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Dictionary of Vexillology: N (Nails - Numeral Pennant)

Last modified: 2006-09-30 by phil nelson
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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(n) One means by which a colour or parade flag is sometimes fixed – often by a precisely regulated number of nails - to its staff (see also ‘colour 2)’, ‘colours 2)’, ‘parade flag’, ‘sleeve’, ‘tab’ and ‘ties’).
(adj) The act, sometimes ceremonial, of attaching a colour or parade flag to is its staff by nails.

Please note that the term “nailing one’s colours to the mast” (as a metaphor for taking an irrevocable action) does not relate to the above, but based on the idea of a ship’s ensign being literally nailed to the mast before or during battle thus making it impossible to strike (or lower) it in surrender.

The term for a flag or pennant that bears the name of a ship – an onamast.

Please note that the (unofficial) practice of flying such a flag or pennant began in the 19th Century, but is possibly now obsolete?

See ‘masthead pendant’.

1) See ‘colour 2)’.
2) Where only one colour is selected (generally one appearing on the flag) to be the national colour, as in for example the Rhododendron Red of Nepal.

1) A plural form of ‘colour 2)’.
2) Usually the two or three principal colours of a national flag - for example, the red, white and blue of France and the US, or the red and white of Poland (see also ‘cockade’, ‘livery colours’ and ‘roundel 1)’).

Please note with regard to 2) that the colours concerned need not necessarily be those of the relevant national flag, as in for example, the Australian national sporting colours of green and gold.

1) A flag that represents an independent state, especially a nation-state.
2) A flag of a formerly independent state or of a non-independent national group.
3) That flag which is generally thought of as representing a state when specific circumstances of display are not considered.

Please note that in some countries the national flag is available for use by all citizens. In other countries, however, the national flag is restricted to official use by law or custom, with a variant of it as a civil flag for use by private citizens. Please note also, that the national flag may have other variants with specific uses on land and/or sea, and that these are herein listed separately according to type (see also those flags listed under ‘ensign’, as well as ‘civil flag’, ‘jack’, ‘state flag’ and ‘war flag’).

A decorative strip (usually placed along he hoist of a flag) intended to represent a folk or traditional element of national culture, and particularly prevalent among Eastern Slavic and Siberian states such as Byelorussia and Kazakhstan.

[Kazakhstan showing national ornament]
National Flag of Kazakhstan (fotw)

Those things, often established by law, which have been adopted as being symbolic of a country, these may include the national flag, national coat of arms or emblem, the national colours, the national anthem and possibly a plant, an animal and/or a bird.

A crown generally (but not exclusively) formed from the sterns and square sails of ships placed upon a circle or fillet, and loosely based on an ancient Roman triumphal ornament of the same name (see also ‘civic crown’, ‘crown’ and ‘mural crown’).

[Naval crowns]
From left: UK (Parker), Italy (fotw)

See under ‘ensign’.

See ‘branch of service flag’ (also ‘armed services flag’).

See ‘Scandinavian cross’.

A diagonal stripe that runs from the upper hoist to the lower fly, and whose corners touch the corners of the flag but whose width is entirely contained within the length of the flag – an enhanced bend. See ‘bend’ in Appendix VI (also ‘ascending diagonal’, ‘descending diagonal’, ‘east-west diagonal’, ‘south-north diagonal’, and ‘west-east diagonal’).

[North-South diagonal - Trinidad and Tobago]
National Flag of Trinidad and Tobago (fotw)

See 'insurance flag'.
Any one of a set of straight-sided flags of simple design representing the numerals zero to nine, and used in some naval flag signal codes (see also 'numeral pennant' and ‘signal flag’).

Any one of a set of tapered square-ended pennants of simple design representing the numerals zero to nine, and used in the International Code of Signal flags as well as some naval flag signal codes (see also ‘International Code of Signal Flags’, 'numeral flag' and ‘signal flag’).