


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Swallow [in Scandinavia, they believe a swallow hovered over the cross of Christ crying 'Svala! Svala!, which means console. Thus it came to be called scalow, the bird of consolation. In Roman households, the swallow was sacred. To injure one would bring wrath on the house] ~ consolation, Spring, abundant harvest, happiness, good news, prompt in business


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Swan [male ~ cob, female ~ pen, young ~ cynget, associated erotically with Aphrodite and Venus; believed to only sing just before it's death, thus the saying 'swan song'] ~ as a swan song it symbolizes music and poetry, particularly it it's divinely inspired, tragic, or passionate. The beauty and roundness of it's body symbolizes feminine grace and beauty. Learning, a lover of poetry and harmony, light, love, grace, sincerity, perfection.

    With fish in mouth ~ the Devil snatching up and consuming unwary Christians

    Two swans with necks entwined ~ lovers or friends united in companionship


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Teal Duck ~ person of many resources, also see Teal Duck Cross

  • Tern [Graceful gull] ~ a sign of Spring, optimism, hope of a bountiful harvest

  • Thrush, Throstle [Concert singer due to wide range of songs] ~ lover of music, concord, solitude, poetry, poet, as thrush means to utter sounds and to wirte poems

  • Vulture ~ purification and maternity, in Christianity virginity, also death to ones enemies.


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Wren ~ freedom
  • ~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


  • Birdbolt [small arrow with a blunt head] ~ readiness for battle


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Bird's Claw ~ the'preyer' has been preyed upon or become the 'preyee'

  • Bishop's Mitre [crown, headpiece] ~ authority

  • Blackamoor Head ~ see Head

  • Bloodhound ~ meaning uncertain


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Blue Bottle [blue flower] ~ hope and joy


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Boar ~ bravery, 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


    Boar's Head ~ hospitality

  • Bonacon [bull with horse's tail and short mane] ~ no meaning found

  • Bomb [mortar piece] ~ one who has dared the terror of such a weapon in battle

  • Bones [cross thighbones] ~ mortality

  • Book ~ if open manifestation, if closed counsel

  • Border, Bordure ~ difference between relatives bearing the same arms, an augmentation of an honour

  • Bougets, Water ~ see Water Bougets

  • Bourdon [pilgrim's or palmer's staff, a walking staff with a hook to hang things on] ~ none

  • Bow ~ readiness for battle

  • Bow and Arrow ~ war, power, ability to hit a target

  • Braced [buttressed] ~ interlaced


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Bracket [single, double, right-angle as in a shelf support] ~ part of heraldic shield

  • Bridge ~ governor or magistrate

  • Broom Plant ~ humility


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Buck ~ one who will not fight unless provoked; peace and harmony, policy

  • Buckle [fermail]~ victorious fidelity in authority

  • Buffalo ~ valor and magnanimity, bravery, generosity

  • Buglass [purple quatrefoil] ~ hope and joy

  • Bull ~ valor and magnanimity, bravery, generosity

    Bull's Head ~ valor and magnanimity, bravery, generosity

    Bull's Horns ~ strength and fortitude

  • Butterfly ~ freedom, frivolity, the soul's ascent to immortality

  • Butterfly ~ freedom, frivolity, the soul's ascent to immortality


    Image courtesy Heraldica


~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


C ~ Heraldic Symbols

  • Cabled [a twisted rope pattern, or the rope cable on an anchor]
  • Cadences [marks of cadences] ~ used to differentiate the heirs in a family, designates the first through ninth born sons


    Image courtesy James Parker


    First son ~ Label of 3 points
    Second son ~ Crescent
    Third son ~ Mullet
    Fourth son ~ Martlet
    Fifth son ~ Annulet
    Sixth son ~ Fleur-de-lis
    Seventh son ~ Rose


    Image courtesy James Parker


    Eighth son ~ Cross Moline


    Image courtesy James Parker


    Ninth son ~ Eightfoil or Huitfoil


    Image courtesy Fleur de Lis Designs


  • Caduceus ~ homeopathic medicine, medical profession; balance and the union of opposing forces

  • Calamine Stone ~ meaning uncertain


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Caltrap [jack rock, star nail, crow's foot or partisan nails, weapon of two sharp mails or spines arranges so that one is them is always pointing upward from a stable base] ~ meaning not found

  • Camel ~ docility, patience, indefatigable perseverance

  • Cameleon


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Candle ~ light, life, and spirituality

  • Cannon ~ one who has dared the terror of such a weapon in sieges and battles

    Cannon balls ~ one who has dared the terror of such a weapon in sieges and battles

  • Canton [upper left part of the shield] ~ bearing of honor, as in a flag borne at the top corner of the shield, reward from the sovereign for performance of eminent service

  • Cap of Maintenance [Cap of Dignity, Chapeau] ~ usually red velvet turne dup with ermine spots. First used by dukes, called duciper, also granted British peers and Scottish feudal barons. Often used in place of a wreath in a crest.

    ~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


  • Carnation ~ admiration

  • Carpenter's Square ~ conforming one's actions to the laws of right and equity

  • Cartouche [oval] ~ meaning not found

  • Castle ~ grandeur and solidity, safety, sometimes granted to one who has held one for his king, or who has captured one by force or stratagem

  • Cat ~ liberty, vigilance, forecast, courage

    Cat-A-Mountain [puma, mountain lion] ~ liberty, vigilance, forecast and courage

  • Catherine's Wheel ~ one prepared to undergo great trials for the Christian faith
    [see blog in August 2008 for more complete information]


    Image courtesy Wikipedia


  • Centaur [half man and half horse] ~ eminence in the field of battle

  • Chain ~ reward for acceptable and weighty service
    With crowns and collars suggests the bearer bore the chain of obligation or obliged others because of service done

  • Chapeau ~ granted British peers and Scottish barons

  • Chaplet [narrow crown] ~ Granted for special service
    Floral [wreath with green leaves and four roses] ~ the crown of joy and admiration

  • Chapelet [half-round molding, enriched with foliage, pearls, ribbands, or laurels] ~ fidelity

  • Chareau [description not found] ~ safety

  • Chequy [checkered, checky, checquer] ~ constancy

  • Cherubim [angels ranked just below seraphim] ~ dignity, glory, honour, missionary, bearer of joyful news

  • Cherubs [an infant's heads between a pair of wings] ~ dignity, glory, honour; missionary, bearer of joyful news

  • Chess Rock, Chess Rook ~ strategic thinking


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Chevron [inverted 'V'] ~ protection, builders or others who have accomplished some work of faithful service


    Image courtesy Blogspot


  • Chief [top one-third of the shield] ~ dominion and authority, often granted as a special reward for prudence and wisdom or successful command in war

    ~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


  • Chimney Sweep ~ meaning uncertain, good luck to see when bride traveling to her wedding


    Image courtesy CRW Flags


  • Chough [Cornish crow] ~ see Birds, Cornish Chough

  • Church ~ religion, faith, community

  • Cinquefoils [five-petaled blossom] ~ hope and joy

  • Clarion [medieval brass instrument with a clear shrill tone, also called a rest] ~ ready for war


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Claw of a bird ~ note that the'preyer' has been preyed upon or become the 'preyee'

  • Clouds ~ mystery, obscured truth

  • Cochlea [inner ear] ~ meaning uncertain


    Image courtesy Royal Heraldry Society of Canada


  • Cock [male bird] ~ see Birds

  • Cockatrice [small serpent with a rooster's head, two legs like an eagle's or dragon's, dragon's wings, and a serpent's tail] ~ terror to all beholders


    Image courtesy Wikipedia


    This beauty sits in the Belvedere Castle in New York's Central Park. It's cast of bronze and sits over a stained glass transom window.

