SYMBOLISM OF HERALDIC ELEMENTS or...

What does it mean if your coat of arms bears a red boar's head?

Please note that the following descriptions and meanings are gleaned from a variety of sources, some of which disagree on those meanings. The most commonly accepted meanings are given, but scholars vary in the their opinions concerning the reliability of any "commonly held" historic meanings for coats of arms and crests.

For examples of the different positions for heraldic animals,
see our "Sample Lions In Heraldry" page.

For a list of symbols and their meanings, without illustrations, visit the Meanings: All page.

     
Acacia Branch or Leaves Acacia Eternal and affectionate remembrance
Acanthus Leaves Acanthus Admiration of the arts
Acorn AcornAcorn 1 Antiquity and strength.

Agricultural Tools

(See also Scythe and Sickle)

agricultural tools Labouring in the earth and depending upon providence
Alisaunder (Similar to Laurel)   Peace and/or triumph.
Allerion (Mythical creature, similar to an eagle, but without beak or claws) Allerion Strength of will and authority of mind
Anchor Anchor Hope; religious steadfastness
Angelica Angelica Inspiration
Angels (See Sample Angels) Dignity, glory, and honour; missionary; bearer of joyful news
Annulet
(finger ring)
annuletAnnulets Fidelity
Ant Ant Great labour, wisdom, and providence in one's affairs
Antelope (Heraldic: A mythical animal with the body of a stag, the tail of a unicorn, a tusk at the tip of the nose, tufts down the back of the neck, chest, and thighs ) antelope heraldicAntelope Rampant Harmony, political cunning, peace
Antlers Antlers Strength and fortitude
Anvil AnvilAnvil 2 Honour; emblem of the smith's trade
Apple/ Apple Tree AppleApple Tree Liberality, felicity, and peace; Perpetual concordance
Arm (or Hand) in Armour or Embowed arm with swordarm in armour A person with qualities of leadership
Arm, Naked Arms EntwinedArm Hand Open An industrious person
Arrow or Dart Arrow Readiness (for battle); if depicted with a cross, represents an affliction
Aspen Leaves Aspen Leaf Determination; overcoming fears and doubts
Ass Ass HeadAss Patience and humility

Axe

(Also Halbert, Halberd, Hatchet)

axeHalberd
Execution of military duty
Azalea Azalea Temperance, passion
Baby's Breath Baby's Breath Purity of heart, innocence, breath of the Holy Spirit
Baguette (gem ring) Gem Ring Fidelity
Banderole banderole2 See Banners
Banner (See banderole) Refer to special action in which bearer was captured, or a reward for valiant service
Bar, Barry, Barrulet Bar "One who sets the bar of conscience, religion, and honour against angry passions and evil temptations" acc. to Guillim
Barry Wavy Barry Wavy Troubles keep us in continuous exercise and reminders of providence (as waves in a storm at sea)
Bat

Bat

Bat New

Bat Slim

Awareness of the powers of darkness and chaos.
Baton Baton Token of authority
Battle Axe (See Axe) Execution of military duty
Bay Leaves Bay Leaves Poet or victor's laurel
Beacon (Also Lantern or Lighthouse) beacon
One who is watchful, who gave the signal in time of danger
Bear

Bear Rampant 1Bear RampantBear Passant

Bear Head FacingBear Walking

Bear PolarBear StatantBear Rampant

Strength, cunning, ferocity in the protection of one's kindred
Beaver BeaverBeaver Passant Industry and perseverance
Bee BeeBee 1 Efficient industry
Beech Beech Tolerance, knowledge of history
Bell Bell TowerBell 1 Power to disperse evil spirits; a hawk's bells denotes one who was not afraid of signalling his approach in peace or war

Bell Tower (or Clock Tower)

