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Dictionary of Vexillology: D (Department Pennant - Dexter Hoist)

Last modified: 2022-07-24 by rob raeside
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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See ‘service pennant’.

coastguard pennant, Sweden
Departmental/Service Pennant, Coastguard, Sweden (fotw)

See ‘emblem military and governmental/departmental’ under ‘emblem’.

Emblem of British Railways 1949-1965 (fotw)

1) The phrases used to describe the flag of a sub-national entity when that entity is called a “department” – see ‘sub-national flag’.
2) These phrases can also represent the flag of administrative or clerical agencies within a governmental structure.

departmental flag departmental flag departmental flag
Flag of Vaucluse, France (fotw); General Political Warfare Department 1958 1986, Taiwan (fotw); Department of Budget and Management, The Philippines (fotw)

1) See ‘width 1)’.
2) See ‘width 3)’.

depth depth
Example of 1); Flag of Baška, Croatia (fotw)

(adj) A term used to describe a rounded (or lanceolate) fly into which a ‘V’ shaped notch has been cut, and a shape often seen in UK cavalry guidons – cloven descate or rounded swallowtail (see also ‘fly 1)’, ‘guidon 2)’, ‘hussar cut’, ‘lanceolate’, ‘pennant’ and ‘swallow tail(ed)’).

[descate flag] [descate flag]
Guidon of the Metropolitan Police Mounted Branch, UK (fotw); Guidon of the Blues and Royals, UK (Graham Bartram/Željko Heimer)

Please note that in UK usage this pattern of flag/pennant is a direct development of the shape formerly carried by formations of cavalry - see ‘chamfered swallow-tail’.

[descate flag]
Guidon of the Royal Gloucestershire Yeomanry 1797, UK (fotw)

1) The term for a diagonal stripe that runs from the upper hoist to the lower fly, and is centred on the corners of the flag – a bend, falling diagonal, hoist-diagonal, right diagonal or right diagonal bar - but see ‘bend’ and Appendix IX (also ‘ascending diagonal’, ‘east-south diagonal’, ‘east-west diagonal’, ‘north-east diagonal’, ‘north-south diagonal’, ‘south-east diagonal’, ‘south-north diagonal’, ‘west-east diagonal’, ‘west-north diagonal’, and ‘west-south diagonal’.
2) The term may also be used to describe the division line on a bicolour divided diagonally per bend as shown below – see ‘per bend 1)’ (also ‘bicolour 1)’).

descending diagonal descending diagonal descending diagonal
Flag of Utrecht, The Netherlands (fotw); Flag of L-Imqabba, Malta (fotw); Flag of Rašov, Czechia (fotw)

1) (v) To maliciously damage or mistreat a flag for political or other motives, or to use a flag in a way that is considered disrespectful or inappropriate (see also ‘rules of respect’ and ‘Appendix II’).
2) See ‘disfigure’.

See ‘headquarters flag 2)’.

designating headquarters flag
Designating/Headquarters Flag of a Brigadier General, US Army (fotw)

See ‘table flag’.

desk flag
Desk/Table Flag of Gracišce, Croatia (fotw and CS)

The term describing a custom whereby the flag of the country of destination may be flown at the fore by a merchant ship or pleasure vessel when about to sail (see also ‘fore’).

1) Originally a heraldic term for a temporary mark extra to the coat of arms to distinguish those who entered the lists at tournaments, it now refers specifically to the ‘motto (see ‘motto’).
2) The term used to describe those marks of difference that appear on English military colours of the 17th Century (see also ‘stand 1)’ and ‘venn’).
3) A term sometimes inaccurately applied to any charge, badge or emblem – see ‘badge’, ‘charge’ and ‘emblem’).

device example device example device example device example
Major’s then First, Second and Third Captain’s Colours, Westminster Liberty Regiment, London. England c1641 (fotw)

The heraldic term for the right hand side of a flag or shield from the point of view of the bearer, or the left hand side from the point of view of an observer (see also ‘sinister’).

dexter example

1) With regard to a shield see ‘dexter’ above.
2) A term that may be used in describing the left hand facing edge of a banner or gonfalon which is hung from a crossbar, and equivalent to the top edge of a conventionally hoisted flag – the leading edge (see also ‘banner 2)’ and ‘gonfalon’).

dexter edge example

Rarely employed terms, but those that may be used when the obverse of a flag is depicted (or is manufactured) with its hoist to the observer’s left in accordance with Western tradition – left hoisted - see ‘dexter’ and ‘sinister hoist’ (also ‘hoist 1)’, ‘obverse’ and ‘reverse’).

dexter hoist
National Flag of Moldova (fotw)

Please note, it is usually felt unnecessary to specify the dexter hoist since it is a default assumption in most cases.

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