  • Cod fish ~ see Fish

    ~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


  • Coin ~ meaning uncertain


    Image courtesy Wikipedia


  • Collar ~ if a coronet it's called gorged

  • Columbine [aquilegia vulgaris] ~ the most popular flower used in heraldry


    Image courtesy James Parker



    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Column ~ fortitude and constancy, with a serpent coiled around it ~ wisdom with fortitude

  • Compass ~ direction

  • Compony [small squares of two colors alternating in one row, same as gobbon] ~ constancy

  • Conie [rabbit] ~ one who enjoys a peaceable and retired life

  • Cormorant ~ see Birds

  • Cornet [horn, similar to cornucopia] ~ meaning not found

  • Cornish Chough ~ see Birds

  • Cornucopia [horn of plenty] ~ the bounty of nature's gifts


    Image courtesy Fleur de Lis Designs


    ~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


  • Cottice [thin stripes on both side of a bend or bendlets] ~ scarf or shield suspender of a knight commander, signifies defense or protection
    Cottisé with French Heralds describes a field covered with ten or more cottices of alternate colours
  • Coupeaux [rounded terrace at base of the shield, usually three hills] ~ meaning not found, may be purely an artistic device

  • Crab ~ see Fish

  • Crane ~ see Birds

  • Crescent [also called horns to the chief, 2nd son] ~ signifies one who has been enlightened and honored by the gracious aspect of his sovereign, hopes of greater glory

    Used by the ancient Turks, introduced into heraldry by the crusaders, popularly seen on heraldry from Henry III's reign and beyond


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Cresset [an iron cage or trivet, containing blazing material, placed upon a lofty pole served to guide travellers or to alarm the neighbourhood in case of an invasion or rebellion] ~ one who is watchful for the commonwealth or who gave the signal in time of danger

  • Crocodile ~ guardian of great treasure

  • Crook, Sheperd's ~ see Shepherds Crook

  • Crosier [pastoral staff with a rounded top and no hook] ~ the shepherd's watchfulness, Christian faith, pastoral authority, Episcopal jurisdiction and authority

  • Cross ~ go to Heraldic Crosses to view over 100 different crosses used in heraldry.

  • Crow [Crough] ~ see Birds

  • Crown ~ royal or seigniorial authority
    Celestial Crown ~ heavenly reward


    Image courtesy Charles Boutell


    Crown, Mural ~ defender of a fortress, token of civic honour, one who first mounted the breach in the walls of a fortress

    Crown, Naval ~ one who first boarded an enemy's ship, distinguished naval commander


    Image courtesy Charles Boutell


    Crown of thorns ~ adversity

  • Crutch Staff [Pilgrim's Crutch or walking stick with 'T' crosspiece in place of the shepherd's crook] ~ the shepherd's watchfulness, Christian faith, pastoral authority, also may refer to early pilgrimages to Jerusalem

  • Cubes ~ constancy, wisdom, verity probity, and equity

  • Cup [often covered] ~ office of the king's butler

  • Cushion ~ authority

  • Cutlass [a sailor's sword] ~ warrior of the sea

  • Cynget [young swan] ~ see Birds

  • Cypress Tree ~ death and eternal life thereafter
~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


D ~ Heraldic Symbols

  • Dagger ~ indicates the bearer to a just and generous pursuit of honor and virtue in warlike deeds, justice and/or military honour

  • Dancetté, Dancetty, Dantelly, Denché ~ a zigzag line of partition, differing from indented only in the indentations are larger and have fewer teeth
    Dancetty Per Long ~ signifying that the indentations are very deep

  • Dart ~ indicates the bearer to a just and generous pursuit of honor and virtue in warlike deeds, justice and/or military honour, readiness for battle, or if with a cross, affliction

  • Dawle [black quatrefoil] ~ hope and joy

  • Decrescent [crescent with horns to the sinister] ~ one who has been honored by the sovereign, hope of greater glory


    Image courtesy Fleur de Lis Designs


  • Deer ~ policy, peace, harmony, one who will not fight unless provoked

  • Dice ~ constancy, wisdom, equity, integrity, ethical truth

  • Diploma ~ possible reference to academic or scholarly achievement

  • Dog ~ courage, vigilance, loyalty


    Image courtesy James Parker

    This bloodhound sits passant ~ a profile view, if his head were turned toward us he would be passant gardant

  • Dolphin ~ see fish

  • Dove ~ see Birds

  • Dragon ~ valour, protection, a most valiant defender of treasure

  • Drops [Gouttee] ~ one who has endured torrents of liquids, as in battle, depending upon the color of the liquid


    Image courtesy James Parker


    Black ~ pitch or tar
    Blue ~ tears
    Green ~ oil
    Red ~ blood
    White ~ water
    Yellow ~ gold

  • Drum ~ ready for war

  • Duck ~ see Birds

  • Dugg [the nipple on a female breast, Swedish dagga, Danish daegge, meaning to suckle] ~ the Dodge family arms depict a woman's breast distilling drops of milk. At one time, this symbol even appeared on Dodge cars.


    Image courtesy Cheshire Heraldry


~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


E ~ Heraldic Symbols

  • Eagle ~ see Birds

  • Elephant ~ courage, great strength, wit, longevity, happiness, royalty, dignity, good luck, ambition, patience, wisdom


    Image courtesy Heraldica


    Tusks ~ see Proboscides

  • Enfield [an object, as the head of a man or beast or a crown impaled upon a sword or key] ~ meaning not found

  • Enfiled [mythical beast] ~ said to have protected fallen chieftains' bodies for proper burial

  • Ermine Spot [hermine, moucheture, mouchetor, when only space for a few, the term 'spotted' is used, most frequently used fur in heraldry] ~ mark of dignity


    Image courtesy Wikipedia



    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Escallop ~ see Scallop

  • Escarbuncle [deep-red cabochon-cut garnet cut without facets] ~ supremacy


    Image courtesy James Parker



    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Escutcheon [small shield, alone, with no charges ~ defense

  • Escutcheon of Pretence [small shield in center of primary shield] ~ claim of a prince to sovereignty; or marriage to an heiress of the family

  • Estoile [star with six wavy points, cadency mark of third son] ~ emblems of God's goodness, a noble person, denotes some divine quality bestowed from above, celestial goodness

  • Ewe ~ gentleness and patience under suffering

  • Eye ~ providence in Government


    Image courtesy Wikipedia


~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


F ~ Heraldic Symbols

  • Falcon ~ see Birds

  • Falcons Bells [see hawk's bells] ~ one who feared not to signal his approach in either peace or war

