- The heraldic term for the colour black (see Appendix III
and rule of tincture).
- SAFE CONDUCT FLAG
- 1) A special flag of internationally recognized design such as that of the
Red Cross, Red Crescent, Red Crystal and others which (by international agreement)
protects personnel engaged in medical succour, ambulances, civil and field hospitals
and hospital ships against military action a Geneva Convention flag (see also
international flag and
- 2) The Red Cross, Red Crescent, Red Crystal and other recognized flag designs
(together with arm brassards or painted symbols) are also used to indicate the
facilities and personnel of these organisations rendering aid to the survivors
and casualties of natural or human disasters (see also
international flag and
Red Cross Flag Red Crescent Flag Red Crystal Flag
Please note that on 8 December 2005 the International
Committee of the Red Cross adopted a Protocol (Protocol III) authorizing a red
crystal (diamond shape) as an additional non-religious and politically neutral
symbol, however, please also note that the flags of the Red Cross and of its associated
organizations are at the same time international flags, safe conduct and Geneva
- ST ANDREWS CROSS
- 1) See saltire.
- 2) A white saltire on a blue field the national flag of
- 3) A blue saltire on a white field the naval ensign of the
Russian Federation (and formerly of the Russian Empire).
Please note that whilst the term St George's Cross
generally refers only to a red cross on a white field, the Cross of St Andrew,
due to a tradition that the saint was crucified on a diagonal cross, has come
to be regarded by many as a saltire of any colour or metal on a field of any colour
or metal. Although this is considered inaccurate in English heraldic or vexillological
usage, it is common in countries and languages where a term equivalent to
saltire does not exist.
- ST GEORGES CROSS
- 1) See cross 1).
- 2) The Cross (as above) of St George - the national flag of
England (and the flag of the ancient Republic of Genoa).
- 3) Any red cross on a white field.
Please note however, that such a cross with arms
of equal length is also a Greek cross (see also
- ST PATRICK'S CROSS
- A red saltire on a white field (see also
'saltire' and 'St Andrew's Cross').
Please note that this saltire has no known links
to the saint, but when adopted for the British Union Flag was a symbol of the
knightly Order of St Patrick (see also
- A cross whose arms are of equal width, which intersect in the centre of the
flag, and which generally run from the upper hoist corner to the lower fly corner, and from
the lower hoist corner to the upper fly corner of a flag, canton or panel (see
panel, 'per saltire'
and St Andrews Cross).
National Flag of Jamaica (fotw)
- SALUTE TO THE FLAG
- That custom, often prescribed by law or regulation, which requires military
personnel to salute and civilians to remove their hats or place the right hand
over their heart when a flag is raised or lowered, or when it passes in parade
(see also flag salute).
- 1) A band of material, usually in the national colours and sometimes bearing
the national arms, worn across the chest by a head of state, especially in South
America, or by civic officials.
- 2) A similar symbol used by political organizations.
The Presidential Sash of Honduras (Eugene Ipavec)
- See serrated (also wolfteeth).
- (adj) Where the edges of a flag are cut into repeated semi-circular shapes.
Please note however, that a division line within
a flag or shield is not scalloped, but is more correctly described as either engrailed
or invected (see engrailed and
- SCANDINAVIAN CROSS
- A cross with arms of equal width, whose horizontal arm runs along the centre
of the flag, but whose vertical arm is off-centred towards the hoist a Nordic
National Flag of Norway (CS)
- A small ecclesiastical banner fixed to the top of a bishops crosier (see
- See 'tugh
- 1) A form of flag where a rectangular or triangular tongue extends from the upper fly
corner of the flag, or where it has a strip along its top edge that extends beyond the fly
to become a tongue (see also 'palm',
stepped fly and
- 2) The tail as described above.
15th C Flag of Zurich, Switzerland (CS)
Please note, it is suggested that in the original German this term refers only to the tail.
- A usually long narrow ribbon normally (but not exclusively) below the shield
from a set of armorial bearings or the national emblem and inscribed with a motto
or the name of a state (see also Appendix IV,
coat of arms,
- An emblem or design representing a government or person that, when embossed
upon or affixed to a document, proves its authenticity or which validates a legal
instrument. The reproduction of an official seal often appears on US sub-national
flags (see also sub-national flag and
state flag 2)).
State Seal of Georgia, US (fotw)
Please note, that whilst a seal originally showed
the users badge or parts of their armorial bearings (and was used to create an
impression on wax or lead), when seen on flags today it is generally not a coat
of arms as defined herein.
- SEAL OF SOLOMON
- See Magen David.
- SECOND COLOUR (or COLOR)
- An old term, now rarely used outside the British and Canadian foot guards,
for the regimental colour (see also
colour 2 and
- A system of signalling by means of two flags hand-held in various positions
according to a recognized code (see also
Morse code signalling with flags and
- 2) A system of signalling by means of movable mechanical arms, now obsolete but
widely used prior to invention of the electric telegraph and a sea sometimes fitted
aboard warships - telegraphing.
- 3) A system of flags, pennants and black shapes hoisted in various positions to
indicate the state and height of the tide in some French ports.
Positions in Semaphore (Jim Croft)
Please note with regard to 2), in British RN usage
ships hoisted a designated semaphore flag to indicate that they were about to make
a signal by means of the mechanical semaphore system.
- SEMAPHORE FLAG
- See 'semaphore 2)', and note.
