heraldry


her·ald·ry

noun \ˈher-əl-drē, ˈhe-rəl-\

: the activity of creating or studying coats of arms and of tracing and recording family histories

plural her·ald·ries

Full Definition of HERALDRY

1
:  the practice of devising, blazoning, and granting armorial insignia and of tracing and recording genealogies
2
:  an armorial ensign; broadly :  insignia
3
:  pageantry

First Known Use of HERALDRY

1572

heraldry

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Art and science of devising, displaying, and granting armorial insignia and of tracing and recording genealogies. The use of heraldic symbols as a means of identification spread throughout the European nobility in the 13th century. The principal vehicle for displaying the heraldic devices is the shield; in the full armorial achievement, the shield is augmented by the helmet, crest, mantling, crown, wreath, motto, compartment (base), and supporters. Arms are hereditary; all male descendants of the first person to whom they were granted bear the arms. As insignia of honour, they are protected by law in the European monarchies, Ireland, Switzerland, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. See also coat of arms; ecclesiastical heraldry.

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