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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 S  

S. and Sa. Are both used to denote sable.

Sable. Black; in engraving is represented by perpendicular and horizontal lines crossing each other.

Sabre. See Scymetar.

Saddle. A seat for a horseman fitted to a horse's back.

Sagittarius or Sagittary. An Archer. See Centaur.

St. Andrew's Cross is a white saltire.

St. Anthony's Cross. The Cross Tau.

St. George's Cross is a red cross.

St. George's Ensign. See Ensign.

St. John of Jerusalem, The Order of. The Arms, distinguished by a red chief charged with a white cross. See Hospitallers.

St. Patrick's Cross is a red saltire.

St. Paulinus, Cross of. See Saxon Wheel-Cross.

Saker. A hawk. See Sacre.

Salamander. An imaginary animal.

Salient or Saillant. The position of all beasts of prey, when leaping or springing.

Salix. A willow tree.

Salled Headpiece or Salade. An ancient name for the helmet.

Salmon. A fish.

Salmon-Spear. A name sometimes given to the harpoon.

Saltant. A term applied to the Ape, Cat, Greyhound, Monkey, Rat, Squirrel, Weasel, and all Vermin; when in a position of springing forward.

Salterye. See Saltire.

Saltire, Saltier or Saltes. One of the honourable ordinaries. The Saltire is subject to all the accidental forms of lines, as .Embattled, Nebule, Wavy, etc. When figures are borne on the saltire, it is said to be charged, or the charges are said to be, on a saltire. When the saltire is between four figures it is said to be cantoned.

Saltire-per. Applied to the field of a coat of arms, or any charge when divided by two diagonal lines crossing each other.

Saltirewise, Salterwise or In Saltier. Any figures placed in the form and position of a Saltire.

Saltiery. Parted per saltier.

Saltorels. Saltires.

Salts. Also termed Salt-cellars and Sprinkling salts.

Sandal. A kind of shoe, sometimes called Brogue.

Sandglass or Hourglass. A glass for measuring the hours, by the running of sand from one part of the vessel into another.

Sang, Gutte de. Drops of blood.

Sanglant. Bloody.

Sanglier. A wild boar.

Sanguine. A term to denote murrey colour; and is expressed, in engraving, by diagonal lines crossing each other.

Sanguinated. Bloody. The same as embrued.

Sans. Without. Applied to animals, or birds, deprived of some member.

Sans-Nomber. The same as semée, only that no part of the figures are cut off. See Semée.

Sapphire. Used to express blue in blazon.

Saracen. See Savage.

Sarcelled. Cut through.

Sardine. A fish.

Sardonyx. In blazon represents murrey colour.

Sash. A band or belt.

Saturn. In blazon implies sable.

Satyr or Satyral. A beast having the body of a Lion, the face of an old man, with the horns of an an antelope. This ia also termed the head of Midas.

Sautoirs. Are supposed to be cords formed of silk which hang from the saddle to be grasped by the hand of the rider when mounting.

Sautoir. A Saltire.

Savage. Wild-man, Green-man, Woodman, and Saracen, are all depicted the same, and generally with a wreath of leaves round the temples and waist. See Man.

Sawlterey or Sawtry. An old term for per-saltier.

Saxon's Head. See Head.

Saxon Sword. See Seax.

Saxon Wheel Cross. A Plain Cross within a circle the outer edge of which is indented.

Scale-Armour. Or Mail armour.

Scales. See Balance.

Scaled or Escalloped. Covered over, as if with the scales of a fish; it is also termed Papellonne, as a bend so termed.

Scales-Scaled or Escallops-escalloped, differs from the last, each scale being as it were jagged or fringed after the manner of diapering, with a deeper colour than that of the field.

Scallop-Shell. The same as Escallop-Shell.

Scalloped or Escalloped. The same as Escallopée. See Papelonne.

Scalp. Skin of a man's head with the hair. Also the skin of the forehead of an animal. If the animal have horns they are attached to the scalp.

Scalpel. See Lancet.<

Scarabee. A Beetle, borne by the name of Thorndike.

