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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 P

P. Sometimes used for the word Purpure.

Pack. See Wool-Pack.

Pago. See Alpaca.

Pail. Variously depicted.

Paille. Diapered, and variegated.

Paissant. See Browsing.

Palata. In pale.

Pale. One of the honourable ordinaries, formed by two perpendicular lines drawn from top to bottom of the shield.

Pale, per or Per-pale. When the field or charge is divided by a centre line drawn perpendicularly from top to bottom.

Paled. The same as Impaled.

Palet or Pallet. A diminutive of the Pale being one half of it.

Palewise or Paleways. When figures are placed in Pale.

Palisado-Coronet. Composed of upright pieces, like pales, pointed and fixed upon a rim.

Palisse or Palissy. Represents a stockade, or row of stakes with intervals between them, placed before a fortification.

Pall. An archiepiscopal vestment, is borne as a charge in the arms of the Sees of Canterbury, Armagh and Dublin.

Pall, per. A division of the field by a single line in the form of a pall.

Pallas' Head. A woman's head in armour.

Pallet or Palet. A dimumtive of the Pale.

Pallicum. See Pall.

Palmer or Pilgrims were soldiers that had served in the Crusades or holy war. They were so called because they generally brought home a branch of palm of the growth of Palestine, and wore it as a sacred badge and token that they had performed their vows, either by fighting against the infidels, or visiting the Holy Sepulchre.

Paly. A term to express the field or any bearing when divided into any number of equal pieces by perpendicular lines.

Paly-Counterpaly. Same as paly per-fesse counter changed.

Paly and Fesse of Nine. Is the shield divided into nine equal squares.

Pame. Langued.

Pampillettee. See Papelonne.

Panache. An upright plume of more than three rows of feathers, generally of a Cock or Swan, was not unfrequent, particularly at the period shortly before the assumption of more distinctive crests.

Panes. Pieces. The same as chequy of nine panes, or paly and fesse of nine. i.e. the shield divided into nine equal squares.

Pannes. Same as Pean.

Papingoe, Papegay. See Parrot.

Panoply. Complete armour.

Pansey. Pansy or Hearts' Ease.

Panther. In Heraldry, always drawn guardant, and incensed; i.e. with fire issuing from its mouth and ears.

Papal-Crown, Tiara or Triple-Crown. A long red cap, surmounted by a mound and cross pattee; round this cap are three Marquesses coronets of gold, placed one above the other; from the inside issue two ribbons fringed.

Papegay. See Parrot.

Papelonne or Pampillettee. A term to denote the field or charge, covered with a figure like the scales of a fish.

Papillone. See Papelonne.

Parer. Same as Butteris.

Paring Knife. A currier's shave.

Parlantes, Arms of. See Allusive Arms.

Paraquet. A small sort of parrot. See Parrakeet.

Parrakeet. One of the prettiest and most interesting birds of the parrot tribe.

Parrot, Popinjay or Papegay. A gregarious bird. The parrot, when blazoned proper, is green, beaked and membered gules.

Parted. Divided.

Parted, Double or Biparted, Triple or Triparted, Quarter or Caterparted, and Cinqueparted. Terms used for the field, or charge divided into two, three, four, or five parts.

Partie or Party. Signifies divided, applied to all divisions of the field, or any figure when divided by those particular lines.

Partisan or Partizan. See Halbert.

Partition Lines. See Divisions of the Shield.

Partitions. Are the several divisions made in a coat when the arms of several families are borne in one shield. See Quarterings.

Partizan. See Halbert.

Partridge. A bird of game.

Paschal Lamb, or Holy Lamb. Is depicted, pass, carrying a flag charged with the cross of St. George, and circle of glory over its head.

Pascuant or Pasquant. A term used for stags, sheep, etc., when feeding. See Browsing.

Passans. See Passant.

Passant. A term used for lions or other beasts in a walking position. Passant does not apply to the deer kind. See Trippant.

Passant, Counter-passant. Two beasts walking in opposite directions.

Passant Guardant. Walking with head affrontee.

Passant Reguardant. Walking and looking back.

Passant Repassant. The same as Counter passant; that is one animal walking to the sinister, and the other to the dexter.

Passaunz. Passant.

Passe en sautoir. A term to express any thing borne in saltier.

Passion Cross. A long cross.

Passion, shield of the. See Instruments of the Passion.

Pastoral-Staff. This is often, but erroneously, called a crozier.

Paternal Arms. The original arms of a family.

