- See serrated.
- Literally Danish-cloth, and the current national flag of Denmark.
National Flag of Denmark (fotw)
- DE FACTO
- (adj) A generally employed Latin term for in practice, and used in vexillology
to indicate flags in actual use as opposed to those as laid down by law or regulation
(see also de jure and the note below).
- DE JURE
- (adj) A generally employed Latin term for in law, and used in vexillology
to indicate a flag as laid down by law or regulation, as opposed to those in actual
use (see also de facto and the note below).
Please note that an example of de jure as opposed
to de facto is the proportions of the Belgian national flag which is regulated
at 13:15, but which is most often see in practice with a ratio of 2:3.
- A term for the custom of foot guards in British and Canadian service of placing
a garland or chaplet of laurel a crown triumphal - at the top of the regimental
colour pike or staff on days of significance in regimental history (see also
staff 2) and
wreath of immortelles).
- DECOMMISSIONING PENNANT
- See paying off pennant.
- (v) To add any authorised emblem, badge, shield, charge or device to a flag
(see also badge,
Please note that in heraldry and vexillology the
term has no pejorative connotation (but see also
desecrate and disfigure).
- DEMONSTRATION BANNER
- See banner 3).
- (adj) A term used to describe a rounded (or lanceolate) fly into which a V shaped notch
has been cut cloven descate (see also
guidon 2), lanceolate,
- 1) (v) To maliciously damage or mistreat a flag for political or other
motives, or to use a flag in a way that is considered disrespectful or
inappropriate (see also
rules of respect and
- 2) See disfigure.
- DESCENDING DIAGONAL
- A diagonal stripe that runs from the upper hoist to the lower fly, and is
centred on the corners of the flag a bend. See also
bend in Appendix VI (also
south-north diagonal and
Flag of Para, Brazil (fotw)
- 1) (v) To maliciously damage or mistreat a flag for political or other motives, or to use a flag in a way that is
considered disrespectful or inappropriate (see also rules of respect and
- 2) See disfigure.
- DESK FLAG (or DESK TOP FLAG)
- See table flag.
- DESTINATION FLAG
- The term describing a custom whereby the flag of the country of destination
is flown at the fore by a merchant ship or pleasure vessel as a matter of courtesy
when about to sail (see also fore).
- 1) Originally a heraldic term for a temporary mark extra to the coat of arms
to distinguish those who entered the lists at tournaments, it now refers specifically
to the motto (see motto).
- 2) A term sometimes inaccurately applied to a charge, badge or emblem (see
- The heraldic term for the right hand side of a flag or shield from the point
of view of the bearer, or the left hand side from the point of view of an observer
(see also sinister).
- A triangular flag usually containing seven red over white horizontal stripes
whose lower edge is at right angles to the hoist, and symbolic of Hinduism (see
also religious flag).
Dhvaja of the Hindus (CS)
Please note that the word is sometimes pronounced
as dvahjah, but that other pronunciations exist.
- DIFFERENCE (DIFFERENCED or DIFFERENCING)
- 1) (v) On flags, to create a variation of another flag, either by changing
one or more colours, or by adding or removing a charge. Usually done to indicate
close cultural, historical, or geographic ties as in, for example, the flag of
Italy was differenced from that of France by changing the blue stripe to green,
or to differentiate between the various grades of senior officer in the armed
services (see also archivexillum,
core flag, flag family and
- 2) In heraldry, see cadency, mark of.
National flag of Russian (fotw); Civil Ensign of Slovenia (fotw); National Flag of Bulgaria (fotw)
- The actual measured size of a flag, or of a charge thereon, as opposed to its proportions (see also
- (adj) The heraldic term for a charge or charges, such as animals, birds (particularly
eagles) or fleur-de-lis,forming part of a coat of arms, or an entire coat of
arms as defined herein, which are halved along the vertical centre line but see
coat of arms 2), entire
From left: Flag of Nysa, Poland (fotw); Flag of the Cinque Ports, UK (Martin Grieve)
Please note, however, that where two sets of dimidiated arms or any
elements thereof are set side by side (as illustrated above), in heraldic terms they are said to be
impaled by dimidiation, and that (whilst this is often the case) one dimidiated charge, or set of
dimidiated arms, need not necessarily (as per the example below) be set beside another so
halved (see also conjoined).
