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Dictionary of Vexillology: W (Waft [Weft] - Wyn)

Last modified: 2006-09-30 by phil nelson
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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A term, how obsolete, for a flag tied in a knot and displayed at sea as a signal of some emergency (see also ‘flag of distress’).

In UK usage a term, last used in 1853 and now obsolete, for a small white triangular flag seen on military drums at a proclamation of war (see also ‘bannerette’).

See ‘naval ensign’ listed under ‘ensign’.

1) An alternative term for the naval ensign.
2) A term - and a direct translation of Reichskriegsflagge or bandera de Guerra - for that flag (different from the national flag) flown by a country’s armed services, which is usually (but not invariably) the same design as the naval ensign and/or state flag (see also ‘state flag’, and ‘naval ensign/war ensign’ under ‘ensign’).

[Imperial Germany War flag]
War Flag/Naval Ensign of Bolivia (fotw)

See ‘masthead pennant 1)’.

1) On flags, a plaque, frame or ornament consisting of two or more interlaced branches, and typically used on Croatian flags (see also ‘cartouche’ and ‘ring’).
2) In heraldry, the term refers to the fleshy lobe that grows under the throat of a domestic fowl and in the adjective form is used when the wattle is of a different tincture to the body of the bird concerned.

[Wattle example]
(Željko Heimer)

(adj) Where the edges of a charge on the field of a shield, banner of arms or flag is divided by a wavy line, and usually (but not invariably) symbolic of running water – undy.

[Overijssel flag - wavy]
Flag of Overijssel, Netherlands (Graham Bartram)

(v) To display a flag - said of a ship or any vessel (see also ‘fly 2)’).

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

National Flag of Brunei (fotw)

1) See ‘masthead pennant 2)’.
2) See ‘wimpel’.

In British usage the ensign worn by all vessels of the Royal Navy, and over naval establishments (see also ‘naval ensign’ under ‘ensign’).

[White Ensign]
The British White Ensign (Graham Bartram)

See ‘flag of truce’ (also ‘dinner flag’).

1) That dimension of a flag which is measured vertically from its upper to its lower edge (see also ‘Appendix I’, ‘fly’, ‘hoist’ and ‘length’).
2) The narrower or shorter dimension of a stripe or band within a flag - howsoever orientated (see also ‘stripe’).
3) The vertical height of an emblem, arms, shield, charge or badge when it appears on a flag – but see the note below, ‘height’ and ‘width across’ (also ‘badge’, ‘charge’, ‘emblem’ 'establishment of arms' and ‘shield’).

width example

Please note that definition 3) is given with regard to the consistent use of proportions when describing a flag and its charges, however, it is suggested that when giving the actual dimensions of any such charge the word ‘height’ should be used for its vertical measurement and the phrase ‘width across’ for its horizontal size (see also ‘dimensions’ and ‘proportions’).

The horizontal measurement of an emblem, shield, charge or badge when detailing the dimensions – but see ‘width 3)’ (also ‘dimensions’, ‘height’ and ‘proportions’)
A system of signalling, now obsolete, in which a single flag was waved according to an established code (see also ‘Morse code signalling with flags’ and ‘semaphore’).

See 'A pennant in national/livery colours or with a simplified charge, that is flown in place of a national or other flag to avoid the appearance of an empty flag pole - especially popular in Northern Europe and Scandinavia but increasingly used in the UK (see also ‘charge’, ‘livery colours’, ‘national colours 2)’, ‘national flag’ and ‘flag pole’). '.

[wimple - Denmark]
The Wimple of Denmark (fotw)

Please note that this term (or slight variations thereof) means pennant in several European languages, but has been adopted into English language vexillology in this context – and with the meaning given above - only.

1) A flag-shaped like a sleeve, attached at the open end to a ring and pole, and partially closed at the other – characteristic of traditional societies and modern Japan (see also ‘draco’, ‘dragon flag’ and ‘ring’).
2) As above and generally brightly coloured, but usually fully open at the fly end, tapered and used at airports (largely) to indicate wind direction.

1) On flags, in largely (but not exclusively) Hungarian and other central/eastern European usage, a band of inward pointing, connected triangles either curved, wavy or straight-sided and forming a border on one or more usually two, three or four sides of a flag (see also ‘serrated’).
2) In European heraldry, a charge formed by a series of generally curved triangles issuing from the edges of a shield or banner of arms.

wolf teeth flags
From left: The War Flag of Hungary; COA (westkingdom); The Flag of Budapest, Hungary (fotw)

Please note, the term may also be applied where the fly edge of a flag is saw-toothed as illustrated above.

See ‘church pennant’.

1) On flags, two semi-circular crossed branches of varying types of intertwined or plain foliage with or without flowers, that are tied with a ribbon at their crossing point but generally open at the top (see also ‘garland’).
2) In heraldry, a twisted band in the livery colours of a shield, generally placed on top of the helmet and below the crest in a full set of armorial bearings – a torse (see also ‘Appendix IV’, ‘armorial bearings’, ‘coat of arms’, 'crest' and ‘shield’).

Please note that a circlet composed of foliage is called a chaplet or garland in heraldry (see also ‘civic crown 2)’ and ‘crown triumphal’).

The silver replica of a laurel garland – or crown triumphal - placed at the head of the colour pike or staff of certain British and Canadian regiments in commemoration of particular distinction in action (see also ‘colour 2)’, 'colours 2)', ‘crown triumphal’, ‘garland’, ‘pike’ and ‘staff 2)’.

The exact details are conjectural, but considered to be have been an alternative term, now obsolete, for a lance pennon (see also ‘pennon 2)’).