Pater-Noster or Nostree. A cross of beads.

Patrick, St. Order of Knighthood. See Knighthood, Arms of.

Patronage. See Arms of Patronage.

Patten. A clog.

Pattes. The paws of any beast.

Paul, St., Sword of. The dagger in the arms of the City of London is sometimes so called, St. Paul being the patron saint of the city.

Pauldron. Armour for the shoulder.

Paumy. See Apaume.

Pavache or Targate. Was a large buckler, forming an angle in front like the ridge of a house, and large enough to cover the tallest man from head to foot. Sometimes they were emblazoned and home in state, and were usually introduced into funeral trophies.

Pavas or Pavise. A large shield which almost covered the person.

Pavilion or Tabernacle. An oblong tent with projecting entrance.

Pavon. A Iong flag tapering from about half a yard to a point.

Paw. The foot of a lion, bear, seal, etc., cut off at the first joint.

Peacock. And parts of this bird are frequently borne in Heraldry. The Peacock is used in ecclesiastical decoration, and symbolises power and omniscience.

Pea-Rise. A pea stalked with leaves and flowers.

Peal or Peel. A tool used by bakers for drawing bread out of the oven.

Pean. One of the furs, the ground of which is black, powdered with ermine spots of gold.

Pearched or Pearching. See Perched.

Pearl. In Heraldry is used to express white.

Pecys. An old term meaning quarters.

Peded. A term to express the feet of aquatic birds when of a different tincture to the body.

Pedistal. The compartment, or carved ornament, upon which supporters stand.

Pedigree. A register of a line of ancestors. See also Genealogy.

Peer. A Nobleman who has a seat and vote in the House of Lords; and, although the Peers differ in order of precedence, yet as Peers of the Realm they are equal in all political privileges.

Peer's Robe. See Robe.

Pegasus. A winged-horse. The Emblem of Fame.

Pelican. The Heraldic Pelican is represented with her wings endorsed, if not mentioned to the contrary, her neck embowed, pecking her breast, from whence issue drops of blood; and in blazon is termed vulned, or vulning. When depicted in her nest is termed in her piety. The Emblem of Charity.

Pellet or Ogress. Roundle-sable. Also termed Gunstone.

Pellettee, Pelletty or Pelletye. Strewed with Pellets, also termed Semée of Pellets.

Pen. A quill pen.

Pencel, Pencell or Pensell. A small streamer or pennon.

Pendant. A term applied to anything hanging down, as the badge of any order pendant to the collar or ribbon.

Pendant. A small Standard.

Penguin. A web-footed marine bird.

Pennant. A long narrow banner with the Cross of St. George in the head. The Broad Pennant is a swallow-tailed flag.

Penned. See Quilled.

Penner and Ink-Horn. A case for holding pens and ink.

Penon or Pennon. A Lance Flag, ending in one or more sharp points.

Pennocles, Pennoncelle or Pencils. Small streamers or flags.

Penny-yard-pence. A small coin, stamped with a cross moline betw. twelve balls.

Pens. Such as are used to write with.

Pensile. See Pennoncles.

Pentagon, also termed the Mystic Pentagon. A star of five points composed of five A's interlaced with the word salus inscribed at its angles. The Pentagon the symbol of health.

Pepingoe. See Popingay. 

Per. Denotes a partition of the field or charge, as Per-Bend, Per-Chevron, Per-Fesse, Per-Pale, etc.

Percee. Same as Cleeche.

Perch. Rest for Falcon.

Perch. A fish.

Perched or Perching. Said of a bird when in a sitting position upon a branch, or other thing.

Perclose or Per-Close. A Demi Garter.

Perculaced. The same as Latticed.

Percussant or Percussed. A term applied to the tail of an animal when lying on the back or side.

Perflewed, Purfled, or Purflewed. See Purfled.

Perforated. The same as Pierced.

Peri or Pery. Perished. Term used to denote that the thing to which it is applied is deficient in some of its parts.

Periwinkles or Welks. Shells.

Perpendiculum. An angle and plumbline.

Perspective. Used to express division lines as barry-paly in prospect or perspective.

Pertransient. Passing through.

Petasus. See Mercurys Cap.

Petronel. An ancient name for a pistol.

Pewit. A bird.

Pheon. The barbed head of a dart, or an arrow, frequently borne in Coats of Arms, depicted in various ways.

Phoenix. An imaginary bird, always represented issuing from flames. Emblematic of the Resurrection.

