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Armorial Gold's Heraldry Dictionary

This heraldry dictionary is based on the works of Elvin (edited by Marvin Beatty) from his original manuscript of 1879. Corrections have been made, and additions from the Armorial Gold Library have been added. You are welcome to use this heraldry dictionary as a reference tool without fee. This is copyrighted material and as such may not be reproduced in "any way" without the expressed written permission of Armorial Gold. Thank You for your Cooperation.
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Heraldry Dictionary Section D

Dagger. A short sword.

Daisy. A flower.

Damasked, Diapre or Diapered. See Diaper.

Dancette or Dancettée. The largest indenting in Coat-Armour, and its points never exceed three.

Dancette couped or Fesse dancette couped of two pieces. Also termed a Fesse Emaunche couped.

Danche and Dentelle. Same as Indented.

Dancy. See Dancette.

Danish Axe. Termed Danish-hatchet.

Danse. See Dancette.

Dantelle. Same as Dancette.

Dappled. Marked with spots.

Dart. See Spear.

Date. Palm Tree.

Date, slipped. A branch of the Date Tree.

Dauncette, Dauncy or Daunse. Same as Dancette.

Daw. A bird.

Death's-Head. Morts head, or Human skull.

Debased, Everted, Reversed, Subverted and Subvertant. Terms to express anything turned downwards from its proper position.

Debruised. A term to express any animal or bird, when an ordinary is placed over it. The term also applies to any charge over part of which another is placed.

Debruised. Applied to serpents in the folding, expresses whether the head or tail is overlaid, or debruised by the other parts.

Decapite or Deffait. Signifies Couped.

Dechausse, Disjointed or Dismembered. The parts being cut off from the body, and placed at small distances still preserving the original shape.

Decked. Adorned or ornamented.

Decked or Marguette. Is said of an eagle or other bird, when the feathers are trimmed at the edges with a small line of another colour.

Declinant or Declivant. Also termed pendant, recurvant, and reclinant; applied to the serpent borne with the tail straight downwards.

Decollated. The head cut off.

Decorated. Charges may be decorated with heads of different animals; if with those of serpents they are said to be gringolly, or gringolée. If with lions, leonced; if eagles, aquilated; if with peacocks, pavonated.

Decorations of Honour. See Knighthood and Medals.

Decouple or Uncoupled. Parted, or severed.

Decours or Decrement. See Decrescent.

Decrescent. The half-moon looking to the sinister.

Deer. See Stag.

Defamed. Being without a tail.

Defences. The horns of a stag; the tusks of a boar, etc.

Defendee, Defendu or Defendre. Same as Armed.

Deffait. Couped.

Degenerate. Applied to an eagle at gaze, aloft, wings surgiant, and left foot raised.

Degoutte. Same as Guttee.

Degradation of Honour. See Abatement.

Degraded. A cross degraded, has steps, or degrees; also termed grieced.

Degrees. Steps.

Dejected. Cast down, as a garb dejected or dejectant.

Delf, Delph or Delft. Is a square sod of earth, or turf. When the colour is tenne, it is the abatement due to the revoker of his challenge. When more than one is borne in a coat, they are called Delves.

De-lis. Contraction for Fleur-de-lis.

Delves. See Delf.

Demembre, Dechausse, Dismembered, Demembred, Derrache or Disjointed. See Dechausse.

Denche. Same as Dancetty.

Demi or Demy. Signifies one half.

Dentals, Dented, Dentels or Dentelle. See Indented.

Dented. A term sometimes used to express the teeth of an animal

Denticules, Denticles or Denticulated. Small square pieces.

Depending. Hanging from.

Depressed. See Debruised.

Descending. A term used for a lion with its head turned towards the base of the shield.

Descent. Is when any beast is borne as if springing from a higher to a lower part, as from chief to base.

Despectant or Dejectant. Looking downwards.

Despouille. The whole skin of a beast, with head, feet, tail, etc.

Detranche. A line drawn bendways, either above or below the party per bend line.

Detriment. The moon is said to be in her detriment when in Eclipse.

Developed. Unfurled, as colours flying.

Device. Any representation, emblem, or hieroglyphic; a painted metaphor.

Devouring or Gorging. Applied to animals, fish, etc., in the act of swallowing anything.

Dewlaps. Wattles. See Wattled.

Dexter. The right hand side of the escutcheon, i.e. the left to the spectator.

Dexter-Chief. The upper left point of the escutcheon.

Dexter-Base. The lower left point of the escutcheon.

Dexter-Side. A portion of the shield, one sixth of its breadth, cut off by a perpendicular line.