Bell Towers Integrity
Bend/Bendy
bend
Scarf or shield suspender of a knight commander; signifies defense or protection
Berries   Liberality, felicity, and peace
Bezant/Byzantine Coin
(Also Besant; Gold Roundle)
BezantBezant Face Worthy of trust of treasure.
Billet/Billettee Billet Bricks or letters (correspondence); one who obtained credence, knowledge, and faith in his words and deeds; one who is secret in one's affairs.
Birch Birch New beginnings; vision quest
Bird of Paradise Bird of Paradise Freedom
Birdbolt (See Arrow) Small arrow with blunt head.
Bishop's Mitre MitreMitreMitre 2 Authority
Black-Eyed Susan Black-Eyed Susan Encouragement
Blasted Blasted Tree Tree without leaves, withered
Bluebonnet Bluebonnet Grace, forgiveness, mercy
Boar Boar passantBoar Rampant Bravery; fights to the death
Boar's Head Boar's Head Couped Hospitality
Bonacon (See Bull) Bull with horse's tail and short mane.
Bomb (Mortar Piece) Bomb One who has dared the terror of such a weapon in battle
Bones (Crossed Thighbones) Bones Crossed Mortality
Book (See Sample Books and Bibles) If open, manifestation; if closed, counsel
Border Border Difference between relatives bearing the same arms; also an augmentation of an honour
Bourdon (See Pilgrim's Staff or Palmer's Stave) Pilgrim's Stave See pilgrim's or palmer's staff -- knob at upper end, point at bottom, hook near top
Bow Bow Readiness (for battle)
Bow and Arrow Bow and Arrow War, power, ability to hit a target
Braced braced Interlaced
Bracket bracket May be single or double; right angle-shaped support, as in a shelf support
Bridge Bridge Governor or magistrate
Broom Plant Broom PlantBroom Plant New Humility; Ardor
Buck (See Stag) Buck Proper One who will not fight unless provoked; peace and harmony
Buckle BuckleBuckle 2 Victorious fidelity in authority
Buglass (purple quatrefoil) Buglass Hope and joy.
Bull/Buffalo Bull RampantBull PassantBull Supp NewBull New Valour, bravery, generosity
Bull's Head Bull's Head Valour, bravery, generosity
Bull's Horns   Strength and fortitude
Butterfly Butterfly Psyche or Soul
Cactus Flower Cactus Bravery and endurance
Cadences (Marks of Cadency) See Marks of Cadency Used to differentiate the heirs in a family.
Caduceus Caduceus Homeopathic medicine; medical profession; balance and the union of opposing forces
Calla Lily Calla Lily Magnificent beauty; purity and chastity

Caltrap (or Caltrop)

A weapon made up of two or more sharp nails or spines arranged in such a manner that one of them always points upward from a stable base.

Caltrap

 

Considered the landmines of antiquity, useful to slow down the advance of the enemy army and to force the enemy into certain paths and approaches, or to provide a passive defense as part of a defensive works system. They were said to be particularly effective against the soft feet of camels.
Camel CamelCamel HeadCamel One Hump Docility, patience, and perseverance
Cannon & Cannon Balls Cannon One who has dared the terror of such a weapon in battle
Candle/Lamp Candle 2Candle Light, life, and spirituality
Canton Canton As in a flag borne at the top corner of the shield; reward from the sovereign for performance of eminent service
Cap of Maintenance Cap of Maintenance 2 Granted to British peers and Scottish feudal barons (see "Chapeau")
Carnation Carnation Admiration; fascination, impulsiveness, capriciousness, joy, devotion
Carpenter's Square Carpenter's Square Conforming one's actions to the laws of right and equity
Castle (Tower/Chateau) Castle One TowerCastle OpenEnglish CastleCastle German/SwissCastle Open DoorCastle WallCastle 2CastleCastle 4Castle 5Castle 8Castle Arched WindowsCastle Door Open 1Castle New Safety; protection
Cat (Also Wildcat or Lynx) Cat a MountainCat SejantCat IsisCatCat Supporter
Liberty, vigilance, forecast, and courage
Cattails (Bulrushes) Cattails Peace and prosperity
Catherine Wheel Catherine Wheel One prepared to undergo great trials for the Christian faith
Centaur Centaur 1Centaur Eminence in the field of battle
Cerberus Cerberus Guardian; Past, present, and future
Chains Chains Reward for acceptable and weighty service; with crowns and collars, this suggests the bearer bore the chain of obligation or obliged others because of services done
Chamomile Chamomile Energy; action
Chapeau (See also "cap of maintenance") Cap of Maintenance Granted to British peers and Scottish feudal barons
Chaplet (Floral) Chaplet Usually with green leaves and four roses: the crown of joy and admiration
Chequy Chequy Constancy
Cherry Blossom Cherry Blossom Wealth and prosperity; Education; Feminine principle and love; Transcience of life
Cherubs & Cherubim
(See Sample Angels) Dignity, glory, and honour; missionary; bearer of joyful news
Chess Rook Chess RookChess Rook 2 Strategic thinking
Chevron Chevron Protection; Builders or others who have accomplished some work of faithful service
Chief Chief Top one-third of the shield; signifies dominion and authority; often granted as a special reward for prudence and wisdom or successful command in war
Chimera (as described in the Iliad) Chimera Impossible or difficult to believe
Chough (Cornish Crow) Chough Strategist in battle; watchful for friends
Chrysanthemum Chrysanthemum Abundance, cheerfulness, optimism, truth, hope, rest, friendship
Church
(See Sample Churches) Religion; faith; community
Cinquefoils CinquefoilCinquefoil 2 Hope and joy
Civic Wreath (of oak leaves and acorns) Civic Wreath One who saved a fellow citizen's life or shown patriotism in defense of one's native land
Clarion Clarion Ready for war
Claw of a Bird   Note the preyer that has been preyed upon