Pheasant. A bird of game.

Phyal, Phial or Vial. A small glass bottle.

Picote. Speckled.

Piddle or Dunpiddle. A Kite, borne by the name of Piddle. See Kite.

Pied. Spotted.

Pierced. When any ordinary or charge is perforated, the piercing is always understood to be circular, unless otherwise described. The term Pierced is also applied to animals when wounded with an arrow, spear, etc.

Piercer. See Wine Piercer.

Pigeon. A bird.

Pignon. The same as per-chev., embattled.

Pignonne. Turreted.

Pike or Luce. A fish.

Pilchard. A fish.

Pile. See Roman-pilum.

Pile or Pyle. One of the ordinaries.

Pily-paly. A division of the field in the form of piles, reaching from the top to the bottom.

Pillar. The same as Column.

Pillow, Cushion, or Oreilliers. Is a cushion with tassels. The Norman Cushions were called Carreaux, from their square or diamond shape, as you see them placed under the heads of the recumbent effigies of the twelvth and thirteenth centuries.

Pincers. A tool.

Pineapple. Also termed Ananas.

Pinioned. Refers to the quill of a wing when of a different tincture from the feathers.

Pinnace. In Heraldry, an open boat with oars.

Pinzon. A Finch, or chaffinch.

Pipe. A musical instrument.

Pismire. See Ant.

Pitcher. Same as Ewer.

Pitch-pot. See Beacon.

Pithon. A winged serpent.

Placcate. A piece of armour worn over the breast-plate to strengthen it.

Placque. An Herald's Tabard.

Plaice. A fish.

Plain. An ordinary is sometimes (although not necessarily) blazoned plain, when charged with another engrailed.

Plaisse or Plaissa. See Palisse.

Plaited. Fretted or interlaced.

Plane. A Joiner's tool.

Planet. The Astronomical symbol of Mars, Uranus and Venus, are borne by the families of Wimble, Herschel and Thoyts. Planets are used by some heralds to blazon the arms of Kings.

Plants. In great variety are found in coat armour, e.g. Cyanus, Fern, Tobacco, etc.

Plate. A round, flat piece of silver.

Plattee. Strewed with Plates. Same as semée of plates.

Platted or Plaited. Interlaced or tied.

Playing tables. Also termed Backgammon tables.

Plenitude. This term is applied to the moon when in her complement.

Plie. The same as close applied to birds with the wing's close to the body.

Ploye. Bowed or bent, sometimes applied to a serpent when nowed.

Plumb-Rule and Plumb-Rule reversed. See Plummet.

Plumby. Same as purple.

Plume. Plume of Feathers consists of three. If more, it must be expressed as a plume of such a number. The plume of five feathers is also termed a bush of feathers. Sometimes one plume is placed above another, it is then termed either a double plume, or a plume of two heights. If compossed of three rows, one above the other, it is termed a triple plume, or a plume of three heights, and should be composed of twelve feathers, of which five are placed in the bottom row, four in the nest, and three in the top row. If the quills are of a different tincture from the feathers the tincture must be named, and the feather is termed either quilled, penned, or shafted. The Badge of the Prince of Wales consists of a plume of ostrich feathers ar. quilled or., enfiled with a Prince's coronet of the last, with an escroll az, thereon the words "Ich Dien " in gold. See Panache.

Plumed. Feathered.

Plumetty. When the field is divided into fusils, filled with the ends of feathers, and depicted in metal and colour, alternately. The proper blazon of which, is fusily or. and gu., diapered with feathers counterchanged.

Pluming or Pruning. Applied to birds when dressing their feathers.

Plummet. An instrument used by masons, etc.

Pod or Cod. The case of seeds.

Poesy. A motto.

Poignard. A short sword.

Point, Base, Baste, or Base-Bar. Is the base of the shield cut off by a horizontal line, and blazoned a Plain Point. The Point may be of any of the accidental forms of lines. When borne Pointed it should be so expressed. It may be on either side of the escutcheon, and is then termed a Point dexter, or sinister.

Point Escartelled. A plain Point with a square piece cut out, or notched in the centre of the upper line. A Point with one embattlement differs from the last in having a projection of a square form instead of an indenture.

Point in Point. Also termed a Graft and Gusset.

Points. Three, Four or five. The Ancient Blazon of the field, divided into as many parts, but each part must be of a distinct colour.

Point in point. A term applied to indentings, when extending from one side of the ordinary to the other, as a Fesse per fesse indented point in point.