Flag of Geneva, Switzerland (fotw)
- See dimidiated and following note above.
- DINNER FLAG
- The practice, almost certainly obsolete, of flying a white flag from the starboard
yardarm (or spreader) of a vessel when the owner is dining, and from the port
yardarm when the crew are at meals but see also
meal pennant 2).
- 1) On parade, a method of saluting with a flag in which the staff is lowered
by inclining the staff forward then returning it to the original upright position,
with the degree of such lowering being governed by national regulations or custom,
and ranging from a slight inclination to dropping the head of the staff all the
way to the ground or vailing see vailing
(also colour 2),
staff 2) and
trailing 1). When multiple flags are
carried, which (if any) are dipped in salute generally depends on the status of
the person or entity being saluted, dipping customs vary widely, however, and
in some countries, the national flag is never dipped, while in others it may be
dipped in salute to a head of state or other specified high dignitaries.
- 2) (v) At sea, a method of saluting with a flag whereby the ensign is lowered
about one width from the truck of the ensign staff (or one-third the length of
the halyard if flying at the gaff or yardarm) and then re-hoisted to its original
position (see also ensign,
- 3) See trailing.
Please note that a warship will never dip its ensign
to another vessel (whether warship or merchantman) but will invariably return
the salute when offered by a merchant vessel - a courtesy that (whilst formerly
given as a matter of course) is rarely seen today and that that warships only
return salutes from the ships of countries recognized by their own government.
Saluting between warships not wearing the flag of a flag officer or a broad pennant
is carried out by bosuns call or bugle, and when flag officers meet at sea they
salute each other with the appropriate number of guns, although usually only by
prior arrangement (see also
'flag of command',
gun salute and
Please note also, that at sea a manoeuvring signal
will be dipped by the flagship when it has been acknowledged, and signifies that
the signal is to be executed, however, an answering pennant flown at the dip in
response to a hoist from the flagship, indicates that the signal is not understood
- an answering pennant flown close-up confirms that the signal has been received
and understood (see also close-up,
hoist 2) and
- DISC (or DISK)
- A circular area of single colour used as a charge (see also
Please note that a disc is called a roundel in heraldry.
- (v) To add any unauthorised charge, device or wording to the field of a flag,
particularly when it is of an insulting or pejorative nature (see also
desecrate and device and compare with
- DISTANCE LINE
- See hoistline.
- DISTINCTION JACK
- See privateer jack.
- DISTINGUISHING FLAG
- 1) The flag of a civil position within a governmental structure, as opposed
to that signifying military rank, as in for example, the distinguishing flag of
a Government minister.
- 2) An alternative term for a rank flag (see also
- 3) In US Air Force and Marine Corps usage, a flag denoting an officer's rank
see individual flag (also
flag of command
personal flag 3) and
rank flag 1)).
- 4) In US military usage, the flag of a command or organization not authorized
to bear colours.
From left: Minister of Defence, Argentina; Secretary for Defence
US; Minister of Defence Sweden (fotw)
Please note, that although these terms are sometimes
considered interchangeable, the Editors have drawn a general distinction between
the command flags used by senior naval officers, the rank flags employed by officers
from the other armed services, the distinguishing flags of civilians and with
- DISTINGUISHING (or DISTINCTIVE) MARK
- In the international Convention on the Law of the Sea, it is a mark identifying
a vessel's status as a warship or government owned ship operated for non-commercial
purposes, of a sovereign state.
Please note that this distinguishing mark is invariably
the ship's ensign, to lesser extent the masthead pennant and in some cases also
the jack (see also 'ensign'
masthead pennant 1)) and
suit of colours).