Clock Tower

(See Bell Tower) Integrity
Clouds Clouds Mystery, obscured truth
Cock (male bird) Cock Reguardant Courage and perseverance; hero; able man in politics
Cockatrice
(small serpent)
Cockatrice Wings DisplayedCockatrice Terror to all beholders
Column ColumnSerpent Column Fortitude and constancy; with serpent coiled around it, wisdom with fortitude
Comet Comet Unknown
Community Community SymbolCommunity SymbolCommunity SymbolCommunity Symbol Friendship, cooperation, community
Compass Compass 2Compass More Direction
Compony or Gobony Compony Constancy
Cornish Chough (crow, raven; See "chough")   Strategist in battle; watchful for friends; divine providence
Cornucopia (horn of plenty) Cornucopia The bounty of nature's gifts
Cottice/Cotice (bendlet) Cottised Scarf or shield suspender of a knight commander; signifies defense or protection
Coupeaux Coupeaux (Hills - usually three) Unknown; may be purely an artistic device
Crane (Stork) CraneCrane 2 Close parental bond; Vigilance if holding a rock
Cramp Cramp  
Crescent Crescent One who has been honored by the sovereign; hope of greater glory (horns to the chief)
Cresset (See "Beacon")   One who is watchful, who gave the signal in time of danger
Crosier/shepherd's crook Crosier The shepherd's watchfulness; Christian faith; pastoral authority; also Episcopal jurisdiction and authority
Cross
(See Examples of Crosses) Faith; Christianity; Service in the Crusades
Cross (Celtic)   Unity of heaven and earth
Cross (Constantine's; Labarum)   Good omen; Christ; Christianity
Cross Crosslet   Signifies the fourfold mystery of the cross
Cross Crosslet Fitchee   A combination of cross and sword; unshakeable faith
Cross Flory
(Patoncee)
  (cross flowered at each end) One who has conquered
Cross Formee (Pattee)   Military honour
Cross (Maltese)   Blessings; badge of Knights Hospitalier
Cross Moline   The mutual converse of human society (said to represent a millstone)
Cross Raguly   Difficulties encountered
Cross Roucy   Faith
Crossed thighbones (See Bones)   Mortality
Crow (See also "Chough")   Strategist in battle; watchful for friends; divine providence
Crown or Coronet
(See Examples of Crowns) Royal or seigniorial authority; prestige
Crown (Mural) (See Examples of Crowns) Defender of a fortress, token of civic honour; one who first mounted the breach in the walls of a fortress
Crown (Naval) (See Examples of Crowns) One who first boarded an enemy's ship; distinguished naval commander
Crown of thorns (See Examples of Crowns) Adversity
Cup (often covered) Cup 2Cup Covered New Office of the king's butler
Cushions Cushion Authority
Cygnet (young swan) Cygnet (Young Swan) Where gorged with a crown around its neck, signifies dignity
Cypress Cypress Death and eternal life thereafter
Daffodil Daffodil Regard; Chivalry, sunshine, respect
Dagger or dart Dagger Justice and military honour
Dahlia Dahlia Dignity, elegance, togetherness forever
Daisy Daisies Gentleness and innocence
Dawle (black quatrefoil) See "Quatrefoil" Hope and joy
Decrescent Crescent One who has been honored by the sovereign; hope of greater glory (crescent with horns to the sinister)
Deer (See also Stag/Hart/Buck) Deer One who will not fight unless provoked; peace and harmony
Dice Dice Constancy
Dill Dill Irresistible
Dog (See also Talbot) Dog SejantTalbot HeadSejantDog Great DaneGreat Dane SupporterHuskeyGreyhound RampantLab RetrieverSupporterRetriever HeadSpanielDogLabDog SupporterModern Dog Design Courage, vigilance, and loyalty
Dogwood Dogwood Love and adversity
Dolphin Dolphin Embowed 1Dolphin Embowed Swiftness, diligence, salvation, charity, and love
Dove Dove 1DoveDove Flying Loving constancy and peace; the Holy Spirit; with an olive branch in its bill, it signifies a harbinger of good tidings
Dragon
(See Examples of Dragons) Valiant defender of treasure; valour and protection
Drops (Guttees) Drop One who has endured torrents of liquids, as in battle, depending upon the color of the liquid.
Yellow: gold
Blue: tears
Green: oil
White: water
Black: pitch or tar
Red: blood
Drum DrumDrums Ready for war
Duck
(Also Teal)
DuckDuck Flying Person of many resources
Eagle
(See Examples of Eagles) Person of noble nature, strength, bravery, and alertness; or one who is high-spirited, ingenious, quick-witted, and judicious; "True magnanimity and strength of mind" acc. to Guillim.
If wings "displayed," it signifies protection
Eagle with two heads (See Examples of Eagles) Conjoining of two forces
Edelweiss Edelweiss Daring and noble courage; purity, immortality
Elephant Elephant SupporterElephantElephant PassantElephant Crest Great strength, wit, longevity, happiness, royalty, good luck, and ambition
Elm Elm Dignity
Enfield Enfield Mythical beast said to have protected fallen chieftains' bodies for proper burial
Ermine Spot Ermine Spot Mark of dignity
Escallop (scallop shell) Escallop Traveller to far places or victorious naval commander
Escarbuncle Escarbuncle Supremacy; brilliant gem
Escutcheon or small shield, alone, with no charges Escutcheon Defense

Escutcheon of Pretence

(Small shield in center of primary shield, as shown above.)