Point. A tool used by wire-drawers.

Pointe. A term for leaved.

Pointed. Same as Fitched.

Pointer. See Dog.

Points. The rays or points of a star, or mullet, etc.

Points of the Escutcheon. The different parts of the shield denoting the position of the charges.

Pointz de six. As ung escu de six pointz, the same as paly of three parted per fesse.

Poisson. See Marined.

Poix, guttée de. Black drops.

Pole-star. The same as Estoile.

Poleyns or Genouilliéres. Steel Kneepieces.

Pomee, Pommettee, Pommellee or Pommy. When the extremities terminate in knobs.

Pomeis. Green roundles.

Pomel or Pommel. The round knob at the extremity of the handle of a sword. See Sword.

Pomelt and Hyltte anowyd. An old term for pommel and hilt gold.

Pomette or Nowed. Having circular projections in the middle of each arm on a cross.

Pomey or Pome. A roundle vert.

Pope's Crown. Papal Crown, Tiara, or Triple Crown.

Popinjay. A small green parrot, with red beak and legs. See Parrot.

Porcupine. A rodent quadruped, furnished with spines.

Portante or Portrate. See Portate.

Portate. A cross so called, from its position being saltierways.

Port or Portal. The door or gate of a castle.

Portcullis or Herse. A machine composed of cross bars. It was hung by chains before the gates of fortified places, and its perpendicular bars were spiked at the bottom; the chains by which it hung are usually attached.

Portcullis. The title of one of the Pursuivants of Arms.

Porthole. Same as Loop-hole.

Pose or Posed. Same as Statant.

Possenet. See Water-bouget.

Pot-inflamed. Same as Fire-chest.

Pot. Also termed Porridge Pot. A vessel with three feet.

Pot. A term sometimes applied to a steel-cap.

Potence. Sams as Potent.

Potency counter-potency, or Potency in point. The same as potent counter potent.

Potent. Resembles the head of a crutch.

Potented or Potentée. Applied to ordinaries when the outer edges are formed into potents.

Pouch. A Purse.

Pouldron. The name of that part of a suit of armour which covers the shoulders.

Pounce. A perforated sketch used by Herald Painters by means of which the drawing is transferred unto a panel, silk, or other material.

Pounce. The talon of a bird of prey.

Pouncing. See Preying.

Pounders. The tufts of Erminites so termed.

Pour enquirir. See Armes pour enquirir.

Powdered. Same as Semée.

Powdyrdye. Same as powdered, or Semée.

Powts or Tadpoles. Young frogs.

Poynt. An old term for per-cheveron.

Ppr., or ppr. A contraction of proper.

Prancing. Same as rearing, applied to the horse.

Prasin. A term used by some heralds for vert, or green.

Praying. An angel in the act of praying.