  • Fasces [a bundle or rods tied together around an axe, with the blade projecting out appearing on the reverse side of the U.S. Liberty-head dime] ~ magistrate's authority and the judiciary

  • Feathers (usually ostrich) ~ willing obedience and serenity
    Pyramid of feathers


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Fer de moline [center of the millstone, by which it is turned, also see Cross Molene] ~ the mutual converse of human society


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Fess, Fesse [a broad horizontal band across a shield] ~ military belt or girdle of honour, represents readiness to serve the public

  • Fetterlock [Shacklebolt, a device used to hobble horses] ~ victory, one who has taken prisoners or rescued prisoners of war


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Fife ~ ready for war

  • Fig ~ meaning uncertain


    Image courtesy New Gaso


  • Finger, pointing ~ direction, correct route

  • Fire ~ zeal

  • Fireball ~


    Image courtesy James Parker


    ~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


  • Fish [mostly occur in punning arms, very popular among the heraldic symbols] ~ a true and generous mind, virtuous for oneself but not because of heritage, unity with Christ, spiritual nourishment
    Barbel ~


    Image courtesy Charles Boutell


    Bass ~

    Bret ~ see Turbo

    Birt ~ see Turbo

    Burbot

    Butt [in Yarmouth] ~ see Turbo

    Carp [Mogul] ~ dignity, youth, bravery, perseverance, strength

    Carter [in Cornwall] ~ see Turbo

    Cod ~ Haddock, Hake, Ling, Merlucius, Pike of the sea, Whiting in same family

    Coney

    Crab ~ great strength and power in gripping

    Dolphin [in heraldry, scaled, bright colors or green and red] ~ charity and a kind affection towards children, swiftness, diligence, salvation. In ancient heraldry, considered the chief of fish.


    Image courtesy Charles Boutell


    The term ‘Conché’ refers to a dolphin curved around with the head nearly touching the tail, like a spiral Conch shell


    Image courtesy Heraldica


    Eel ~ meaning uncertain


    Image courtesy New Gaso


    Eperlan ~ see Sparling

    Flook [in Scotland] ~ see Turbo

    Flounder ~ see Turbo

    Flying ~


    Image courtesy James Parker


    Ged ~ see Pike

    Grayling ~ see Sparling

    Haddock ~ see Cod


    Image courtesy James Parker


    Hake ~ see Cod

    ~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


    Herring [also regionally called sprat, garvin, spalding, pilchard, pelzer, pilchardus]


    Image courtesy James Parker


    Ling ~ see Cod


    Image courtesy James Parker


    Lobster ~


    Image courtesy James Parker


    Luce or Lucy ~ see Pike



    Image courtesy Charles Boutell


    Merlucius ~ see Cod

    Ombre ~ see Sparling

    Pike ~ Lucy, Luce, Ged


    Image courtesy James Parker


    Pike of the sea ~ see Cod

    Salmon ~ wisdom, knowledge, strength, beauty, due to the mysterious return to their birthplace ~ eternity


    Image courtesy James Parker


    Legend tells their knowledge comes from eating the red hazel nuts of wisdom that fell into the water, thus the red spots on their belly. Salmon is a Royal Fish. Salmon fishing rights are retained and dispensed by the Crown.


    ~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


    Shark ~ meaning uncertain

    Shrimp ~ [Prawns, Old Men of the Sea as their long antennae and curved spine resemble old men] ~ long life, with the prayer that one might live long enough for their spine to curve like a shrimp

    Sole ~ used in English heraldry for the name only
    br>

    Image courtesy James Parker


    Sparling [Scottish name for eperlan, grayling] ~ ombre, smelt, a small fish

    Sturgeon [Royal fish, served on a bed or roses by the Romans, symbol of Aphrodite, all sturgeon were the property of the king and either the fish or its value had to be paid if a sturgeon was caught] ~ longevity, permanence, stability, Royal favor

    Trout [truite] ~ drawing very similar to salmon]



    Image courtesy James Parker


    Turbo, Turbot ~ Birt, Bret, Butt, Carter, Flook, Flounder, Fluke, used in English heraldry for the name


    Image courtesy James Parker


    demi-turbot erect tail upwards


    Image courtesy James Parker


    Vorant ~ one fish, particularly a dolphin, swallowing another whole fish, also engoulant or ingullant

    Whale ~ legend tells that the whale was sometimes mistaken for an island and ships would anchor to it. When the whale dove, the ship would be dragged down into the sea and destroyed. So the whale evolved into a symbol of the devil and it's open mouth signified the 'Gates of Hell'.


    Image courtesy James Parker


    Whiting ~ see Cod
    ~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


  • Flag ~ refers to special action in which bearer was captured, or a reward for valiant service

  • Flamingo ~ see Birds

  • Flance [semicircles protruding into the field from the sides of the shield] ~ given by a king for virtue and learning

  • Flanch [semicircles protruding into the field from the sides of the shield] ~ given by a king for virtue and learning

  • Flasque [semicircles protruding into the field from the sides of the shield] ~ given by a king for virtue and learning, and especially for service in embassage

  • Flaunch [semicircles protruding into the field from the sides of the shield] ~ given by a king for virtue and learning

  • Fleam


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Fleece, Lamb's ~ ancient honour from the knightly order of the Fleece of Gold

  • Fleur-de-lis [6th son] ~ purity, light, floral badge of France

  • Flint stone ~ readiness for zealous service

  • Flowers ~ hope and joy [MAKE ONE CATEGORYsee separate page]

  • Foot ~ strength, stability and expedition

  • Fountain [usually a roundle, crossed with wavy bars of blue and white] ~ represents water, a spring

  • Fox [tod, reynard, genet] ~ most famous of tricksters, strategic talents, fertility of resources, willing to use all that he possesses of wisdom and wit for his own defense

  • Fraise [strawberries] ~ usually refers to the cinquefoil which symbolizes hope and joy

  • Fret ~ persuasion

  • Fretty, frette [latticework, a continuous fret that forms a pattern for diapering the field, with the junction points sometimes ornamented, sometimes with roundels. Treillissé has a smaller mesh.] ~ persuasion


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Frog [Powet, Toad, Tadpole] ~ fertility, resurrection, prone to anger, rapid determination, Satan

    Satan was depicted as a plague of frogs, from Revelation 16:13


    Image courtesy Wikipedia


  • Fruit ~ felicity and peace

  • Furs ~ dignity

  • Fusil [spindle, narrow lozenge] ~ travel and labour

  • Fusil of Yarn [yarn on a spindle] ~ negotiation
~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


G ~ Heraldic Symbols

  • Galley ~ points to some notable expedition by sea, by which, perhaps, the first bearers had become famous

  • Gannet ~ see Birds

  • Garb, garbe [wheatsheaf] ~ the harvest of one's hopes has been secured

  • Gauntlet ~ signifies a man armed for the performance of martial enterprise.