Scarf. A small ecclesiastical banner hanging down from the top of a Pastoral Staff.

Scarpe or Escarpe. A diminutive of the bend sinister being one half its breath.

Scatebra or Water-pot. The Urn or Vase on which Water Gods are depicted leaning.

Sceptre. A royal-staff. The golden sceptre. The Sceptre is of greater antiquity than the Crown.

Schallop. Same as Escallop.

Scimitar. A sword with a convex edge.

Scintillant. Sparkling, applied to anything having sparks of fire about it.

Scoop. A kind of ladle. Borne by the name of Scopham. In the blazon of the arms Scopholme it is termed a Scolpe.

Scopperelle. See Escallop.

Scorpion. The largest and most malignant of all the insect tribes. It somewhat resembles the lobster; is generally borne erect. When borne with the head downwards is described as reversed.

Scotcheon. See Escutcheon.

Scourge. A whip, in blazon the number of lashes must be named.

Scrip, Wallet or Pilgrim's pouch. A bag formerly carried by pilgrims.

Scrog. A term used by Scotch Heralds for a small branch of a tree.

Scroll. That part of the achievement on which the motto is placed. See Escroll.

Scruttle. A winnowing basket.

Scutcheon. The same as Escutcheon.

Scymetar. See Scimitar.

Scythe. An instrument of husbandry. The handle of the scythe is still called, in some counties, a Sned, and is so blazoned in the arms of Sneyd as allusive to their name.

Sea-Aylet. See Aylet.

Sea-Bream. Same as Hake-fish.

Sea-Dog, Sea-Bull, Sea-Bear, Sea-Cat, Sea-Dragon, Sea-Horse, Sea-Lion, etc. A carnivorous and amphibious beast of the mythological kind.

Seal. A device, or an engraved inscription; also an impression made on wax. Personal Seals may be regarded among the most trustworthy evidences of armorial bearings. Indeed, when a seal attached to a charter bears the same name as that of the person granting the charter, its authority for a shield of arms is almost indisputable.

Seax. A scimitar with a semicircular notch, hollowed out of the back of the blade.

Second Title. See Courtesy Title.

Sedant. The same as Sejant.

Seeded. Applied to the seeds of roses, lilies, etc., when borne of a different tincture to the flower.

Segment. A portion cut off by a line from a circle.

Segrant. See Segreant.

Segreant. A term applied to the Griffin when standing erect upon its rear hind leg, with the wings elevated and endorsed. It is the position of a lion rampant.

Seizing. Applied to birds of prey when feeding on their prey.

Sejant. Sitting.

Sejant Addorsed. Setting back to back.

Selch or Sealch. Seal, an amphibious animal.

Semée, Semme, or Seme. Aspersed or Powdered. The terms Averlye, Gerattie, and Strewed, are also used for the same thing, which implies that the Field, Charge, Crest, or Supporter, is strewed over with figures, such as roses, stars, etc. When strewed with fleur-de-lis it is then termed Semée-de-lis.

Semy. Same as Semée.

Senestrochere. The sinister arm.

Sentrie. An old term for Piles.

Sept-Foil. A figure of seven foils. See Foils.

Sept-Insular Lion. A winged lion, passant guardant, holding seven arrows in his paw, and over his head a nimbus.

Sepulchral Monuments. See Monuments, and Brasses Sepulchral.

Sepurture. The same as Endorsed, as Wings Endorsed, or Sepurture.

Seraph's Head. Depicted as the head of a child with three pairs of wings.

Seraphim. The same as Seraph's Head.

Sergent or Sergreant. The same as Segreant.

Serpent. A snake. In Blazon, the position of the Serpent must be particularly expressed.

Seruse. A torteau.

Sesant. See Issuant.

Severed. Disjointed.

Sex-Foil or Sise-Foil. A plant with six leaves. See Narcissus.

Sextant. See Quadrant.

Shackle. Or Oval link of a fetter.

Shafferon. See Chaperon.

Shafted. Arrows, Spears, etc., are said to be shafted when the shaft is of a different tincture from the head. See Pheon.

Shag. A cormorant.

