- DISC (or DISK)
- A circular area of single colour used as a charge, and often (but not invariably) symbolic of the sun
or a full moon (see also ‘bezant’,
‘sun emblem’ and
National Flag of Palau (fotw); National Flag of
Bangladesh (fotw); National Flag of Japan; National Flag of
Please note that a disc is called a roundel in
heraldry, or may be termed a bezant if yellow/gold, a hurt if blue, a torteau if red or plates if white/silver
as referenced above.
- DISC (or DISK) VOIDED
- 1) In vexillology see ‘ring 1)’.
2) In heraldry see ‘annulet’
Flag and Arms of Ringerike, Norway (Tomislav ipek)
- (v) To add any unauthorised charge, device or wording to the field of a flag,
particularly when it is of an insulting or pejorative nature (see also
‘device’ and compare with
- In UK usage now obsolete, a term for the formal removal of a colour from the location
at which it was housed and displayed during the relevant battalion’s temporary stay in any
municipality (see also
- DISPLAYING A FLAG
- See ‘Appendix II’.
- 1) The heraldic term used when an eagle or other winged creature is shown with its wings elevated and sometimes inverted (see also ‘rising’, ‘vol’ and ‘volant’).
- 2) (adj) On flags the term may be used in place of flown, bourn or carried etc. – for
example “a flag/pennant/banner was displayed above the…”, or “the flagpole displayed a finial
in the form of a…”, or “the flag/pennant/banner displayed a charge…”.
Flag and Arms of Veveyse, Switzerland (fotw &
Flag and Arms of Burgenland, Austria (fotw);
Flag of Despotovac, Serbia (fotw);
State Arms of Austria (fotw)
- DISPLAY MAST
- See ‘sailor's mast’.
- DISTANCE LINE
- See ‘hoistline’ and its following note.
- DISTINCTION JACK
- See ‘privateer jack’.
Distinction/Privateer Jack 1694 - 1801. England/UK
- DISTINCTION OF COLOUR
- In English then British RN usage now obsolete, the system of grading flag officers
according to their seniority see ‘blue ensign 2)’,
‘flag officer 2)’,
‘red ensign 2)’ and
‘white ensign 2)’ and their following notes (also
Command Flags of Flag Officers of the Red, White and Blue 1625 1702, then of the Red, White and Blue 1702 1864 (fotw)
a) This system was formally introduced in 1625, amended in 1653, extended in 1805
(the rank of Admiral of the Red was introduced following Trafalgar) and abolished in 1864.
b) Until the early 18th Century however, these were not part of the naval rank structure, but were (rather) positions conferred by royal appointment to cover a specified campaign (although once an admiral always an admiral).
c) In 1653 the order of seniority was changed from red, blue and white to red, white then blue.
- DISTINCTION PENDANT (or PENNANT)
- 1) The term, now obsolete, for one of four triangular pennants used in Marryat’s 1817
Code of Signals for the Merchant Service, and raised at the head of a particular
signal hoist to indicate which section of the signal book should be used to interpret
the following flags (see also ‘Marryat’s code’,
‘signal flag’ and the note following
‘international code of signals’).
2) See ‘pendant of distinction’.
Distinction Pennants 1 and 3 in Marryat’s Code of Signals for the Merchant Service 1817 – 1857 (fotw)
- DISTINGUISHING FLAG
- 1) The flag of a civil position within a governmental structure, as opposed
to that signifying military rank, as in for example, the distinguishing flag of
a Government minister (see also ‘diplomatic flags’).
- 2) An alternative term for a rank flag (see also
- 3) In US Air Force and Marine Corps usage, a flag denoting an officer's rank
– see ‘individual flag’ (also
‘flag of command’,
‘personal flag 3)’ and
‘rank flag 1)’).
- 4) In US military usage, the flag of a command or organization not authorized
to bear colours.