  • Gavel ~ justice, legal authority

  • Gem [Jewel] ~ supremacy

  • Gillyflower [any of several fragrant plants: quatrefoil, also carnation, dianthus, wallflower, substitute for cloves] ~ hope and joy


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Globe ~ worldliness, world travel

  • Goat ~ emblem of a martial man who wins through politics rather than war

  • Gobony, Gobbony [small squares of two colors alternating in one row, same as compony] ~ constancy

  • Goose ~ see Birds

  • Gorged [coronet collar] ~ high dignity

  • Gorges, Gurges [Whirlpool, a spiral line of blue on a white field]




    Image courtesy Charles Boutell




  • Goutte, larmes ~ elongated pear-shaped drops with wavy sides, rarely seen singly, upside down it becomes an icicle


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Grapes ~ liberality, felicity, peace, associated with wine-making

  • Grasshopper ~ wisdom and nobility, home-bred[go to the ant, grassopper, and learn…


    Image courtesy Fleur de Lis Designs


    ~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


    Grayling ~ see Fish
  • Grenade ~ well bestowed on those who have dared their terrors in sieges and battles

  • Greyhound ~ courage, vigilance, loyal fidelity


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Griffin [head, wings, and talons of an eagle with the body of a lion) ~ valour and death-defying bravery, vigilance, dares all dangers, and even death itself, rather than become captive

  • Gringolée [the heads of snakes]


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Gunstone [cannon ball, pellet] ~ one who has dared the terror of such a weapon in sieges and battles


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Gurges [whirlpool] ~ meaning uncertain


    Image courtesy Charles Boutell


  • Gyron [triangle] ~ unity

  • Gyronny [multiple triangles] ~ unity
~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


H ~ Heraldic Symbols

  • Halberd, Halbert ~ execution of military dutyHalberdier Reinactors


    Image courtesy Wikipedia


    This group of reenactors are resplendent in their kilts, jackets, bonnets, and plaids, while their halberds do look quite menacing.

  • Hame [horse gear] ~ meaning uncertain


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Hammer ~ honour; emblem of the smith's trade


    Image courtesy James Parker


    This hammer symbol belongs specifically to the Edinburgh Company of Blacksmiths

  • Hand ~ pledge of faith, sincerity and justice

    Red ~ usual mark for a baronet if borne on a small escutcheon

    Joined ~ Two right hands conjoined represent union and alliance

  • Hank of Yarn ~ meaning uncertain, possibly weavers or spinners


    Image courtesy James Parker


    ~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


  • Hare ~ see rabbit

  • Harp ~ contemplation, a well-composed person of tempered judgment, thought of as a mystical bridge between heaven and earth.


    Image courtesy James Parker


    This specific symbol is of King James I and the Stuart clan.

  • Harpy [virgin's face, neck and breast with the body of a lion] ~ ferocity under provocation

  • Hart [male deer] ~ policy, peace and harmony

  • Hatchet ~ execution of military duty

  • Hawk ~ see Birds

  • Hawk's Bells ~ one who feared not to signal his approach in either peace or war


    Image courtesy James Parker


    ~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~



    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Hawthorn [Fairy Thorn, Mayapple] ~ in Gaelic folklore the hawthorn has a strong association with fairies. It's considered unlucky to cut the tree at any time, except when it's in bloom. But it's cut and decorated as a May Bush for Beltane festivals. Some have attributed the failure of the DeLorean Motor Company to the destruction of a Hawthorn when their production plant was under construction.


    Image courtesy Wikipedia


    Often found next to Clootie wells, which are considered holy, they're called 'Rag Trees' due to the strips of cloth tied to the trees as part of the healing rituals.

    In Ireland, a once common expression was 'When all fruit fails, welcome haws'


    Image courtesy James Parker


    This symbol belonged to Henry VIII

  • Hazel branch or leaves ~ hope and joy

  • Head, Human ~ honor
    Blackamoor ~ deeds of prowess in the Crusades


    Image courtesy James Parker


    ~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


  • Heart ~ sincerity, truth, kindness, charity

  • Heart, Flaming ~ ardent, intense, burning affection

    Human ~ charity, sincerity

  • Hedgehog - provident provider

  • Helm, Helmet ~ when depicted on the shield, denotes wisdom and security in defense, strength, protection, invulnerability

  • Hind [female deer] ~ peace and harmony

  • Hogshead ~ see barrel<.br>
  • Holly ~ truth


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Holt [squirrel's nest] ~ pun for the Holt family name, see squirrel for symbolisms

  • Hone ~ meaning uncertain


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Honeysuckle [see Woodbine]~ love that does not injure that which it clings to

  • Horn ~ strength and fortitude

    Horn of Plenty [cornucopia] ~ the bounty of nature's gifts

  • Horse ~ war, warrior spirit, bravery, courage, strength, speed, intellect, virility, lust, innate clairvoyance, loyalty, devotion, readiness of all employments for king and country

  • Black Horse ~ calamitous war

    Hunting ~ one who is fond of the chase, high pursuits

  • Horse Picker ~ meaning uncertain


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Horse Shoe ~ good luck, a safeguard against evil spirits

  • Hourglass ~ flight of time, mortality

  • Housemark ~ presumably adopted by the bearers as forms of unique identification of European homes [see Scottish Wedding Dreams Newsroom blogs for June 17, 18, 19, 26 regarding Marriage Stones as Housemarks]

  • Huitfoil [double quatrefoil] ~ mark of cadency for the ninth son


    Image courtesy Fleur de Lis Designs


  • Humettee [an element that does not touch the sides of the shield] ~

  • Hydra [dragon with seven heads] ~ the conquest of a very powerful enemy
~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


I ~ Heraldic Symbols

  • Icicle ~ upside down goutte

  • Increment [crescent with horns to the dexter] ~ one who has been honored by the sovereign, hope of greater glory

  • Increscent [crescent with horns to the dexter] ~ one who has been honored by the sovereign, hope of greater glory


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Inescutcheon [same as Escutcheon of Pretence, a small shield in center of primary shield] ~ claim of a prince to sovereignty; or marriage to an heiress of the family

  • Inkhorn ~ art of writing and educated employment

  • Inkwell ~ art of writing and educated employment

  • Ivy Leaves ~ strong and lasting friendship
~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


J ~ Heraldic Symbols

  • Javelin ~ perfection of martial affairs, knightly service; devotion to honour

  • Jessamine [white quatrefoil] ~ hope and joy

  • Jessant de lis [jessant ~ shooting forth, a fleur-de-lis shooting out from the mouth of a leopard or lion] ~ the lion of England swallowing the lily of France, dominion over France

  • Jewel ~ supremacy
~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


K ~ Heraldic Symbols

  • Kersch [field of feathers] ~ see feathers


    Image courtesy Wikipedia


  • Keys ~ guardianship and dominion

  • Knife ~ meaning uncertain


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Knight ~ the soul guiding the body; man's journey through life

    On horseback ~ the soul guiding the body; man's journey through life

  • Knots ~ these are knots found to be used as heraldry symbols.
  • Bouchier Knot ~ meaning unknown


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Bowen Knot ~ Tristam Knot, True Lover's Knot, lacs d'amour


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Dacre's Knot ~ meaning unknown


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Gordian Knot [Endless Knot, Eternal Knot, Lover's Knot] ~ wisdom and compassion, a term applied to the insignia of the kingdom of Navarre.