Shake-Fork. Is in form like the cross pall, but does not touch the edges of the shield.

Shambrogus. A shoe.

Shambrough. A kind of ship.

Shamrock. The same as Trefoil, three leaved grass.

Shapeau. See Chapeau.

Shapourne. A curved line.

Shapournet. See Chapournet.

Shark. A voracious fish.

Sheaf. See Garb.

Sheaves. A term applied to a bundle of arrows. See Arrow.

Shears. A tool used by clothiers.

Sheep. A quadruped.

Sheldrake. A kind of duck.

Shells. See Escallop Shell and Welk-Shell.

Sheriff. This title is a corruption from Shire Reeve, from the Saxon, meaning the Reeve or Governor of the Shire, he is the chief civil officer in each county, and has the title of Esquire for life.

Shetyll. See Shuttle.

Shield, Buckler, Target or Escutcheon. A weapon of defence, borne on the arm to turn off the blows of an enemy's weapon. As to the form or shape of shields there can be no rule; any form may be taken. See Escutcheon.

Skin-bones. Two in saltire, borne by the name of Newton, Baynes, Gale, Gatty, etc.

Ships. Of various kinds are met with in Heraldry, and also the different parts of ships, as the rudder, mast, sail, helm, stern, etc. An Heraldic ship is always drawn with three masts, and is termed a Lymphad; also blazoned a vessel, and a galley with oars, and sometimes a row-galley. Modern ships are of common occurrence, and, in blazoning, should be mentioned whether they have two or three masts, and whether under all sail, or full sail, and whether the sails are reefed or furled. In both the former and latter cases it must be mentioned whether pennons, streamers, or colours, are flying.

Ship Gun Carriage. On it a piece of Ordnance mounted.

Shivered. Broken or splintered.

Shods. Iron arrow heads.

Shot. See Chain Shot.

Shovel. A kind of spade with broad blade slightly hollowed.

Shoveller. A species of water-fowl.

Shruttle, Fan or Winnowing Basket. Used for winnowing corn.

Shuttle. An instrument used by weavers, and borne in the arms of their Company. It is blazoned a shuttle tipped and quilled, and is very generally given as a bearing to those who have risen to affluence by it. As the family of Peel.

Sickle. An instrument of husbandry used for reaping corn.

Side. A dexter-side. It may be dexter or sinister and not more than one sixth of the shield, cut off by a perpendicular line.

Side-Face or Side Long Face. A face in profile.

Sideth. Same as Impaled. When a coat has two impalements, the second is frequently termed a Siding.

Signet Royal. A swan so called when gorged with a Coronet and chain.

Silver. Argent. in painting represented by white.

Sinckfoil. See Cinquefoil.

Sinister. The left. i.e. the right to the spectator. See Shield Impaled.

Sinister Base Point. See Points of Escutcheon.

Sinisterways. Turned to the sinister.

Sinople. Green or vert.

Sir. The title of a Baronet and Knight. This title in former times, was given to all who had taken a degree, or had entered into orders.

Siren. A Mermaid.

Sistrum. A musical instrument used in the rites of Isis.

Sitfoile. See Sixfoil.

Sixfoil. A Narcissus.

Skein, Skean or Skeen. A short sword, or dagger.

Skeleton, or Deadman's Head. The emblem of mortality. A crowned skeleton, is the emblem of Christian death.

Skiff. A Galley. See Lymphad.

Skipping. Erected, mounting, or leaping.

Slashed. Sleeves of garments were formerly cut open lengthways, and these openings were filled with a puffing of another colour.

Slay, Slea or Reed. An instrument used by weavers, and borne as part of the arms of the Weavers' Company of the City of Exeter.

Sledge. A vehicle moved on runners used in husbandry.

Sledge-Hammer. A large heavy hammer.

Sleeve. See Maunche.

Slip. A twig should be depicted with only three leaves.

Slipped or Slipt. Applied to flowers, fruit, etc., when depicted with a stalk.

Sloe-Bush. See Crequer-Plant.

Slogan or Slughorn. The Scottish Cri-de-guerre.

