oriflamme

noun ori·flamme \ ˈȯr-ə-ˌflam , ˈär- \

Definition of oriflamme

:a banner, symbol, or ideal inspiring devotion or courage

oriflamme was our Word of the Day on 08/07/2012. Hear the podcast!

Did You Know?

The original oriflamme was the banner of Saint Denis, a patron saint of France who is said to have been the first bishop of Paris. Middle English speakers referred to this red or reddish orange banner using the Middle French term oriflamble, from Old French ori flambe, meaning "small flag." From the 12th to the 15th centuries, French kings carried the banner into battle as a way of inspiring their troops. This tactic met with such success that, by 1600, English speakers were using "oriflamme" to refer to any group's rallying symbol.

Origin and Etymology of oriflamme

Middle English oriflamble, the banner of St. Denis, from Middle French, from Old French ori flambe, small flag


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