We don't really understand the language of heraldry any more. Each part of a coat of arms told others something about the man who was wearing that coat of arms. The following terms and short definitions are just a sampling of the unfamiliar words dealing with heraldry.
- Cadency - any systematic way of distinguishing members of the same family
- Herald - an officer of arms that carries messages and proclamations
- Tincture - colors used in the coat of arms
- Blazon - a formal description of a coat of arms or flag
- Lozenge - a diamond shaped charge
- Charge - an image on a sheild
- Ordinary - a simple geometric figure on the arms
- Aspilogia - armory
There are many more words associated with heraldry that are unique to heraldry or are used in ways most of us have never heard before. In the United States we use the word crest to mean a coat of arms, but the crest is only part of a complete acheivement of arms. A complete acheivement of arms is another way of saying coat of arms.
I have just scratched the surface of heraldry. Many people have spent many years studying heraldry. It has a very complex set of rules. Before I started reading I didn't realize women and clergy can have coats of arms of their own. After knights no longer wore armor, the coats of arms were used in stained glass, sealing wax, needlework, and other depictions of the coat of arms.
Dale L. Edwards