- DIVER BELOW (or DIVER DOWN) FLAG
- 1) Flag A (Alpha or Alfa) in the International Code of Signals, signifying that the vessel
flying the flag has a diver down and that vessels approaching should keep well clear and
proceed at slow speed (see also
International Code of Signal Flags and
- 2) In US and some other usage, a red flag with a white descending diagonal
stripe indicating that divers are below the surface in the immediate vicinity
of the flag.
Signal Flag Alpha (CS)
Unofficial Warning Flag (CS)
Please note however, that while often referred to
as unofficial, use of 2) is required by law in most US states, and by law or regulation
in some other countries.
- DIVINE RATIO (or PROPORTIONS)
- See golden mean.
- DOUBLE COTTICED (or COTISED)
- See Appendix VII.
- A term for that variation of the swallow-tailed flag where a vertical section appears
in the centre of the fly (see also
The State Flag/Naval Ensign of Denmark (fotw)
- A 17th Century Dutch naval flag usually of six even, horizontal stripes in
the Dutch national colours repeated.
Double Prince C1660 (CS)
Please note however, whilst all available evidence
suggests that red, white and blue were employed, orange instead of red may
have been used at an earlier stage.
- DOUBLE-TAILED DESCATE
- (adj) A term used to describe a fly that is cut into two tails with rounded
ends a cloven bullnose (see also fly,
Double-Tailed Descate (CS)
- A Roman military flag formed like a windsock whose open end was fixed to a dragons head with
gaping silver jaws (see also dragon flag
- A bearer of the draco.
- DRAGON FLAG
- A pre-heraldic flag similar to the Roman Draco formed like a windsock, with
a dragons head/shape, and possibly having a whistling tube within it (see also
'standard 6)' and
Please note, it is suggested by some authorities
that the main standard used by the Saxons at the Battle of Hastings (in 1066)
was of this type.
- (v) The decoration of a staff with a black cravat or long black ribbons (particularly
but not exclusively on flags that cannot be half-masted) as a sign of mourning but see
(also cravat 1,
- See tricolour 3).
- DRESS FLAG
- See indoor flag.
- DRESS KNOT
- A decorative knot of cord, possibly displaying the national colours or braided
in gold with blue thread, and attached to the sword a port epee or sword knot.
- DRESS SHIP, TO
- 1) (v) The practice of decorating a vessel for special occasions, such as
national days, whilst berthed alongside or at anchor, by stringing dressing lines
between the masts (and down to the ensign and jack staffs), and with national
flags at the mastheads - dressing ship, dressing overall or full dressing (see
also 'national flag',
'jack staff' and
- 2) (v) In US naval usage, the practice of decorating a warship during lesser
commemorative occasions, whilst berthed alongside or at anchor, by displaying
the ensign and jack together with an ensign at each masthead, but without the
dressing lines used for 'dressing overall' (see also
'naval ensign' under 'ensign' and
'naval jack' under 'jack').
- 3) (v) In British and other naval usage, the practice of decorating a warship
with jack, ensign and masthead flags/ensign(s) but without the dressing lines,
when underway within sight of a port or anchorage during dress ship occasions.
- 4) (v) The practice of merchant vessels (especially passenger liners) and
yachts to decorate themselves with strings of dressing lines on special occasions
such as maiden voyage departure and arrival, or other occasions ordered by the
shipping company or club.
Please note that warships not directly involved
in the occasion being celebrated, but who are berthed in the presence or in sight
of ships that are, will also dress as a courtesy according to the local practice,
using the ensign or national flag of the celebrant at the main masthead in lieu
of their own ensign or national flag.
Please note also that this is a continuation of
the earlier maritime practice (dating from at least the 16th Century) of hanging
out every flag available by way of celebration, but that in modern navies and
some merchant marine companies both the occasions for display and the make-up
of dressing lines is strictly regulated (with this last being confined to signal
- DRESSING LINES
- Signal flags and pennants made up in decorative strings according to the size
and configuration of ship they are to be used on and also according to ordered
patterns laid down by naval authorities in the case of warships, or commercial
companies in the case of merchant vessels rainbow lines (see also
- DRESSING SHIP (or DRESSING OVERALL)
- See dress ship.
- DRUM BANNER
- See bannerette and