  Claim of a prince to sovereignty; or marriage to an heiress of the family
Estoile (star with six wavy points) Estoile Celestial goodness; noble person
Eye Eye 2EyesEyes 2 Providence in government
Falcon (Hawk) (See Examples of Falcons) One who does not rest until objective achieved
Fasces Fasces A bundle or rods tied together around an axe, with the blade projecting out; Symbol of a magistrate's authority and the judiciary. (It appears on the reverse side of the U.S. Liberty-head dime.)
Feathers FeatherFeather Pen (usually ostrich feathers) Sign of obedience and serenity
Fer de moline
(See millrind)
  Center of the millstone, by which it is turned
Fern Fern Magic, fascination, confidence, shelter
Fess/Fesse Fess Military belt or girdle of honour; represents readiness to serve the public
Fetterlock Fetterlock 2 Victory; one who has taken prisoners or rescued prisoners of war
Fife Fife Ready for war
Fig leaf Fig leaf Peace and plenty
Finger, pointing   Direction; correct route
Fire/Fire-fighting
(See also sample Firefighting Symbols) Zealousness
Fish FishFish Upright A true, generous mind; virtuous for himself, not because of his heritage; also unity with Christ, spiritual nourishment
Flag or Pennant banderoleFlag 1 Refers to special action in which bearer was captured, or a reward for valiant service
Flanchi/flasque/flanches
(Also flaunches)
Flanches Given by a king for virtue and learning
Fleece (lamb's) FleeceFleece 1 Ancient honour from the knightly order of the Fleece of Gold
Fleur-de-lis (See Examples of Fleurs-de-lis) Purity; light; floral badge of France; represents sixth son as mark of difference
Flint stone Flint Readiness for zealous service
Flowers (See specific flowers)   Hope and joy
Fountain FountainWater Fountain Usually a roundle, crossed with wavy bars of blue and white; represents water, a spring
Fox Fox Sejant One who will use all that he/she may possess of wisdom and wit in his/her own defense
Fraises Frase Strawberries; usually refers to the cinquefoil
Fret
(saltire through
a mascle)
Fret (Also, fretty or latticework)
Persuasion
Fruit Fruit Felicity and peace
Fusil
(narrow lozenge)
Fusil Travel and labour
Fusil of Yarn (yarn with the spindle) Fusil Negotiation
Galley Galley See Ship
Gannet (duck without beak or legs) Gannet One who has to subsist by virtue and merit
Garb (wheatsheaf) GarbGarb The harvest of one's hopes has been secured
Garlic Garlic Protection, strength and courage
Gauntlet Gauntlet Armed for the performance of martial enterprise
Gavel gavel Justice; legal authority
Gem or Jewel Gem Supremacy
Geranium Geranium True friendship
Gillyflower (tawney quatrefoil) Gillyflower Hope and joy
Ginseng Ginseng Passion, prosperity, permanence, health
Globe GlobeCelestial GlobePedestal GlobeGlobeGlobeGlobeGlobe 6Globe 7Globe 8Globe 9Globe Framed Worldliness; world travel
Goat Goat PassantGoat SupporterShe Goat One who wins through politics rather than war
Gobony or Gobbony (See Compony)   Constancy
Goose GooseGoose 1 Resourcefulness
Gorged (around neck) Gorged High dignity
Grape leaves   Plenty, freedom, rebirth
Grapes Grapes Bunch Liberality, felicity, and peace; also, association with wine-making and abundance
Grasshopper Grasshopper Noble and home-bred
Grenade Grenade One who has dared the terror of such a weapon in battle
Greyhound Greyhound Courage, vigilance, and loyalty
Griffin See Examples of Griffins (Head, wings, and talons of an eagle with the body of a lion); Valour and death-defying bravery; vigilance; Guardian of treasure
Gyronny Gyronny Unity (six- or eight-part division of the shield)
Hammer Hammer WoodenHammer 1Hammer 2 Honour; emblem of the smith's trade
Hand Hand ElegantHand EyeHand FitcheeHand PenHand PointHands MoneyHands SwordHandshakeHands PrayingHands Sword Pledge of faith, sincerity, and justice;
two right hands conjoined represent union and alliance
Hand, red Hand Mark of a baronet
Hare (see Rabbit)   One who enjoys a peaceable and retired life
Harp HarpHarp Crown Well-composed person of tempered judgment; contemplation; mystical bridge between heaven and earth
Harpy
(virgin's face, neck and breast with the body of a lion)
Harpy Ferocity under provocation
Hart (male deer) - See Stag/Buck   Peace and harmony
Hawk (Falcon) (See Examples of Falcons/Hawks) One who does not rest until objective achieved
Hawks' lures: Hawk's Lure One who is fond of the highest pursuits, such as hunting and falconry
Hazel branch or leaves Hazel Sprig Hope and joy; Communication, reconciliation and peace
Head (Human) Head Honour; if the head of a "blackamoor" or Moor, refers to deeds of prowess in the Crusades
Heart, Flaming Flaming Heart Intense, burning affection
Heart, Human Heart CardsHeart CelticFancy Heart Charity and sincerity
Hedgehog Hedgehog "Provident provider" acc. to Sloane Evans
Heliotrope Heliotrope Pleasure; Eternal love & devotion
Helmet (See Examples of Helmets) When depicted on the shield, denotes wisdom and security in defense; strength, protection, invulnerability
Hibiscus Hibiscus Delicate beauty
Hind (female deer) Hind HeadHind Supporter Peace and harmony
Holly HollyHolly Truth; Foresight and defense
Horns   Strength and fortitude
Horse (See also Seahorse)
See Sample Horses Readiness for all employments for king and country
Horseshoe Horseshoe Good luck and safeguard against evil spirits
Hourglass HourglassHourglass 2 Flight of time; mortality
Housemark House Mark(example) Presumably adopted by the bearers as forms of unique identification of European homes
Huitfoil
(double quatrefoil)
Double Quatrefoil Mark of cadency for the ninth son
Human Head Head Honour (if the head of a Blackamoor, it refers to deeds of prowess in the Crusades)
Humettee Humettee Describes an element that does not touch the sides of the shield
Hunting Horn Hunting Horn One who is fond of the chase, of high pursuits
Hyacinth Hyacinth Games, Sports, Playfulness
Hydra (dragon with seven heads) Hydra Conquest of a very powerful enemy

