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Dictionary of Vexillology: O (Obverse - Overall)

Last modified: 2006-09-30 by phil nelson
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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The face, or more important side, of a flag; and in the Western tradition always depicted with the hoist to the observer’s left - the dexter in heraldry.

Please note however, that in Arabic tradition the flag is generally depicted with the hoist to the observer’s right – the sinister in heraldry (see also ‘sinister’; ‘dexter’ and ‘reverse’).

Those flags flown by the past and present officers of a club, especially of a yacht or boating club (but see also ‘broad pennant 2)’).
1) Generally a poetic nickname for the US national flag – the Stars and Stripes (see also ‘star spangled banner’ and ‘stars and stripes’).
2) Specifically referring to a US national flag bearing 34 stars and a small white anchor, reputedly belonging to a Captain William Driver.

old glory
Captain Driver’s Flag (fotw)

See ‘name pennant’.

A heraldic term for the metal gold, generally (but not invariably) shown as yellow in flags, or sometimes as gold leaf or metallic paint, or in an embroidered design, as gold thread (see also ‘Appendix III’ and ‘rule of tincture’).

A heraldic term used to describe a simple charge on a shield or banner of arms. The honourable (or main) ordinaries are said to be the chief, cross, pale, saltire, fess, pile, chevron, quarter and bend, and whilst these terms are briefly described separately herein, it is suggested that a suitable glossary or dictionary of heraldry be consulted for full or further details.

See ‘colour 2)’ and ‘colours 2)’.

In US army usage, the flag of a military formation not entitled to bear colours – see ‘parade flag’ (also ‘colour 2)’ and ‘colours 2’).

The gonfanon of St Denis, the war flag of medieval France and reputedly adapted from that of Charlemagne. The exact design is uncertain and has been variously described; however, it was almost certainly of red silk, possibly triple-tailed and charged with a number of gold disks surrounded by red roses outlined in blue – the auriflamma (see also ‘gonfanon’).

[Oriflamme interpretation]
One interpretation of the Oriflamme (CS)

See ‘type flag’.

In German, Central European and some other usage, the term which covers a vertically orientated commercial flag that is fixed both along its hoist to the flagpole and along the top edge to a horizontal arm (but see also ‘framed flag’).

Please note that this type of flag is also a framed flag, that the term used here is a direct translation of the German plural auslegerflaggen, and should not be confused with a flag hung from an outrigger pole.

The term for a flagpole that projects from the side of a building at an upward angle, usually equipped with a halyard but is sometimes removable and fitted with clips to attach the flag directly (see also ‘halyard’ and ‘tangle rod’).

1) On flags, a term used when a charge (generally but not exclusively reaching the edges of the flag) is placed over another design, as in for example, the bend on the Artigas flag of Uruguay (see also ‘charge’).
2) In heraldry, the term can be used when a charge is placed over other charges, or over a parti-coloured field, or when an escutcheon is placed over four or more quarters (see also ‘escutcheon’, ‘inescutcheon’ and ‘quarter’).

overall examples
From left: The Artigas Flag, Uruguay (fotw); Shield (CS)

Please note – not to be confused with dressing overall (see ‘dress ship’).