    Image courtesy Wikipedia


    Associated with Alexander the Great, the knot is often used as a metaphor for an difficult problem that's solved by a bold stroke of genius, called 'cutting the Gordian knot'. Alexander was presented the dilemma of finding the ends of an endless knot. In frustration, he simply took his sword and sliced the knot in two, producing two ends.

    ~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


  • Harrington Knot ~ an ordinary fret


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Heneage's Knot ~ meaning unknown


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Lacy's Knot ~ meaning unknown


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Overhand Knot [Thumb knot, Trefoil knot] ~ meaning unknown


    Image courtesy Wikipedia



    Image courtesy Wikipedia


    The coat of arms of Bretagne, Brittany, France, displays an overhand knot made into a decorative heraldic design.


    Image courtesy Wikipedia


  • Solomon's Knot [Lover's knot] ~ stand in unity


    Image courtesy Seiyaku


    Stafford's Knot ~ meaning unknown


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Wake's Knot ~ meaning unknown


    Image courtesy James Parker


~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


L ~ Heraldic Symbols

  • Labarum [a pike bearing a silk banner hanging from a crosspiece, and surmounted by a golden crown] ~ good omen, Christianity

  • Label [1st son] ~ cadency Indicating first-born


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Ladder, Scaling ~ one who was fearless in attacking
    if against a tower ~ on guard against spiritual and corporeal enemies

  • Lamb ~ gentleness and patience under suffering
    Carrying Banner with a Cross ~ faith, innocence, bravery, gentleness, purity, resolute spirit
    Carrying Staff ~ faith, innocence, bravery, gentleness, purity, resolute spirit
    Paschal ~ faith, innocence, bravery, gentleness, purity, resolute spirit

  • Lamp ~ light, life, and spirituality


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Lance ~ perfection of martial affairs, knightly service; devotion to honour

  • Lantern ~ light, life and spirituality, one who is watchful or who gave the signal in time of danger
    Ship's Lantern ~ meaning uncertain


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Lapwing ~ see Birds

  • Latticework ~ persuasion

  • Laurel Leaves ~ peace and/or triumph

  • Leg ~ strength, stability and expedition

  • Leopard ~ valiant and hardy warrior who enterprises hazardous things by force and courage
    Leopard's Head Swallowing a Fleur-de-lis ~ the lion of England swallowing the lily of France

  • Letter [A, B, C…) ~ may represent great battles or tournaments beginning with that letter

  • Level ~ equity and upright action, virtuous person

  • Lighthouse ~ one who is watchful or who gave the signal in time of danger

  • Lightning Bolt ~ swiftness and power, the effecting of some weighty business with great clarity and force

  • Lily [fluer-de-lis, sixth son] ~ purity, light, floral badge of France

  • Linden branch or leaves ~ hope and joy

  • Lion, Heraldic ~ bravery, strength, ferocity, and valour

  • Lizard ~ wisdom

  • Lobster ~ see Fish

  • Lozenge [diamond shape narrower than long] ~ honesty, constancy, wisdom, verity probity, equity, a token of noble birth


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Lozengy [completely covered in lozenges] ~ honesty, constancy, wisdom, verity probity, equity, a token of noble birth




    Image courtesy Wikipedia


  • Lumphiad ~ see Lymphiad

  • Lunel [four crescent moons facing each other] ~ one who has been honored by the sovereign, hope of greater glory

  • Lure, Hawk's ~ one who is fond of the highest pursuits, such as hunting and falconry

  • Lymphad [long ship of the Hebrides and Western Highlands] ~ points to some notable expedition by sea, by which, perhaps, the first bearers had become famous


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Lynx ~ liberty, vigilance, forecast, courage

  • Lyre ~ contemplation, tempered judgment
~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


M ~ Heraldic Symbols

  • Man ~ various meanings

  • Marigold ~ devotion and piety

  • Martlet see Birds

  • Mascle [a lozenge with a lozenge-shaped hole in the middle] ~ persuasive

  • Mascly [completely coverd in mascles] ~ persuasive

  • Mastiff ~ courage, vigilance and loyal fidelity

  • Matches ~ in a roll and fired, one who has dared the terror of such a weapon in battle

  • Maunche [lady's sleeve like a fancifully written letter 'M', French manche mal taillée translated as a sleeve badly cut] ~ "For my lady's sake"


    Image courtesy James Parker


    Also note the ermine spots ~ the black spots are supposed to represent the tails of ermines, sewn to the white fur for its enrichment

  • Mermaid [Siren] ~ when with a comb and mirror vanity and feminine beauty to the destruction of men, safe voyage, eloquence

  • Millpick [miller's tool] ~ the mutual converse of human society

  • Millrind [center of the millstone, by which it is turned] ~ the mutual converse of human society


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Millstone ~ the mutual converse of human society

  • Mitre, Bishop's ~ authority

  • Mole


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Monkey [Baboon, said to hide their sagacious wisdom and magical powers with humorous antics] ~ mimicry, agility, buffoonery, cunning, satire, the unconscious

  • Moon ~ serene power over mundane actions

  • Moor ~ dates back to the Middle Ages when it was considered an honor to take a Moor's head


    Image courtesy James Parker


    ~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


  • Moor Cock [grouse] ~ see Birds


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Moor Fowl [grouse] ~ see Birds

  • Morion [chapeau de fer, cap worn by foot-soldiers, usually of the plain shape, sometimes ornamented ~ as in the points turned to the dexter


    Image courtesy James Parker



    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Mortar Piece ~ one who has dared the terror of such a weapon in battle

  • Mortars - well bestowed on those who have dared their terrors in sieges and battles

  • Mound, Mount [rounded terrace at base of the shield] ~ meaning not found, may be purely an artistic device

  • Mulberries ~ liberality, felicity, peace

  • Mule ~ often borne by abbots and abbesses who have pastoral jurisdiction, but not real jurisdiction

  • Mullet [5-pointed star, 3rd son] ~ denotes some divine quality bestowed from above, celestial goodness, noble person, cadency mark of third son


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Musical Notes ~ meaning uncertain


    Image courtesy New Gaso


  • Musical Pipes ~ festivity and rejoicing


    Image courtesy James Parker


~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


N ~ Heraldic Symbols

  • Noah's Ark [in the arms of two Scottish families]


    Image courtesy Wikipedia



    Image courtesy Wikipedia


  • Nowed ~ twisted so as to form a knot; applied chiefly to serpents, tails of lions, and a garter, that is sometimes said to be nowed and buckled

  • Nowy ~ any cross with a projection in the middle

~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


O ~ Heraldic Symbols

  • Oak Garb or Sheaf ~ the harvest of one's hopes has been secured
    Tree, Leaves, or Bush ~ great age and strength
    With Acorns ~ continuous growth and fertility

  • Octopus ~ meaning uncertain


    Image courtesy Dragon Azure


  • Ogress [cannon ball] ~ one who has dared the terror of such a weapon in sieges and battles

  • Olive Branch or Leaves ~ peace and concordance

  • Orle [a narrow band within another form] ~ preservation or protection

  • Ostrich ~ see Birds
    Plumes ~ willing obedience and serenity

  • Otter ~ one who lives life to the fullest

  • Ounce [leopard] ~ valiant and hardy warrior who enterprises hazardous things by force and courage

