heraldry

noun
her·​ald·​ry | \ˈher-əl-drē, ˈhe-rəl-\
plural heraldries

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

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Did You Know?

The art and science of devising, displaying, and granting armorial insignia and of tracing and recording genealogies is called heraldry. The use of heraldic symbols, or “coats of arms,” as a means of identification spread through European nobility in the 13th century. The main way to display the heraldic devices is on a shield. The crest, a secondary device that emerged in the 14th century, was modeled onto the helm (helmet). Pictorial representations show the shield with the helm and crest above. “Arms” are protected by law in European monarchies and are hereditary; all male descendants of the first person to whom they were granted bear the arms.

Examples of heraldry in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The British are known to take matters of heraldry seriously, and Mr. Trump’s American coat of arms belongs to another family. Danny Hakim, New York Times, "The Coat of Arms Said ‘Integrity.’ Now It Says ‘Trump.’," 28 May 2017 Historically admired by royalty, ermine pelts were used for royal robes, in portraits, and as a design in heraldry. National Geographic, "Before and After: See Animals Change Their Coats for Winter," 6 Feb. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'heraldry.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of heraldry

1572, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of heraldry was in 1572

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More Definitions for heraldry

heraldry

noun

English Language Learners Definition of heraldry

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

heraldry

noun
her·​ald·​ry | \ˈher-əl-drē \

Kids Definition of heraldry

: the art or science of tracing and recording family history and creating coats of arms

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More from Merriam-Webster on heraldry

Spanish Central: Translation of heraldry

Nglish: Translation of heraldry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about heraldry

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