Smallage-Garland. Given to victors at the Nemean Games.

Smelt. A small fish.

Snagged. Couped so the edge is seen in perspective.

Snail or House-Snail, also termed a Snail in his Shell.

Snake. See Serpent.

See Caduceus.

Sned. The handle of a Scythe.

A bird.

See Glaziers'-Nippers.

Soarant or Soaring.
Flying aloft.

Societies, Arms of.
See Arms of Community.

Sock or Ploughshare. See Coulter.

The sun, by which or, or gold is expressed in blazoning arms by the Planets.

A tool used by plumbers, and borne in the arms of their company.

A flat fish.

A Rose en Soleil is a rose surrounded with rays.

Somerset Herald.
See Heralds College.

Somme. Horned,
applied to the stag when the branches are not less than thirteen, but if more it is blazoned Sommé Sans Nombre. The term Sommé, is also used by some in the sense of surmounted.

Song Thrush. See Thrush.

Sore. A term for the young of the buck in its fourth year.

Sorel. A young buck in its third year.

Soustenu, Soutennée or Soutenu. When a chief is represented supported by a small part of the escutcheon beneath it, of a different colour, or metal from the chief, and reaching as the chief doth, from side to side, being as it were a fillet on the bottom part of the chief, of another colour.

Spaniel. A dog with long shaggy coat.

Sparling or Smelt. A small fish.

Sparrow. A bird.

Sparrow-Hawk. See Hawk.

Spayade. A young stag, in his third year.

Spear. An instrument used in warfare.

Spear-Eel. See Eel Spear.

Spear-Rest. See Rest.

Spear. See Tilting-Spear.

Spear-Salmon. See Harpoon.

Speckled. Spotted with another tincture.

Spectant. At gaze, or looking forward, sometimes termed in full aspect.

Spellers. The small branches shooting out from the flat part of the buck's horn, at the top.

Sperver or Spurver. A kind of tent, as borne in the arms of the Upholders' Company. It is also termed a Pavilion, or Tabernacle.

Sphere. Armillary, Celestial, and Terrestrial Sphere.

Spink. A small bird.

Sphinx. A fabulous monster, with the head and breasts of a woman, body of a lion, and the wings of an eagle.

Spilted. Covered with. Same as Powdered.

Spiked. Studded with points, as a club spiked.

Spire. Steeple of a Church.

Spires. Blades of grass.

Spired. Having raised points.

Splayed. The same as displayed.

Splendour. A term for the Sun, when represented with a human face, environed with rays.

Splintered. Broken.

Spokeshave. Also termed Grazier. See Grater.

Spotted. The same as speckled.

Sprat. A small fish.

Spread Eagle. Eagle with two heads displayed.

Sprig. A twig.

Springing. Applicable to beasts of chase, in the position in which wild beasts are called salient. It is also applied to fish when placed in bend. See Stag.

Sprouting. Shooting forth leaves.

Spur. An ancient or Scotch spur. Also called a Prick-Spur.

Spur. Generally borne with the straps. Termed a spur leathered.

Spur-Rowel Blemished. Having the points cut off.

Spurred. Equipped with spurs, as a boot spurred.

Spurver. See Sperver.

Squat. A term used for a rabbit sejant.

Squire Base. See also Equire.

Squirrel. An animal always borne sejant, and often cracking a nut.

Staff. The staff of a Patriarch is a double cross and that of the Pope a triple one.

Stafford-Knot. The Badge of Stafford.

Stag and Stag's Head are common bearings in coat armour. The Stag is blazoned at Gaze, Tripping, Springing, Courant, (or in full course) Browsing and Lodged. And when the head is cut off, showing no part of the neck, and placed full faced, it is termed Cabossed. But when the neck is shown with the head, and full faced, it is termed a stag's head and neck affrontee, couped or erased at the neck. If shown in profile, it is blazoned a stag's head couped, or erased, the profile being understood. When the horns (antlers) and hoofs are of a different tincture, it is said to be Attired and Unguled. If the antlers have more than five projections on each, it is blazoned attired with so many (mentioning the number) tynes.

Staggard. A Stag in the fourth year.

