vex·​il·​lol·​o·​gy ˌvek-sə-ˈlä-lə-jē How to pronounce vexillology (audio)
: the study of flags
vexillologic adjective
vexillologist noun

Did you know?

"The flag is the embodiment, not of sentiment, but of history." Woodrow Wilson was speaking of the U.S. flag when he made that statement in an address in June of 1915, but those who engage in vexillology—that is, vexillologists—would likely find the comment applicable to any national banner. Vexillologists undertake scholarly investigations of flags, producing papers with titles such as "A Review of the Changing Proportions of Rectangular Flags since Medieval Times, and Some Suggestions for the Future." In the late 1950s, they coined vexillology as a name for their field of research, basing it on vexillum, the Latin term for a square flag or banner of the ancient Roman cavalry. The adjectives vexillologic and vexillological and the noun vexillologist followed soon thereafter.

Examples of vexillology in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Here’s a word to impress your friends at the next cocktail party: vexillology. Melody Rowell, National Geographic, 14 June 2019 The inconsistencies in the Texas flag’s origin story is what sparked Spain’s interest in vexillology 30 years ago. Sarah Hui, Dallas News, 27 June 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'vexillology.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin vexillum

First Known Use

1959, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of vexillology was in 1959


Dictionary Entries Near vexillology

Cite this Entry

“Vexillology.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on vexillology

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!