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Dictionary of Vexillology: S (Surfing Flag - Symmetrical Outwardly Stepped)

Last modified: 2021-11-21 by rob raeside
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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See ‘beach flag’.

surfing flags surfing flags
Surfing Flag UK and Surfing Pennant France (fotw)

1) In vexillology a term that may be used when one charge is placed above or at the top of another – but see ‘above 1)’ (also ‘charge 1)’ and ‘topped 1)’).
2) In heraldry the term used when an ordinary or a charge (or charges) is (or are) placed over – that is in front of – another as per the examples given below, and which generally (although not exclusively) touches the field – but see the notes below, ‘charged 2)’, ‘debruised’ and ‘overall 2)’ (also ‘charge 1)’, ‘ensigned’, ‘ordinary’ and ‘throughout’.

Danzig 1920 Riuprimer; Spain Vilabertran, Spain Vilabertran, Spain
Civil Flag and Ensign of Danzig 1920 – 1939 (fotw); Flag of Santa Eulàlia de Riuprimer; Spain (fotw); Naval Flag of the Christ’s Knights Order 17thC, Portugal (fotw); Flag of Vilabertran, Spain (fotw)

a) With regard to 2) the correct heraldic term for a charge (such as a crown or coronet) placed above rather than over - that is in front of - another is ‘ensigned’ as referenced above.
b) Also please note with regard to 2), it is suggested that a glossary or dictionary or heraldry be consulted with regard to comparative use of the terms "charged", “overall” and “surmounted by”.

1) See ‘fictitious flag’.
2) A flag that is introduced as a replacement for one previously in use but now banned.

[surrogate flag] [surrogate flag]
Surrogate/Fictitious flag of the Soviet Army (fotw); Surrogate Civil Ensign 1945, Japan (fotw)

An alternative heraldic term to overall - see ‘overall 2)’.

[Chêne-Bourg] [Chêne-Bourg]
Arms and Flag of Chêne-Bourg, Switzerland (Wikipedia & fotw)

See ‘fan’ (also ‘bunting 2)’).


1) A V-shaped cut in the fly of a flag or pennant and forming two points - fork/forked tail or fork-tailed - but see 'double pointed' (also ‘crutch’ ‘fly 1)’, ‘indentation(s)’, ‘orthogonal’, ‘palm’, ‘rounded swallow-tail’ and ‘hussar cut’).
2) adj A flag or pennant having such a cut or cuts in the fly (see also ‘swallowtail and tongue’, ‘triangular-tongued’ and ‘triple-tailed 2)’)..

[a swallowtail flag] [a swallowtail flag] [a swallowtail flag]
Naval Ensign of Germany (fotw); State Ensign of Saar, Germany (fotw); Flag of Galanta, Slovakia (fotw)

1) A flag as above, but having a narrower third tail between the other two and so coming to three points at the fly - three-tailed or tongued, or a double- or (inaccurately) triple-swallowtail (see also ‘indentation(s)’ ‘palm’, ‘square-tongued’, ‘tails’, ‘tongue(s) 1)’ and ‘triangular-tongued
2) See ‘triple-tailed 1)’).

[Norway naval ensign - a tongued swallowtail]  [Finnish naval ensign] [Swedish naval ensign]
War Flag/State Flag/Naval Ensign of Norway (fotw); War Flag/Naval Ensign of Finland (fotw); Naval Ensign of Sweden (fotw)

An ancient symbol in the form of an equal-armed cross with each arm continued at a right angle, presently used (running anti-clockwise) as the emblem of a Chinese humanitarian organization founded in 1922, (in a clock-wise form) on the presidential flag of Finland, and until 1945 as the emblem of the German Nazi Party – a crooked/hooked cross, fylfot or cross potent rebated (see also ‘arrow cross’, ‘cross 2)’, ‘rune(s)’ and ‘sun cross’).

[swastika examples] [Germany 1933] [swastika] [Finland air squadron]
China, 1922 - (CS); The National Flag, Germany 1933-45; National Socialist White People's Party 1976, US (fotw); Air Force Squadron Flag, Finland (fotw)

A sharp-edged weapon consisting of a blade and a hilt (handle), that may be equipped with a handguard and usually also a pommel. Swords vary much with period and region, although in general (vexillogical use) the name largely (but by no means exclusively) refers to a weapon having a straight double-edged blade, with a hilt, cross-guard and pommel, and based upon a classical Roman short-sword – the gladius – see ‘sabre’, ‘scimitar’ and ‘zulfikar’ (also ‘hilted’ and ‘pommeled’).

[sword] [sword] [sword]
Flag of Haarlem, The Netherlands (fotw); Arms of Żory, Poland (fotw); Flag of the Army, UK (fotw)

Please note that the many types of sword are beyond the remit of this dictionary, and it is suggested that a suitable source be consulted if further details are required.

See ‘cross fitchy’ and ‘cross of Santiago’.

[sword cross] [sword cross] [sword cross]
Flag of Wilstedt, Germany (fotw); Arms and Flag of Alcoutim, Portugal (fotw)

See ‘zulfikar’.

Bey of Tunis
Standard of the Bey of Tunis c1860 - 1957 (fotw)

See ‘dress knot’.

[dress knot]
Officer’s Sword/Dress Knot, USN and USCG (

1) Generically, the vexilloid, flag, coat of arms, emblem or badge that may be considered representative or symbolic of a nation, region, municipality, people, organization or cause – see ‘badge 1)’, ‘coat of arms 1), ‘emblem 1)’, ‘emblem, military or governmental’, ‘emblem, state or national’, ‘vexilloid 1)’ and ‘vexilloid 1)’.
2) Specifically, see ‘Logo 1)’.

[Nordic Council] [Nordic Council]  [Azuma] [PANAM]
Former Flag of the Nordic Council (fotw); Arms of Jesenice, Slovenia (fotw); Former Flag of Azuma, Japan (fotw); Flag of Pan American World Airways (fotw)

In heraldry see ‘abatements’.

Lion couard denoting cowardice or dishonour (Wikipedia)

See ‘stepped gonfalon’.

stepped gonfalons stepped gonfalons

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