  • Owl ~ see Birds one who is vigilant and of acute wit

  • Ox ~ valor, generosity, magnanimity
~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


P ~ Heraldic Symbols

  • Pale [arranged beneath one another] ~ military strength and fortitude

  • Palet, Pallet [vertical stripe] ~ military strength and fortitude

  • Palm
    Branch ~ victory, justice, and royal honour
    Tree ~ victory, righteousness and resurrection

  • Palmers Staff, Palmers Stave [shepherd's staff with a crook and hook for carrying things] ~ the shepherd's watchfulness, Christian faith, pastoral authority, also may refer to early pilgrimages to Jerusalem

  • Palmette [anthemion which is Greek for a flower, Honeysuckle, Acanthus flower, based on the fan-shaped leaves of a palm tree]

  • Paly [shield divided into 4 equal parts] ~ military strength and fortitude

  • Panache [a pyramid of feathers] ~ has come to mean distinctive and stylish elegance

  • Pansy [Heart's Ease] ~ love, good fortune, freedom of thought and reflection. The Knights of the Round Table allegedly practiced 'Pansy Divination' ~ randomly removing petals one at a time and studying it's markings.

  • Panther [always born with face towards the spectator, usually with fire shooting from the ears and mouth] ~ as a lion may be said to signify a brave man, so may a panther signify a beautiful woman, which, though fierce, is very tender and loving to her young, and will defend it with the hazard of her life. Protector of the universe.

  • Parchment ~ possible reference to academic or scholarly achievement

  • Parrot ~see Birds

  • Paschal Lamb ~ faith, innocence, bravery, gentleness, purity, resolute spirit

  • Passion Nails ~ token of poignant suffering undergone by the bearer

  • Pavilion ~ readiness for battle

  • Peacock ~ see Birds

  • Pear ~ felicity and peace


    Image courtesy Heraldry WS


  • Pegasus ~ fame, vision and refinement, poetic genius and inspiration,exceeding activity and energy of mind whereby one may mount to honour, messenger of God

  • Pelican ~ see Birds

  • Pellet [cannon ball, gunstone] ~ one who has dared the terror of such a weapon in sieges and battles

  • Pen - emblematic of the liberal art of writing and of learned employments.

  • Penguin ~ meaning uncertain

  • Pennant [a flag longer than it is wide and often tapering] ~ refers to special action in which bearer was captured, or a reward for valiant service

  • Pennon [a flag longer than it is wide and often tapering] ~ refers to some special action in which it was captured or as a reward for gallant service

  • Percee [voided lozenge]

  • Periwinkle [blue quatrefoil] ~ hope and joy

  • Pheasant ~ see Birds

  • Pheon [spear-head] ~ dexterity and nimbleness of wit to penetrate and understand matters of highest consequence, readiness for battle

  • Phoenix - see Birds resurrection

    ~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


  • Phyrgian Cap ~ freedom


    Image courtesy Wikipedia


  • Pig ~ fertility

  • Pike ~ see Fish

  • Pike [Weapon] ~ knightly service and devotion to honor, honourable warrior, valiant knight

  • Pile [stake, large piece of wood used in building bridges] ~ engineering skills, builder, military strength and fortitude

  • Pilgrim's Crutch or Staff [walking stick with 'T' crosspiece in place of the shepherd's crook] ~ the shepherd's watchfulness, Christian faith, pastoral authority, also may refer to early pilgrimages to Jerusalem

  • Pillar - fortitude and constancywith serpent coiled around it ~ wisdom with fortitude

  • Pincers ~ honour, emblem of the smith's trade

  • Pine ~ death and eternal life thereafter

  • Pine Cone ~ life


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Pineapple ~ returning sea captains would place a pineapple on their gatepost to announce they were home, thus it tokened hospitality and later elite social standing. Some captains rented their pineapple around town for social engagements.

  • Pipes, Musical ~ festivity and rejoicing


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Pitcher ~ office of service

  • Pizzle [the penis of an animal, particularly a bull] ~ an Old English word for penis, from the Low German 'pesel' or flemish 'pezel', from the Dutch 'pees sinew'

  • Plants ~ hope and joy [a separate page will be built due to the volume of plants as heraldic symbols

  • Plow, Ploughshare ~ labouring in the earth and depending upon providence

    ~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


  • Plume of Feathers ~ willing obedience and serenity of mind


    Image courtesy Wikipedia


  • Plummet ~ equity and upright action, virtuous person

  • Pomegranate [Apple of Granada, Old English Pomgarnet which is a crimson-colored garnet, biblical name is rimmon, from the word rim which means to bear children] ~ fertility, abundance, marriage, women, childbirth

  • Poplar Leaves ~ hope and joy

  • Poppinjay ~ see Birds

  • Poppy [sanguine quatrefoil] ~ sleep and death, sacrifice, remembrance, hope and joy

  • Portcullis [castle gate] - effectual protection in emergency

  • Porcupine ~ invincibility, Louis XII of France alleded to the porcupine throwing spines at their enemies in his motto 'Cominus et eminus', meaning from near and afar.

  • Pot ~ liberality and charity

  • Potent [a fur, thought to be a badly drawn vair, where the hide shapes became ‘T’s instead of bells. In Latin, the word ‘potent’ means crutch, thus the name]


    Image courtesy Heraldica


  • Prawn ~ see Fish

  • Primrose [quatrefoil] ~ brings good tidings

  • Proboscides [pairs of elephant trunks] ~ ambition, courage, dignity, good luck, great strength, happiness, longevity, patience, royalty, wisdom, wit


    Image courtesy Fleur de Lis Designs


  • Puffin ~ see Birds

  • Purse ~ a frank and liberal steward of the blessings that God has bestowed


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Pyncheon ~ see Birds

  • Python, Pithon [constrictor or boa snake] ~ guardianship

~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


Q ~ Heraldic Symbols

  • Quarter [similar to the canton] ~ bearing of honor

  • Quatrefoil [Primrose] ~ brings good tidings
    Double - 9th son
    Black [dawle] ~ hope and joy
    Blue [periwinkle] ~ hope and joy
    Huitfoil [doubled, eightfoil] ~ mark of cadency for the ninth son
    Jessamine [white] ~ hope and joy
    Purple [buglass] ~ hope and joy
    Sanguine [red, poppy] ~ hope and joy
    Tawney [orange, gillyflower] ~ hope and joy

~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


R ~ Heraldic Symbols

  • Rabbit ~ one who enjoys a peaceable and retired life.