Stained or Stamand. According to Guillim such colours as having no body do only stain, as Murrey and Tawny.

Stalking. Walking applied to long legged birds.

Stall-Plates. A square or oblong plate of gilt copper, upon which the Arms of Knights of the Garter and the Bath are emblazoned, and fixed in their stalls in the Chapels of St. George at Windsor, and of Henry VII, at Westminster. The arms of the Esquires of the Knights are similarly displayed and recorded in the lower range of Stalls.

Standard. An ancient military ensign, long and tapering towards the end, which is split and rounded; on the upper part appears the Cross of St. George, the remainder being charged with Motto, Crest, or Badge, but never with arms. The term Standard is now applied to the ensign carried by the Cavalry, those of the Infantry being called Colours.

Standard Royal. See Royal Standard.

Staple. An iron fastening.

Star. An Ensign of Knightly Rank, common to the Heraldry of all nations. See Knighthood.

Star. See Estoile.

Star-Blazing. See Comet.

Star of India. See Knighthood, Orders of.

Star-Fish, as borne in the arms of La-Yard.

as borne in the arms of Blades. The Star-Pagoda is an Indian coin.

A bird; sometimes termed a Sterne or Stare.

Starved or Blighted.
A tree, or branch, without leaves

A term applied to animals standing with all their feet on the ground, except to those of the Deer kind.

State, cap of.
As borne by the Lord Mayor of London, termed the Civic Cap.

Statera Romana.
a steelyard.

Staves of an Escarbuncle.
Are the eight rays which issue from the centre. See Escarbuncle.

Staves of a Wheel. The spokes, which unite the nave to the felloes.

Steel for Striking Fire. Also termed a Furison.

Steel-Cap. See Morion.

Steel-Gad. See Gad.

Steelyard. A kind of balance.

Steeple of a Church. When borne in arms, is drawn with a part of the tower or belfry. Blazoned a "Church Spire," nameof Bakeham, Backcombe, etc.

Stellion-Serpent. A Serpent with the head of a weasel, borne by the name of Bume.

Stern. The hinder part of a ship is frequently met with in Coat Armour. It is borne by Nelson, Carneige, Campbell, etc.

Sterne or Stare. A Starling.

Still. A utensil of the distillery as borne in the arms of Wennington.

Stilt. An instrument made to walk with.

Stirrup and Leather. When borne without the leather it should be blazoned stirrup iron.

Stock. Or stump of a tree.

Stock-Card. An instrument for carding wool.

Stocke. A Falcon's-rest.

Stole. Part of the vestment of a priest.

Stone-Bill or Wedge. Used to split timber.

Stone-Bows. A cross bow for shooting stones.

Stork. A large bird allied to the Heron.

Streamer. A flag; the length may be from 20 to 40 yards, on which may be put a man's conceit, or device.

Streaming. A term used to express the stream of light darting from a comet, or blazing star.

Strewed. Scattered. The same as Semée.

Stringed or Strung. Terms used to express the strings of harps, bows and bugle-horns, and when these are depicted without strings they must be blazoned "Sans strings."

Studded. Adorned with studs.

Sturgeon. A large kind of fish.

Sub. Applied to an ordinary when the bottom edge is different from the top, as a Fesse Nebuly, Sub Invecked. A Fesse Sub-Crenellée is a Fesse with plain line at top, and the bottom embattled.

Sub-Ordinaries. The following are commonly so called, viz.: The Bordure, Canton, Flanch, Fret, Gyron, Inescutcheon, Orle, Pile, Tressure, and Voider.

Subvertant or Subverted. Reversed turned upside down.

Succeedant. Following one another.

Succession, Arms of. See Arms of Succession.

Sufflue. A rest, or clarion. See Clarion.

Sugar-Cane. The plant from which sugar is obtained.

Sugar-Loaf. A conical mass of sugar, borne by the name of Sugar.

Sun. Usually borne with a human face and rays.

Super-Charge. A term used to express one figure borne upon another; more properly blazoned Surmounted.