Ichthus

(Greek for "Fish")

Ichthus Belief in Jesus Christ, Son of God and Savior
Increscent/Increment Increscent One who has been honored by the sovereign; hope of greater glory (crescent with horns to the dexter)

Inescutcheon

(See "Escutcheon of Pretence")

   
Infinity Symbol Infinity Infinity
Insignia - Marine Corps Marine Insignia  
Insignia - Naval Academy Naval Academy Insignia  
Ivy Leaves Ivy Leaves Strong and lasting friendship
Inkhorn or Inkwell InkhornInkwell Art of writing and educated employment
Iris Iris Faith, wisdom, friendship, hope, valour
Jaguar Jaguar Power, ferosity, and valor; the power to face one’s fears.
Jasmine Jasmine Attachment
Jessamine (white quatrefoil) See "Quatrefoil" Hope and joy
Jessant de lis Jessant-de-lis With a fleur-de-lis shooting out, i.e., from the mouth of a leopard or lion; Represents dominion over France.
Keys Keys Guardianship and dominion
Knight (especially on horseback) KnightKnight The soul guiding the body; man's journey through life
Labarum (Constantine's Cross) Labarum Good omen; Christianity
Label Label Indicates first-born. See Marks of Cadency
Ladder (Scaling Ladder) Ladder One who was fearless in attacking; if against a tower, be on guard against spiritual and corporeal enemies
Lamb or Ewe LambLamb Supporter Gentleness and patience under suffering
Lamb carrying staff or banner with a cross
(paschal lamb)
Paschal Lamb Faith; innocence, bravery, gentleness, purity, resolute spirit
Lamp/Lantern
(See also "Candle")
Lamp of KnowledgeLanternLamp Light, life, and spirituality
Lance or Javelin Lance The perfection of martial affairs; emblem of knightly service; devotion to honour
Laurel Leaves Laurel WreathLaurel Wreath New Peace and/or triumph; success, renown, glory and victory
Lavender Lavender Constancy and loyalty
Leg Leg Strength, stability, and expedition
Lemur Lemur  
Leopard or Ounce LeopardLeopardLeopard Head Valiant and hardy warrior who enterprises hazardous things by force and courage
Leopard's head swallowing a fleur-de-lis (jessant) Leopard - Jessant-de-lis Represents the lion of England swallowing the lily of France
Letter (i.e., A, B, C) A May represent great battles or tournaments beginning with that letter
Level Level Equity and upright action; virtuous person
Lightning Bolt Lightning Bolt Swiftness and power
Lilac Lilac Beauty, pride, youth, innocence
Lily Lily Purity; see "Fleur-de-lis"
Linden branch or leaves Linden LeafLinden Life, vitality, energy, resurrection
Lion
(See Sample Lions) Dauntless courage
Lion, heraldic Rampant Lion(See Sample Lions) Bravery, strength, ferocity, and valour
Lotus LotusLotus Mystery and truth; perfection, purity
Lozenge or Lozengy
Lozenge Honesty & Constancy
Lunel (Four crescent moons facing each other) Lunel One who has been honored by the sovereign; hope of greater glory
Lupine Lupine Imagination
Lure (hawk's) Hawk's Lure One who is fond of the highest pursuits, such as hunting and falconry
Lymphad (See also Ship) Lymphad See Ship
Lyre Lyre Contemplation; tempered judgment
Man   Various meanings
Magnolia Magnolia Nobility, perseverance, love of nature
Maple leaf Maple Gift-giving; bestowing honor
Marigold Marigold Devotion and piety; Splendid beauty and sweetness
Martlet
(footless swallow)
Martlet Symbol of the fourth son (mark of difference); may signify one who has to subsist by virtue and merit, not inheritance
Mascle
(hollowed out lozenge)
Mascle Persuasiveness
Masonic Square Masonic Square  
Mastiff Mastiff Courage, vigilance, and loyalty
Matches Matches (Usually in a roll and fired) Possible reference to one who has dared the terror of such a weapon in battle
Maunch (lady's sleeve) Maunch "For my lady's sake"
Mermaid Mermaid Eloquence
Millpick Millpick Miller's tool
Millrind
(or millstone)
Mill Rind The mutual converse of human society; miller's tool
Mint Mint Virtue; Warm feelings
Mitre (See Bishop's Mitre for more images) Mitre Authority
Mole Mole Unknown
Monkey MonkeyMonkey StatantMonkey Unknown
Moon MoonMoonMoon Serene power over mundane actions
Moor/Saracen/Turk Moor Dates back to the Middle Ages when it was considered an honor to take a Moor's head
Moor fowl or Moor-cock Moorcock Association with the law or the legal profession
Mortar Piece   One who has dared the terror of such a weapon in battle
Morning Glory Morning Glory Affection
Mount/Mound
(See "Coupeaux")
Mound (Rounded terrace at base of the shield) Unknown; may be purely an artistic device
Mulberries Mulberries Liberality, felicity, and peace
Mule Mule Often borne by abbots and abbesses who have pastoral jurisdiction, but not real jurisdiction
Mullet
(Star)
Mullet Divine quality from above; mark of third son
Musical Pipes Musical Pipes Festivity and rejoicing
Myrtle Myrtle Love, mirth and joy
Nettle Leaf Nettle "Sting of death" to all foes; pride, vanity
Oak Garb or Sheaf Oak Garb The harvest of one's hopes has been secured
Oak Tree, Leaves, Bush Oak Leaf Great age and strength; Heroism and victory
Oak Tree/Bush with Acorns Oak Tree Eradicated Continuous growth and fertility
Olive Branch or Leaves Olive Branch Peace and concordance; reconciliation
Orange Blossom Orange Blossom Marriage and fecundity; Virginity and innocence
Orchid Orchid Magnificence
Orle