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Rainbow ~ good times after bad

  • Ram ~ authority, leader

  • Rat ~ industry and prosperity due to its ability for locating, acquiring, and hoarding abundant food


    Image courtesy Somewhere in Tyme


  • Ratch Hound [small hound] ~ loyalty, courage, and vigilance

  • Raven ~ see Birds

  • Ray ~ glory and splendour, fountain of life, intelligence and enlightenment

  • Rayonnee [with rays] ~ glory and spendour, fountain of life, intelligence and enlightenment

  • Reindeer ~ policy, peace and harmony, one who will not fight unless provoked


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Rest [clarion horn] ~ ready for the fray


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Rhinoceros ~ great ferocity when aroused

  • Rock ~ safety, refuge and protection

  • Rose [7th son] ~ hope and joy, grace and beauty, also meanings for specific colors of roses



    Image courtesy James Parker


    Red ~ grace and beauty
    White ~ love and faith

  • Roundle [Pomeis, circle
    Black ~ cannon ball
    Blue ~ hurt, whortleberry
    Gold ~ one who has been found worthy of trust and treasure, bezants or byzantine coins
    Green ~ apple
    Purple ~ wounded
    Red ~ communion wafer or manchet cake
    Tawny [orange] ~ tennis ball
    White ~ generosity
    Yellow ~ one who has been found worthy of trust and treasure, bezants or byzantine coins

  • Rowel, Spur [round disc on the back of a horse spur] ~ preparedness for active service, pressing onward


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Rustre [lozenges pierced with a round hole] ~ meaning uncertain


    Image courtesy Heraldica


  • Rye [distinguished by drooping head] ~ faithfulness, plenty, hospitality, hopes secured


    Image courtesy James Parker


~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


S ~ Heraldic Symbols

  • Saber, Sabre ~ indicates the bearer to a just and generous pursuit of honor and virtue in warlike deeds, justice and/or military honour

  • Saddle ~ preparedness for active service

  • Salamander ~ protection

  • Salmon ~ see Fish

  • Saltire [St. Andrew's Cross] ~ resolution

  • Saltire Cramped [cramp, crampoon, or cramp-iron are pieces of iron bent at the ends, used to strengthen a building, representing hooked attachments on scaling-ladders. Sometimes erroneously called Fleams or Grapples]


    Image courtesy James Parker


    This sample has ermine spots and two cramps in a Saltire Cross

  • Saracen [dates back to the Middle Ages when it was considered an honor to take a Moor's head] ~ believed to be related to service in the Crusades

  • Savage [Saracen, dates back to the Middle Ages when it was considered an honor to take a Moor's head] ~ believed to be related to service in the Crusades

  • Scales ~ justice

  • Scallop Shell, Escallop, Scallop, Coquilles ~ pilgrim, one who has made long journeys or voyages to far countries, who has borne considerable naval command or who has gained great victories.

    Medieval pilgrims traveled to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, to the shrine of St. James. In French, scallop is coquille St. Jacques, meaning 'cockle (or mollusk) of St James'. The German word for a scallop is Jakobsmuschel, or 'mussel (or clam) of St. James'. In Dutch, the word is Jacobsschelp, meaning 'shell of St James'.

    Pilgrims would pick up a scallop shell from the shores of Galicia as a souvenir and a passport. Worn as a cap badge, the shell proved they had been to the shrine. It also told bandits and authorities they traveled in peace, on pilgrimage. The scallop also served as a modest spoon of small capacity. When begging for food, the scallop on their headgear proclaimed they wouldn't eat much.

    As a baptism symbol. It has been found in artwork discovered in ancient Christian catacombs and also in Renaissance art. Often John the Baptist is depicted baptizing Jesus by pouring water from a scallop shell.

    A shell symbol is seen in many family crests, including that of the late Diana, Princess of Wales.


    Image courtesy Wikipedia


  • Sceptre ~ justice, denotes episcopal jurisdiction and authority.

  • Scimitar [curved oriental saber; the edge is on the convex side of the blade] ~ indicates the bearer to a just and generous pursuit of honor and virtue in warlike deeds

  • Scorpion ~ meaning uncertain


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Scroll ~ possible reference to academic or scholarly achievement

  • Sea Horse ~ power of the water


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Sea Lion ~ dauntless courage at sea


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Sea Urchin ~ meaning uncertain


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Seal [sea-calf, sea-wolf, sea-bear] ~ dauntless courage at sea

  • Seraph [angel with three pairs of wings] ~ dignity, glory and honor

  • Seraphim [angel with three pairs of wings] ~ dignity, glory, honour, bearer of joyful news, missionary

  • Serpent ~ wisdom


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Shacklebolt ~ [see Fettterlock]

  • Shamrock [floral device of Ireland] ~ perpetuity; omnipotence, providence

  • Shell [conché, whelk] ~ protection of Providence


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Shell, Escallop, Scallop, Coquilles ~ see Scallop

  • Shepherd's Crook, Shepherd's Staff, Shepherd's Stave [pastoral staff, rounded top with no hook] ~ the shepherd's watchfulness, Christian faith, pastoral authority, Episcopal jurisdiction and authority


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Shield ~ when borne on the arms, represents the defender

  • Ship ~ points to some notable expedition by sea, by which, perhaps, the first bearers had become famous, ancient sea voyages
    Dismasted ~ disaster at sea

  • Shoe ~ strength, stability and expedition

  • Shrimp ~ see Fish

  • Shuttle, Weaver's ~ reference to the bearer's profession in textiles

  • Sickle ~ hope of a fruitful harvest of things hoped for

  • Skull ~ mortality

  • Snail, House Snail [limacon] ~ deliberation and perseverance

  • Snake ~ wisdom


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Snowflake ~ delicate and beautiful


    Image courtesy Excurs.ru


    Cross symbol on a Ukranian church


    Image courtesy Seiyaku


  • Sparling ~ see Fish

  • Spear [Tilting Lance] ~ knightly service and devotion to honor, honourable warrior, valiant knight

    Spear Head ~ dexterity and nimbleness of wit to penetrate and understand matters of highest consequence

  • Sphere ~ geographical or scientific reference

  • Sphinx ~ omniscience and secrecy

  • Spider ~ wisdom, labor and providence in all affairs

  • Spotted ~ indicates small dots applied overall, as in spotted dog

  • Spur ~ preparedness for active service, pressing onward
    Gold ~ dignity of knighthood
    Silver ~ an esquire
    Spur Rowel ~ preparedness for active service, pressing onward

  • Square ~ constancy, wisdom, verity probity, and equity

  • Squid ~ see Octopus

  • Squirrel [he who sits in the shadow of his tail] ~ one who was provident toward the future, trustworthy, strong sense of duty, lover of the woods, sylvan retirement being the delight of its bearer. The squirrel's nest was called a 'holt', thus a squirrel can pun the name 'Holt'.