Precedence. The taking place according to the degree, rank, or station in life. The Order of Precedency: The Sovereign. The Prince of Wales. The Queen's younger Sons. Grandsons of the Sovereign. The Archbishop of Canterbury. The Lord High Chancellor. The Archbishop of York. The Lord President of the Council. The Lord Privy Seal. The Lord Great Chamberlain. The Earl Marshal. The Lord Steward of Her Majesty's Household. The Lord Chamberlain. The last four rank above all Peers of their own degree. Dukes, according to their Patents of Creation. 1. Of England. 2. Of Scotland. 3. Of Great Britain. 4. Of Ireland. 5. Those created since the Union. Marquises according to their Patents, in the same order as Dukes. Dukes' eldest Sons. Earls, according to their Patents, in the same order as Dukes. Marquises' eldest Sons. Dukes' younger Sons. Viscounts, according to their Patents, in the same order as Dukes. Earls' eldest Sons. Marquises' younger Sons. Bishops of London, Durham, and Winchester. All other English bishops, according to their seniority of Consecration. Bishops of the Irish Church, created before 1869, according to seniority. Secretaries of State, if of the degree of a Baron. Barons, according to their Patents, in the same order as Dukes. Speaker of the House of Commons. Treasurer of H.M.'s Household. Comptroller of H.M.'s Household. Master of the Horse. Vice-Chamberlain of Household. Secretaries of State under the degree of Barons. Viscounts' eldest Sons. Earls' younger Sons. Barons' eldest Sons. Knights of the Garter. Privy Councillors. Chancellor of the Exchequer. Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Lord Chief Justice Queen's Bench. Master of the Rolls. The Lords Justices of Appeal. Lords of Appeal. Judges according to seniority. Viscounts' younger Sons. Barons' younger Sons. Baronets of England, Scotland, Ireland, and United Kingdom, according to date of Patents. Knights of the Thistle. Knights of .St. Patrick. Knights Grand Cross of the Bath. Knights Grand Commanders of the Star of lndia. Knights Grand Crosis of St. Michael and St. George. Knights Grand Commanders of the Indian Empire. Knights Commanders of the Bath. Knights Commanders of the Star of India. Knights Commanders of St. Michael and St. George. Knights Commanders of the Indian Empire. Knights Bachelors. Judges of County Courts. Companions of the Bath. Companions of the Star of India. Companions of St. Michael and St. George. Companions of the Indian Empire. Companions of the Distinguished Service Order Eldest Sons of the younger Sons of Peers. Baronets' eldest Sons. Eldest Sons of Knights: 1. Garter. 2. Thistle. 3. St. Patrick. 4. The Bath. 5. Star of India. 6. St. Michael & St. George. 7. Indian Empire. 8. Knights Bachelors. Younger Sons of the younger Sons of Peers. Baronets' younger Sons. Younger Sons of Knights in the same order as eldest Sons. Esquires. Persons holding the Queen's commission in Civil, Naval, or Military capacity. Members of the Royal Academy of Arts. Barristers. Masters of Arts and Bachelors of Law. Clergymen. Gentlemen entitled to bear arms. Women take the same rank as their husbands, or as their brothers; but the daughter of a peer marrying a Commoner retains her Title as Lady or Honourable. Daughters of Peers rank next immediately after the wives of their elder brothers, and before their younger brothers' wives. Daughters of Peers marrying Peers of lower degree take the same order of precedencv as that of their husbands; thus the daughter of a Duke marrying a Baron degrades to the rank of Baroness only, while her sisters married to commoners retain their rank and take precedence of the Baroness. Merely official rank on the husband's part does not give any similar precedence to the wife. Local precedency. No written code of county or city order of precedence has been promulgated, but naturally in the county the Lord-Lieutenant stands first, and secondly the High Sheriff. In London and other Corporations the Mayor stands first, after him the Sheriffs, Aldermen, Chief Officers, and Livery. At Oxford and Cambridge the High Sheriff takes precedence of the Vice-Chancellor.

Precious Stones. It was formerly the practice of some heralds to blazon the arms of the Nobility by gems, instead of metals and colours, and arms thus blazoned are to be met with in old records.

Preene. An instrument used by clothiers.

Premier. Fr. for first. Used by English Heralds to denote the holder of the most ancient hereditary title in each degree of Nobility.

Pretence. See Escutcheon of Pretence.

Prsyant. See Preying.

Preying. When any beast or bird is standing on its prey in the act of tearing or devouring it. It is sometimes blazoned "Seizing," and when applied to birds "Trussing."

Prick or Pryck-spur. A spur with a single point.

Prickett. A buck in his second year, the points of whose horns are just appearing, borne by the name of Prickett.

Pride, In His. Said of the Peacock with his tail extended. Also of the Turkey-Cock.

Prime. An instrument used by Basket Makers, and borne in their armorial ensigns.

Primrose. An ancient term for the quaterfoil.

Prince. A title of honour, properly belonging to sovereigns or their sons, and anciently given even to Dukes.

Princess. A title of honour belonging to a lady next in rank to a queen. The Daughter of a Sovereign, and Sovereigns son's wives are Princesses.

Proboscis. The trunk of an elephant.

Promening. Same as Pluming.

Proper. A term applied to everything when borne of its natural form and colour.

Proyning and Pruming. The same as Pluming.

Puffed. See Slashed.

Punning arms. See Allusive Arms.

Purple or Purflew. Is the embroidery of a bordure of fur, shaped exactly like vair. When of one row, it is termed Purflewed. When of two counter-purflewed, and when of three, vair.

Purfled, Trimmed or Garnished. A term for the studs and rims of armour being gold.

Purpure. Purple, expressed in engraving by diagonal lines, from left to right.

Pursuivant of Arms. An officer lowest in degree in the College of Arms.

Pycche. An old term for fitched.

Pyle. See Pile.

Pynant and Sayland. The old term for pommel and cross of a sword.

Pyot. A Magpie.

Pyramidways. Of a pyramid form, or rising like a pyramid.

Python. A winged serpent, or dragon.



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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.