Dez. A die. See Dice.

Diadem. The fillets, or circles of gold, which close on the tops of the Crowns of Sovereigns, and support the mound. The Torso, or Band, on a Blackamoor's head is sometimes termed a Diadem.

Diadematee or Diademed. A term applied to the imperial double headed eagle, which bears a circlet, or diadem differing from the kingly crown.

Diamond. A precious stone; used in blazon to express Sable.

Dial. A sun dial, hour-glass or sand-glass.

Diaper, Diapre, Diapered or Diapering. Formerly used, in arms painted on glass. It was covering the field with little squares, and filling them with a variety of figures, or with a running ornament according to the fancy of the painter.

Dibble. A pointed instrument used for making holes for planting seed.

Dice. Pieces of bone, or ivory, of a cubical form marked with dots on each face.

Didapper. A bird.

Die. See Dice.

Diffame or Defamed. An animal, borne without a tail.

Differences or Brisures. Certain additions to Coat Armour in order to distinguish one branch of a family from another. See Cadency and Distinction of Houses.

Differencing. Sometimes used in the same sense as Cadency; but, strictly, it is distinct, having reference to alliance and dependency, without blood relationship, or to the system adopted for distinguishing Coats of Arms.

Digging-Iron. A spade.

Dijrid. A javlin.

Dilated. Opened widely, or extended. Applied to Barnacles, pair of Compasses, etc.

Dimidiation or Dimidiated. A term used to express anything which has a part cut off, a halving; a method of joining two coats of arms; and was formerly used in joining the arms of a husband and wife. Three herrings were the ancient arms of Great Yarmouth, at a subsequent period, as a mark of Royal favour, the arms of England were borne in chief, and in base az. three herring's naiant two and one argent; but when the fashion of Dimidiation was introduced the Royal arms were placed on the dexter side, and those of Yarmouth on the sinister, by which means the fore parts of the lions of England became joined to the hind parts of the herrings of Yarmouth.

Diminution of Arms. A term used instead of differences.

Diminutives. This term is only applied to the modifications of certain of the Ordinaries which resemble them in form, but are inferior to them in breath, and should not be charged. Of the Bar; Closet, Barrulet and Bar-Gemel; The Bend; Garter, Cost, and Eibbon; The Bend Sinister; Scarpe, and Baton; The Bordure; Orle, and Treasure; The Cheveron; Chevronal and Couple-close; The Flasque; Voider; The Pale; Pallet and Endorse.

Dirk. A Dagger.

Disarmed. An animal or bird is so termed when depicted without claws, teeth, or beak.

Disclosed. A term to express the wings of an eagle, or other bird, spread open on either side of the head, with the points downwards; it is also termed Overt, Flotant, Hovering, and wings displayed inverted.

Disclosed, Elevated or Rising. It is also termed Rowsant, or wings extended and stretched out.

Dishevelled. The hair flowing loosely.

Disipline. See Scourge.

Disjointed. A Chevron is said to be disjointed when its blanches are sawn asunder.

Dismembered. An animal depicted without legs or tail; this term is also used in the sense of disjointed or Trononnee.

Displayed. A term to express the position of the wings of eagles, etc., when expanded, or disclosed.

Displayed recursant or Tergiant. The wings crossing each other, sometimes termed backward displayed, the wings crossing.

Displuming. A plucking of feathers, the same as Preying.

Disposed or Disponed. Arranged.

Distillatory. Double armed.

Distilling or Shedding. In Heraldry and in old English is equivalent to "dropping with" or sending forth.

Distinction of Houses, Differences, Brizures or Marks of Cadency. Are used to distinguish the younger from the elder branches of a family, and to show from what line each is descended. Thus in Modern Heraldry the Eldest son, during his Father's lifetime, bears a Label, the second a Crescent, the third a Mullet, the fourth a Martlet, etc. These distinctions are placed in the shield at the middle chief, or in a quarterly coat at the fess point. See Cadency. In the case of the Royal Family, each member bears the Label, extending across the shield; the points of which are variously charged, and are borne on the crest and supporters.

Distinguished Service Order. By the Statutes of the Order, which was created by Royal Warrant bearing date 6. Sep., 1886, none but Naval and Military Commissioned Officers are eligible for the distinction, and it is necessary that their services shall have been marked by the special mention of their names in despatches for meritorious or distinguished service in the Field, or before the enemy. Foreign Officers under certain circumstances are eligible to be honory members. Companions of this Order take rank immediately after Companions of the Order of the Indian Empire. The badge to consist of a gold Cross enamelled white, within a wreath of laurel enamelled green, the Imperial Crown in Gold, upon a red enamelled ground, and on the reverse, within a similar wreath and similar red ground the cypher V.E.I, to be worn suspended from the left breast by a red ribbon edged, blue of one inch in width.