Super. The top. e.g. A fesse super nebuly, i.e. nebuly only on the top, as in the arms of Blancharden, which is also Sub invecked, i.e. the bottom only is invecked.

Supplanting. Treading under-foot.

Supported. Said of an Ordinary that has another under it, by way of support.

Supporters. Are figures represented on each side of the shield, and appear to support or hold it up. Supporters are used by the Sovereign, Princes, Peers, and Peeresses, Knights of the several Orders, and Nova Scotia Baronets. The English Baronets are not allowed this privilege, except a very few, who for distinguished services have received a licence to use them. The Sons of Peers, although using supporters, have no legal right to them, and I would remark that a somewhat foolish custom has lately sprung up. If a Peer intermarries with a lady belonging to a family whose arms have supporters, he places one of the supporters of his own coat on the dexter, and one of the supporters of the coat belonging to her family on the sinister side of his shield ; yet it is certain by all the rules of Heraldry that a woman can in no case convey supporters to her husband, and that even to convey them to her children she must at least be a Peeress in her own right.

Supporting. Sustaining, or holding up.

Suppressed. The same as Debruised.

Sur. On, upon or over.

Surcoat. A loose frock without sleeves, worn by Military men over their Armour, on it, their Arms were sometimes painted or embroided. "The Surcoat, originated with the crusaders for the purpose of distinguishing the many different nations serving under the banner of the cross, and to throw a veil over the iron armour, so apt to heat excessively when exposed to the direct rays of the Sun." - Meyrick.

Surcharged. Charged or Surmounted.

Surgiant or Surgeant. Rising.

Surgiant or Surgeant-Tergiant. The wings expanded on each side of the head, the points not elevated, the dexter wing showing behind, and the sinister before the bird.

Sur-le-tout. En-Surtout, Surmounted, or over-all. See Surtout.

Surmounted or Surmonte. Terms to express any charge having another placed over it. It is also expressed by the term Debruised.

Suppose. Same as In Pale.

Surroy or Southroy. The ancient title of the King of Arms for the south parts of England, now called Clarenceux.

Surroyal Top. The broad top of a stag's horn, with the branches or small shoots from it.

Sursuant. The same as erected and elevated, but without being waved or turned. See Reclinant.

Surtout or Sur-le-tout. A term for Over-all. Generally applied to a small escutcheon, containing a Coat of Augmentation.

Suspectant or Spectant. Looking upwards.

Sustained. See Soustenu.

Sustaining. Supporting, or holding.

Swallow. Also termed Hirondelle or Hirundo. When represented flying, is termed volant.

Swan. Always borne with the wings endorsed, unless it is expressed otherwise.

Sweep, Swepe or Balista. Also termed Mangonel; an engine used by the ancients for throwing stones.

Swivel. Two iron links which turn on a bolt.

Sword. In blazoning a sword in coat armour, its position must always be mentioned; whether the point is upwards or downwards, towards the dexter or sinister, etc. When the handle and pommel (i.e. the knob affixed to the handle) are of a different tincture, it it is termed hilted and pommelled. The hilt includes the entire handle and guard, but if the hand part is of a different tincture it is blazoned as the grip. e.g. a sword erect ar. grip vert. hilt and pommel or. the crest of Pollard. The Crest of Koundell is a sword in pale ar. hilt and pommel or, grip gu. If the blade is wavy it is termed a sword wavy. If with fire round the blade, it is said to be inflamed, or flammant, sometimes it is called a flaming sword. If blood is depicted upon the blade, it is said to be imbrued. See Broadsword, Curtana-sword, Cutlass, Rapier, Scimitar, Seax, Tuck, etc. The sword is frequently used as the Emblem of Power. Two Swords in Saltire, the Emblem of St. Paul.

Sykes. Fountains. See Heraldic Fountain.

Symbol. An emblem, type, or figure, the sign or representation of any moral thing by the images or properties of natural tilings as "the lion is the symbol of courage" "a trident is the symbol of Neptune."

Synamur. See Sanguine.

Synettys. An old term for Swans.

Synobolt. Sinople or vert.

Syrcott. See Surcoat.

Syren.  a Mermaid.



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