  • Stag [male deer] ~ policy, peace and harmony, one who will not fight unless provoked
    Stag Antlers ~ strength and fortitude

  • Staple ~ pun on family name, reunion, communication, coherence


    Image courtesy Charles Boutell


  • Star ~ denotes some divine quality bestowed from above, celestial goodness, noble person, cadency mark of third son

  • Starfish ~ Mary guiding the faithful through the storms of life, the undying power of love

  • Starling ~ see Birds

  • Steel ~ readiness for zealous service

  • Sturgeon ~ see Fish

  • Stirrup ~ preparedness for active service

  • Stool ~ hospitality

  • Stork ~ see Birds

  • Strawberries [fraise] ~ symbolizes hope and joy

  • Sun ~ glory and splendor, fountain of life

  • Swallow ~ see Birds

  • Swan ~ see Birds

  • Sword ~ indicates the bearer to a just and generous pursuit of honor and virtue in warlike deeds, justice and/or military honour
~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


T ~ Heraldic Symbols

  • Table ~ hospitality

  • Tabor [Medieval snare drum] ~ festivity and rejoicing, dangerous if aroused


    Image courtesy Wikipedia


  • Talbot [hunting dog of quick pursuit and eager pursuit] ~ courage, vigilance and loyal fidelity


    Image courtesy Wikipedia



    Image courtesy Cheshire Heraldry


  • Tapisse ~ see wheat for meaning


    Image courtesy The Canadian Heraldic Academy


  • Teal Duck ~ see Birds

  • Teasel [Our Lady's Little Brushes, dried heads used by weavers to raise the nap on woolen cloth] ~ weavers trade, Mary's motherly care of the infant Jesus


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Tegulated ~ small, overlapping plates of horn or metal




    Image courtesy the Weebsite


  • Tent ~ readiness for battle

  • Tenterhook ~ meaning uncertain


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Terrace ~ meaning not found, may be purely an artistic device

  • Thighbones, Crossed ~ mortality

  • Thistle [symbol of Scotland] ~ independence, strength, protection and healing


    Image courtesy James Parker


    Stuart Thistle


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Thunderbolt ~ defiance of danger, fortitude, and power

  • Tiger, Heraldic ~ great fierceness and valor when enraged to combat; one whose resentment will be dangerous if aroused, authority and power

  • Toad ~ in Scotland good luck on wedding day, fertility, resurrection, prone to anger, rapid determination


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Tongue ~ the Confessional inviolate


    Image courtesy Wikipedia


  • Tonneau ~ see Barrel

  • Torch ~ life, zealousness, engaging in signal service, illumination, enlightenment, guidance,truth, intelligence

  • Tortoise [major meat source for 17th and 18th century sailors, derived from Latin 'testuoo', which was the protective shelter Roman soldiers formed by overlapping their shields overhead to stop arrows] ~ independence because it takes it's home with it and is well protected, invulnerability, to attack, longevity, patience, practicality, strength, time

  • Tower ~ safety. grandeur, solidity, safety, sometimes granted to one who has held one for his king, or who has captured one by force or stratagem

  • Tree ~ life and the mystical connection of the earth with heaven and the underworld
    Blasted [without leaves] ~ withered
    Branch ~ new life sprouting from the old
    Stump ~ new life sprouting from the old
    Trunk ~ an object of veneration

  • Trefoil [shamrock, three-leaved] ~ perpetuity; floral device of Ireland

  • Treillissé has a smaller mesh than fretty, which is a continuous fret that forms a pattern for diapering the field, with the junction points sometimes ornamented, sometimes with roundels. ~ persuasion

  • Tressure [border similar to the orle, but of only half the breadth] ~ prominent in the arms of Scotland, preservation or protection

  • Tressure Flory Counterflory ~ signifies the close and long-term alliance between France and Scotland

  • Trestle ~ hospitality

  • Triangle ~ Holy Trinity, power, danger, success, prosperity, safety, health

  • Trident ~ maritime dominion

  • Trillium [provincial flower of Ontario] ~ meaning uncertain


    Image courtesy The Canadian Heraldic Authority



    Image courtesy The Canadian Heraldic Authority


  • Trivet ~ meaning uncertain


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Trout [truite ~ see Fish

  • Trumpet ~ ready for the fray


    Image courtesy Charles Boutell


  • Tun ~ see Barrel

  • Turk [Moor's head, dates back to the Middle Ages when it was considered an honor to take a Moor's head] ~ believed to be related to service in the Crusades

  • Turkey ~ festivity, hospitality, resourcefulness
    Feathers ~ pride and distinction

  • Turnip ~ in Celtic areas, children and teens carried turnip lanterns on wooden poles from the graveyard to home, lighting the way for departed souls, remembrance

  • Turnstile ~ meaning uncertain


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Turtle ~ rapid determination


    Image courtesy James Parker


~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


U ~ Heraldic Symbols

  • Unicorn ~ extreme courage, virtue and strength


    Image courtesy Charles Boutell


~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


V ~ Heraldic

  • Vair [derived from Latin, meaning ‘varigated work’, in English ‘grey work’. The Eurasian Red Squirrel bears a winter coat of blue-gray on the back and white on the belly. This was highly prized for lining mantles. When cut into cup or bell shaped pieces and sewn together alternating the back and belly pieces, a pattern emerges which became blue and white in heraldic symbols. A single bell is called a varry. When several a sewn together in rows, it’s called a vair of varrys.


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Vine [Grapevine] ~ strong and lasting friendship


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Voider ~ given to gentlewomen who have deserved highly.

  • Vol [set of wings] ~ swiftness and protection


    Image courtesy James Parker


    Vol Banneret ~ at first I hoped they were peacock wings…


    Image courtesy Heraldica


  • Vorant ~ one fish, particularly a dolphin, swallowing another whole fish, also engoulant or ingullant

  • Vulned [ensanglanté, an animal wounded and bleeding, drops of blood is gouttes de sang


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Vulture ~ see Birds
~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


W ~ Heraldic Symbols

  • Walnut Leaves ~ hope and joy

  • Water Bouget [a yoke with two large skins appended to it, formerly used for the conveyance of water to an army] ~ conferred on those who had brought water to an army or besieged place


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Weaver's Shuttle ~ reference to the bearer's profession in textiles

  • Whale ~ see Fish

  • Wheat [barley and oats not distinguishable, rye heads droop] ~ faithfulness, plenty, hospitality, hopes secured
    Garb ~ the harvest of one's hopes has been secured
    Head ~ faithful
    Sheaf ~ the harvest of one's hopes has been secured

  • Wheel ~ fortune
    Katherine's ~ see Katherine's Wheel

  • Whelk [shell] ~ meaning uncertain


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Whirlpool [Gurges, Gorges, a spiral line of blue on a white field]


    Image courtesy Charles Boutell


  • Whistle, Boatswains ~ meaning uncertain


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Wildcat ~ liberty, vigilance, forecast, courage

  • Wing ~celebrity, swiftness and protection, sometimes shelter

  • 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, perseverance and hard work


    Image courtesy James Parker


  • Woman ~ various meanings

  • Woodbine Leaves [honeysuckle]~ love that does not injure that which it clings to


    Image courtesy Somewhere in Tyme



  • Wreath ~ granted for special service
    laurel leaves and berries ~ triumph
    oak leaves ~ one who saved a fellow citizen's life or showed patriotism in defense of one's native land


    Image courtesy Charles Boutell



    Image courtesy Charles Boutell


  • Wren ~ see Birds

  • Wyvern [dragon with two rooster legs and a barbed serpent's tail] ~ valour and protection
~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


Y ~ Heraldic Symbols /a>

~ Return to Heraldic Symbols Index ~


Z ~ Heraldry Symbols

  • Zebra ~ meaning not found


    Image courtesy Wikipedia


This concludes the current list of Heraldic Symbols. As relevant heraldic symbols are located, they'll be added to this list.

Please realize this listing of heraldic symbols is in no way complete.


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