Orle

(example with roses)

Circle of something; Preservation or protection
Ostrich/Ostrich plumes Ostrich PlumesOstrich Willing obedience and serenity
Otter OtterOtter One who lives life to the fullest
Owl (See Examples of Owls) One who is vigilant and of acute wit
Ox Ox Valour and generosity
Pale/Palet/Pallet/Paly
Pale Military strength
Palm Branch Palm Branch Victory, justice, and royal honour; conquest, success and peace
Palm Tree Palm Trees Righteousness and resurrection; victory; creative power and peace
Pansy Pansy Thoughtful recollection
Panther PantherPanther Rampant Fierce, but tender and loving to children and will defend her children with her life
Papal Headdress Pope's Headdress Pope's Headdress
Parchment/Scroll/Diploma ScrollDiploma Parchment Possible reference to academic or scholarly achievement
Parrot Parrot Unknown
Paschal Lamb Paschal Lamb Faith, innocence, bravery, gentleness, purity, resolute spirit
Passion Nails Passion Nail Token of poignant suffering undergone by the bearer
Pavilion Pavilion Readiness for battle
Peacock Peacock Beauty, power, and knowledge
Peacock Feather Peacock Feather Beauty, power, and knowledge
Pear Pear Felicity and peace
Pegasus Pegasus NewPegasis SupporterPegasusPegasus Reguardant Poetic genius and inspiration; messenger of God
Pelican Pelican Vulning Self-sacrifice and charitable nature; When feeding her young ("in her piety"), symbolizes the duties of a parent or parental love
Pen Pen Plume Art of writing and educated employment
Pennon or Flag Flag Refers to some special action in which it was captured or as a reward for gallant service
Peony Peony Healing
Periwinkle (blue quatrefoil) See "Quatrefoil" Hope and joy
Petunia Petunia Soothing presence
Pheasant PheasantPheasant Flying Person of many resources
Pheon (Spear-head) Pheon Dexterity and nimble wit; readiness for battle
Phoenix Phoenix NewPhoenix ArtisticPhoenix SeveralPhoenix SupporterPhoenix Flames Symbol of resurrection
Pig Pig Fertility
Pike (Fish) (See also Spear) Pike A true, generous mind; virtuous for himself, not because of his heritage; also unity with Christ, spiritual nourishment.
Pile Pile Represents large pieces of wood used in building bridges; engineering skills, builder; May represent a pennon or flag
Pilgrim's Stave/Staff
Palmer's Stave/Staff
Stave The shepherd's watchfulness; Christian faith; pastoral authority; also may refer to early pilgrimages to Jerusalem
Pillar (See Column)   Fortitude and constancy; with serpent coiled around it, wisdom with fortitude
Pincers Pincers Honour; emblem of the smith's trade
Pine Pine Tree Death and eternal life thereafter
Pine Cone Pine Cone Life
Pineapple Pineapple  
Pipes (See Musical Pipes)   Festivity and rejoicing
Pitcher Pitcher Office of service
Plant Plant Hope and joy
Plow or Ploughshare PlowPlowshare Labouring in the earth and depending upon providence
Plume of feathers Plume Sign of willing obedience and serenity of mind
Plummet Plummet Equity and upright action; virtuous person
Poinsettia Poinsettia Purity; Christmas
Pomegranate Fruit Pomegranate Fertility and abundance; prosperity
Poplar leaf Poplar Leaf Hope and joy
Poppy (sanguine quatrefoil) Poppy Hope and joy; Imagination and dreaminess
Portcullis (Castle Gate) Portcullis Protection in an emergency
Primrose (Cowslip) Primrose Innocence and youth; young love
Proboscides Proboscides Elephant trunks; usually represented in pairs; the elephant symbolizes longevity, strength, royalty, dignity, patience, wisdom, happiness, and good luck
Pussy Willow Pussy Willow Motherhood
