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10 Useful Flag Terms: How Many Do You Know?

There is an entire field dedicated to the study of flags: vexillology. Within this field, you’ll find a set of very specific terms used to describe a flag’s properties. While many of these terms are straightforward and common, others are more esoteric.

Whether you’d like to know how to better describe your flag or just want to expand your vocabulary with a handful of new words, you’ll want to add these 10 flag terms to your arsenal.

Keep reading to expand your flag vocabulary!

10 flag terms to add to your vocabulary


1. Badge: a coat of arms or simple heraldic symbol displayed on a flag

2. Canton: the top inner quarter of a flag; the American flag features a canton of stars

3. Field: a flag’s background

4. Fimbriation: a narrow border used as a division between two other colors; white and gold are the most commonly chosen colors for this application

5. Finial: a crowning, decorative ornament placed atop a flagpole

6. Fly: a flag’s horizontal length, or the edge of the flag farthest from the flagpole (the fly end)

7. Halyard: the rope or cable used to hoist a flag on a flagpole

8. Hoist: a flag's vertical height, or the edge of the flag attached to the flagpole (the hoist end); as a verb, the act of raising a flag

9. Saltire: used to describe a specific flag design—the diagonal cross; the flag of Scotland is a good example of a Saltire flag

10. Vexillology: the scientific study of flags, including flag history, symbolism, usage, and interest

How many of the terms did you know? Share in the comments below, then sign up to Patriot Wood Updates to get more interesting flag facts like this and deals delivered right to your inbox.

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