Disvelloped. Displayed, or open, as a banner displayed.

Diver. Curly-Headed.

Diverse. A term used to express the position of three swords when placed in pairle.

Diving or Urinant. Any fish, borne with its head downwards, more commonly blazoned reversed.

Division. The dividing of the field by any of the partition lines.

Doe. The Female deer. 

Dog-fish. A species of shark.

Dogs. The Dog or Hound is very commonly met with in Heraldry, and when simply blazoned "Dog" is depicted as "hound." Those of most frequent use are the Talbot and Greyhound; also Alant, Bloodhound, Bulldog, Pointer, Mastiff, etc.

Dolphin. Generally drawn naiant embowed, and therefore unnecessary to name it. But if borne hauriant or torqued, or in any other position, it must be mentioned. The Dolphin, in Heraldry, seems originally to have conveyed an idea of Sovereignty. The first of the Troubadours was called the Dauphin, or Knight of the Dolphin, from bearing that figure on his shield. The Dolphin appears to have been employed on early Greek coins as an emblem of the sea. Vespasian had medals struck with a dolphin entwining an anchor, in token of the naval superiority of Borne. Dolphin in Archaeology the emblen of swiftness, diligence, and love.

Dominion, Arms of. See Arms of Dominion.

Donjonne or Dungeoned. Said of a Tower which has an inner tower rising above its battlements.

Dormant. Sleeping.

Dors and Dors Endorsed. Back to back.

Dossers. See Water-Bouget.

Double Arched. Having two arches or bends.

Double Eagle. See Spread Eagle.

Double Nowed or Nowyed. A bend double nowed.

Double Parted. Divided into two.

Double Pointed Dart. See Spear.

Double Queued. Having two tails.

Double-Teta. Having two heads.

Double Topped. Sprigs or branches having two tops from one stem.

Double Torqued. The folding of a Serpent in the form of two Roman S's, one above the other.

Doublings. The linings of the mantle, or lambrequin.

Dove. The emblem of Peace and Chastity. As an Heraldic crest generally depicted with the olive branch in its beak.

Dovetail. A tenon made by letting one piece, in the form of a dove's tail into a corresponding cavity in another.

Dragon. A Fabulous creature, represented as a strong and fierce animal.

Dragon's Head. When arms are blazoned by the planets, Dragon's head implies Tawney.

Dragon's Tail. In blazon implies Murrey colour, or Sanguine.

Dragony or Dragonne. A term applied to a Wivern whose head and tail are of a different tincture from its body.

Drake. See Duck.

Drapeau. An ensign, or standard.

Drawing-Board. Same as Grose.

Drawing-Iron. An instrument used by wiredrawers.

Droped. Same as Guttée.

Dropping or Shedding. See Distilling.

Drops. See Guttée.

Ducal Coronet. Is depicted with three strawberry leaves. With more, they must be named. e.g. a Ducal Coronet of five leaves. The Ducal coronet has recently received the name of Crest-Coronet.

Duchess. The wife of a Duke, her Coronet the same as that of her husband. She is styled "Your Grace," and is "Most Noble."

Duciper. A Chapeau.

Duck. A Water-fowl. When represented without either beak or feet is termed Cannet.

Dufoil or Twyfoil. Having only two leaves.

Dug. See Woman's Breast.

Duke. The highest order of the English Nobility. The first Duke of England, properly so called, was Edward the Black Prince, who was called Duke of Cornwall in 1337, and the first born son of the Sovereign of England is Duke of Cornwall from his birth. The title is hereditary, and a Duke's eldest son is by courtesy styled Marquess, and the younger sons Lords, with the addition of their Christian name. The daughters of a Duke are styled Ladies.

Duke's Mantle. Is distinguished by having four guards or rows of fur on the dexter side. See Robe.

Dung-Hill Cock. See Cock.

Duparted. The same as Biparted.

Dun-Fly. The same as Gad-Fly.

Dwal. An herb; also called nightshade, and in blazon signifies sable.

Dyke. A wall fesswise broken down in some places, is blazoned a "Dyke" and borne by the name of Graham.



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The Heraldry Dictionary by Armorial Gold Heraldry Services is provided as a free resource tool for Heraldry enthusiasts. The Heraldry Dictionary and the information contained therein, has been researched through original manuscripts and Armorial Gold’s own sources.  Reproduction in any form is prohibited. All rights reserved.