Quatrefoil (Primrose) Quatrefoil Brings good tidings
Rabbit (Conie) RabbitRabbit Courant One who enjoys a peaceable and retired life
Rainbow Rainbow Good times after bad
Ram RamRamRam Passant Authority
Raspberries Raspberries  
Rat Rat Unknown
Ratch-hound (small hound) Ratch Hound Loyalty, courage, and vigilance
Raven RavenRaven Divine providence
Ray or Rayonnee Rayonee Glory and spendour; fountain of life; intelligence and enlightenment
Rhinoceros RhinocerosRhinoceros Ferocious when aroused
Rhododendron Rhododendron Caution and wariness
Rock Rock Safety and protection; refuge
Rose RoseRoseRoseRoseRosesRose Mark of the seventh son; Hope and joy; see also meanings for specific colors of roses
Rose, Red Rose, Red Heraldic Grace and beauty; Love and desire
Rose, White Rose, White Heraldic Love and faith; Charm and innnocence
Rose, Yellow Roses Infidelity and jealousy
Rosemary Rosemary Enduring love and remembrance; constancy, fidelity and loyalty
Roundles bezant Gold or yellow: bezants or byzantine coins (worthy of trust or treasure)
White: plate (generosity)
Green: pomme (apple)
Purple: golpe (wounded)
Blue: hurt or wortleberry
Black: pellet, ogress, or gunstone (cannon ball)
Red: torteau (communion wafer or manchet cake)
Tawney: orange (tennis ball)
Rye Rye  
Sabre (See Sword)   Justice and/or military honour
Saddle SaddleSaddleSaddle Preparedness for active service
Sage Sage Wisdom, long life, esteem
Salamander Salamander Protection
Salmon (See Fish) Salmon  
Saltire Saltire (St. Andrew's Cross) Resolution
Savage/Saracen SavageSaracen HeadSaracen Wreathed Believed to be related to service in the Crusades
Scales Scales Justice
Scallop Shell (See Escallop)   See "Escallop"
Scroll (See Parchment or Diploma)    
Sceptre SceptreSceptre Diamond The emblem of justice
Scythe or Sickle ScytheSickle The hope of a fruitful harvest
Sea Horse/ Sea Dragon Sea HorseSea DragonSeahorse Power of the water
Seal/Sea lion Sea Lion Dauntless courage at sea
Seaweed Seaweed Purity and leadership
Seraphim Seraphim (Angel with three pairs of wings) Dignity, glory, and honour; missionary; bearer of joyful news
Serpent/Snake/Lizard Serpent RevSerpentSnake Dont TreadCobraSnake Entwined Wisdom
Shacklebolt Fetterlock Victory; one who has taken prisoners or rescued prisoners of war
Shamrock shamrockShamrock Perpetuity; floral device of Ireland; also see Trefoil.
Shield Shield When borne on the arms, represents the defender
Ship ShipViking ShipShipShip OarsShip NewViking ShipShipShip Ancient sea voyages
Ship, Dismasted Dismasted Ship Disaster at sea
Shofar ShofarShofar Reminds us of the admonitions of the prophets and their calls to repentance
Shutle (Weaver's Shuttle) Shuttle, Weaver's Reference to the bearer's profession; i.e., textiles
Skull Skull Mortality
Snail Snail Deliberation and perseverance
Snake (See Serpent)   Wisdom (see also Serpent)
Snapdragon Snapdragon Graciousness and strength
Spear/Pike SpearSpearSpear, Broken Honourable warrior; valiant knight
Spear-head (See Pheon)   Dexterity and nimble wit; readiness for battle
Sphere SphereSphere Geographical or scientific reference
Sphinx Sphinx Omniscience and secrecy
Spider Spider Wisdom, labour, and prudence
Spur or Spur Rowel SpurRowel Preparedness for active service; pressing onward
Square Symbols Square Constancy
Squirrel Squirrel Lover of the woods
Stag
(Also Reindeer)
StagStag HeadStag Trippant One who will not fight unless provoked; peace and harmony
Stag's Antlers Antlers Strength and fortitude
Star (estoile or mullet) Star6Star 1Polar StarMorning StarStar 8 pointsStar of David