- An originally heraldic term for where the field of a flag or shield is sown
or strewn over with an indeterminate number of charges such as fleur-de-lis or
National Flag of France 1814 1830 (fotw)
- SEMEION (or SEMEIA)
- A cruciform vexilloid of classical Greece used aboard ship (to indicate command, for
signalling and for identification) and sometimes draped with a phoinikis or purple
cloak/length of cloth (see also standard 5) and
Please note that word semeion had a broad range of meanings in classical
Greek all roughly corresponding to sign (see also signum) and it is accordingly
suggested that the definition given above (whilst based on written sources) must be considered to some
Also please note that semeia is the plural form of semeion, and that classical
Greek writers also refer to barbarian semeia with those of the Phoenicians recorded as having been a globe and
- A fine silk fabric originally used as a field for the finest quality of various
- SENIOR OFFICER AFLOAT PENNANT
- A pennant hoisted to indicate the senior officer's ship when several warships
of the same navy are alongside or at anchor in a port a senior officer present
afloat pennant (see also 'broad pennant',
'command pennant' and
'flag of command').
It should be noted however, that many different designs are in use by different
navies, and that these might also have differing or additional meanings.
From left: Argentina (CS); Estonia (CS); France, French Forces
Please note that a green, white and green square-ended
pennant the starboard pennant in the NATO signal code - is used for this purpose
(at the starboard yardarm) by all warships of the Alliance, but usually only when
there is no flag officer present who is flying his flag afloat. It is, however,
also employed to indicate the senior officer when ships of more than one NATO
navy are present in a port, irrespective of whether any flags of command or broad
pennants are flying.
The NATO Starboard Pennant (CS)
- A saw-toothed line on a shield or flag indented or dancetty (see also
National Flag of Bahrain (fotw)
Please note that the five white points on the flag
of Bahrain (illustrated above) refer to the five pillars of Islam.
- SERVICE FLAG
- 1) See state flag 1) (also state service flag).
- 2) See ensign 2) and government ensign
- 3) In largely US usage, a flag authorized for display by families, employers,
or other organizations to signify that one or more members is serving in the armed
- SHADES OF TINCTURE
- See Appendix III.
- SHEAVED BLOCK
- A nautical term for a pulley, the sheave being the revolving grooved wheel
within the block and on which the halyard runs (see also
Appendix I and
- A term (meaning testimony or approval in Arabic) that refers to the Islamic
statement of faith which appears on several Arab flags, and is usually seen thereon
in its shortened form - La allah illa Allah (wa) Muhammed rasulu Allah or There
is no Deity but God (and) Muhammed is Gods messenger (see also
National Flag of Saudi Arabia (Graham Bartram)
Please note that the full term reads Ashhadu Alla
Ilaha Illa Allah Wa Ashhadu Anna Muhammad Rasulu Allah or "I bear witness that
there is no Deity other than Allah and that Muhammad is his servant and Messenger".
Please note also, that the use of a sacred text on the Saudi flag has resulted
in many restrictions as to its use and appearance.
- 1) In heraldry the shield is the basic element of all armorial bearings, and
forms the field on which the main heraldic charges are displayed. It is always
blazoned first, and is often shown alone an escutcheon (see also
coat of arms and
- 2) On flags as above, but the charge or charges displayed need not be heraldic
in origin, and (usually shown with weapons) is often said to symbolize a willingness
to defend the country.
- A form of flag, now obsolete, where the fly is rounded and comes to a point
(as on the base of a shield).
- SHOULDER PATCH
- See flag patch.
- SIGNAL FLAG
- Any of a number of straight-sided flags as well as various triangular and
squared-ended tapered pennants, of a generally simple, recognized design which,
when flown singly or together are used to transmit messages in an established
code, especially at sea - see
'numeral flag' and
'numeral pennant' (also
'hoist 2)', flags 1),
'International Code of Signal Flags',
yeoman of signals.)
- SIGNAL GROUP
- See hoist 2).
- SIGNAL HOIST
- See hoist 2).
- The bearer of a 'signum' (see signum below).
- SIGNUM (or SIGNA)
- 1) Generically and in the plural (signa) all the vexilla, flags and vexilloids used by the ancient Roman army
(see also draco, eagle 2),
flammula, vexilloid 2) and
- 2) Specifically and in the singular (signum) the vexilloid of a maniple, or subdivision of a Roman legion
(see also vexilloid 2)).
- 3) The similar vexilloids of auxiliary units.
Please note that a maniple was one- third of a cohort (which was itself one-tenth
of a legion) and in the first Century AD a standard maniple would consist of about 160 men.
Also please note that signum is the Latin for sign as semeion was in classical Greek
(see also semeion).
- See company colours.
- SIMPLE PALL
- See pall.
- SIMPLE PILE
- See pile.
- SIMPLE TRIBAND
- See triband 2).
- SIMPLE TRICOLOUR
- See tricolour 2).
- The heraldic term for the left hand side of a flag or shield from the point
of view of the bearer, or the right hand side from the point of view of an observer
(see also dexter).
- SKULL AND CROSS-BONES
- See jolly roger.
- 1) See heading.
- 2) Especially of an indoor flag, parade flag or military colour, a tube of
material at the hoist into which the staff is inserted (see also
tab and staff 2)).
Please note that the increasingly (but by no means entirely) obsolete practice of cutting the
sleeve of a military colour or parade into separate sections (with gaps in between) is almost certainly based on the
earlier use of ties (see also ties).