From left: Minister of Defence, Argentina;
Secretary for Defense
US; Minister of Defence Sweden (fotw);
Minister of Defence, UK (fotw)
Please note, that although these terms are sometimes
considered interchangeable, the Editors have drawn a general distinction between
the command flags used by senior naval officers, the rank flags employed by officers
from the other armed services, the distinguishing flags of civilians and with
- DISTINGUISHING JACK
- 1) A newly introduced term for the jack (of a design which differs from its accompanying ensign) that is flown whilst a
vessel is underway in order to distinguish that vessel’s special service or purpose, with an example in current use being the
flag of a UK consular officer if flown as a jack but see ‘colonial jack’,
‘government service jack’, under ‘jack’ and the notes below (also ‘diplomatic flags’, ‘jack’ and ‘jack staff’).
2) A term which may also be used when the standard of a head of state (a royal or presidential standard) is flown from the jack
staff of a naval launch when that head of state is aboard but see ‘presidential standard(s) 1)’ and ‘royal standard(s) 1)’).
Consular Officer Afloat, UK (Graham Bartram);
Royal Standard, Spain (fotw);
Presidential Standard, Croatia (fotw)
a) In Germany and Austria, Government (as well as civilian) vessels often fly the flag of the relevant state/province as a distinguishing jack.
b) In some commonwealth countries the appropriate departmental flag is specified as a jack for government vessels.
c) In UK usage now obsolete, the British Civil Air Ensign was flown as a jack by those tenders who serviced the flying boats of Imperial Airways (1924 1939).
Short Empire Flying Boat c1938, UK (Wikipedia);
Civil Air Ensign, UK (fotw)
- DISTINGUISHING (or DISTINCTIVE) MARK
- Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), this
is the mark that identifies a vessel's status as the warship or government
owned ship of a sovereign state, and thus operated for non-commercial
purposes (see also ‘suit of flags’).
A Stealth Warship of the Royal Norwegian Navy Flying the Distinguishing Marks of Ensign, Jack and Masthead Pennant
Please note that this distinguishing mark is invariably
the ship's ensign, to lesser extent the masthead pennant and in some cases also
the jack (see also 'ensign'
‘masthead pennant 1)’) and
‘suit of colours’).
- DISTINGUISHING PLATE
- See ‘rank plate’.
Distinguishing/Rank Plate of a Vice Admiral RN, UK
- DISTINGUISHING VANE (PENDANT or PENNANT)
- In British RN and some other naval usage now obsolete, the term for a short
triangular pennant or large rectangular flag of different coloured panels, often
stiffened with a frame and sometimes flown (in addition to a masthead pennant) by
sailing warships to indicate (depending upon the masthead employed) the division
of a fleet to which they belonged or to identify individual ships within that
division (see also ‘frame 2)’,
‘masthead pennant 1)’).
- DIVER BELOW (or DIVER DOWN) FLAG
- 1) Flag A (Alpha or Alfa) in the International Code of Signals, signifying that the vessel
flying the flag has a diver down and that vessels approaching should keep well clear and
proceed at slow speed (see also
‘International Code of Signal Flags’ and
- 2) In US and some other usage, a red flag with a white descending diagonal
stripe indicating that divers are below the surface in the immediate vicinity
of the flag.
Signal Flag Alpha (CS)
Unofficial Warning Flag (CS)
Please note however, that while often referred to
as unofficial, use of 2) is required by law in most US states, and by law or regulation
in some other countries.
- DIVERGING STRIPES
- See ‘expanding stripes’.
Flag of Zeewolde, Netherlands
- 1) In vexillology see ‘bicolour’,
- 2) In heraldry see ‘party’.
National Flag of Uganda (fotw);
Aboriginal Flag, Australia (fotw);
Civil Flag and Ensign, Belgium; Flag of
Sicily, Italy (fotw);
Example Party Per Fess
- DIVINE RATIO (or PROPORTIONS)
- See ‘golden mean’.