Celestial goodness; noble person; Excellence

Steel   Readiness for zealous service
Stirrup Stirrup Preparedness for active service
Stool Stool Hospitality
Stork StorkStork Rising Filial duty; close parental bond; If holding a rock, symbolizes vigilance
Sun Rising Setting SunSun with FaceSun 20 RaysSun Glory and splendour; fountain of life
Sunflower Sunflower Homage and devotion
Swallow Swallow One who is prompt and ready in doing business; also bringer of good news
Swan Swan Poetic harmony and learning, or lover thereof; light, love, grace, sincerity, perfection
Sword/Dagger/Dart
Sabre/Cutlass/Scimitar

DaggerSwordSword CutlassSword

Swords GreatSwords

Sword of London

Celtic Sword

Templar SwordViking SwordNinja SwordNew SwordFancy SwordCavalry Sword

Justice and military honour
Table Table Hospitality
Tabor (snare drum) Snare Drum Festivity and rejoicing; dangerous if aroused
Talbot (hunting dog) (See also Dog) TalbotTalbot Supporter Courage, vigilance, and loyalty
Tent Tent Readiness for battle
Terrace Terrace Unknown; May be purely an artistic device
Thistle Thistle Defiance and surliness
Thorn Leaf Thorn Leaf Irritation; nuisance
Thyme Thyme Bravery, courage and strength
Tiger Tiger (Heraldic)Tiger HeadTiger SejantTiger SilambaTiger HeraldicTiger Supporter Fierceness and valour; resentment; dangerous if aroused
Tiger Lily Tiger Lily Wealth and pride
Torch TorchLiberty TorchNew TorchTorch 5Torches Life; zealousness; engaging in signal service; truth and intelligence
Tortoise Tortoise Invulnerability to attack
Tower TowerTower 1Tower ShadedTower Two Windows Safety and grandeur
Tree Trunk/Stump/Branch StumpTrunk New life sprouting from the old
Tree TreeBanyan TreeCedar TreeTree Double CrownedFruited TreeOak Tree EradicatedTree RootsTrees Life and the mystical connection of the earth with heaven and the underworld
Tree of Life (Knowledge) Tree of Life  
Trefoil or Shamrock
(three-leaved grass)

TrefoilShamrock
Perpetuity
Tressure Tressure Preservation or protection (prominent in the arms of Scotland)
Tressure Flory Counterflory Tressure Flory Signifies the close and longterm alliance between France and Scotland
Trestle Trestle Hospitality
Trident TridentTridents Maritime dominion
Trumpet Trumpet Ready for war
Tulip Tulips Imagination and dreaminess; Fame and perfect love
Unicorn See Sample Unicorns Extreme courage; virtue and strength
Vine Vine Strong and lasting friendship; Peace and plenty; luck and strength
Violet Violet Modesty, virtue, affection, faithfulness, love
Vol (Set of Wings)

Set of wingsWings Griffin

Wings Various

Wings in Lure

Swiftness and protection
Vulture Vulture Purification and maternity; also, virginity (in Christianity)
Walnut Leaves Walnut Leaves Hope and joy
Water Lily Water Lily Eloquence and persuasion
Water Bouget Bouget One who carried water to an army or a besieged place
Wheat-Ear Wheat EarWheat Ear Faithful
Wheat Garb or Sheaf Wheat GarbGarb The harvest of one's hopes has been secured
Wheel Wheel Fortune; cycle of life
Willow (Weeping) Weeping Willow Pliancy; Serenity & Friendship; Patience & Perseverence
Wings (See also "Vol") Set of wingsWings Detailed Swiftness and protection
Wisteria Wisteria Welcome; playful spontaneity
Wolf Wolf HeadWolf Head 2Wolf SupporterWolf NewWolf SupporterWolf Passant Reward from perseverance in long sieges and/or hard industry
Woodbine Leaves Woodbine Love that does not injure that which it clings to
Woman

Woman 1Woman 2

Woman Lyre

Various meanings
Wreath of laurel leaves (and berries) Laurel WreathWreath NewWreath WheatWreath 2 Triumph
Wren Wren Freedom
Wyvern
(Dragon with only two legs and armed tail)
WyvernWyvern 1 Valour and protection
Yew Yew Tree Death and eternal life thereafter; Faith & resurrection
Zinnia Zinnia Lasting affection, constancy, goodness, remembrance
     
     

 

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