- SNAKEHEAD CROSS
- A term that may be used for that variation of a cross moline where the
curved pieces at the ends are each formed by the head of a snake – a cross gringolée – but see
(also ‘cross 2)’).
Flag of Zweeloo, The Netherlands (fotw); Flag of
Schinnen, The Netherlands (fotw); Flag of
Munstergeleen, The Netherlands (fotw)
Please note that a snakehead-cross – a cross gringolée - now appears to be limited to Dutch usage.
- SOLAR DISC (or DISK)
- See ‘disc’
Flag of Yakutia, Russian Federation (fotw)
- SOLAR SIGN (or EMBLEM)
- In largely East European and West Asian usage, a stylized emblem (of varying design) that
symbolizes an ancient or ancestral veneration of the sun – but see note below (also
Flag of Ingushetia, Russia (fotw); Flag of Khakassia, Russia (fotw); Flag of Mordovia, Russia (fotw)
Please note that the solar sign is not a stylized representation of the sun itself, but refers rather to its veneration or worship – see ‘sun emblem’.
- SONS OF SERVICE FLAG
- See ‘service flag 4)’.
Sons in Service Flags US (fotw); Canada (CS)
- SOUTHERN CROSS
- 1) A stylized representation of the constellation Crux Australis, and used
as a symbol on flags in the Southern Hemisphere – as on those of, for example,
Australia, New Zealand and Samoa.
- 2) A colloquial name for the saltire as used by the Confederate States of
America on its battle flag, naval jack and later national flags (see also
‘battle flag 1)’
‘stainless banner’ and
‘stars and bars’).
From left: Civil Ensign of Australia (fotw);
Civil Ensign of New Zealand (fotw);
National Flag of Samoa (fotw);
Second Naval Jack 1863-1865,
- SOUTH-EAST DIAGONAL
- A diagonal stripe that runs from the lower hoist to the upper fly whose corners may (or may not)
touch the corners of the flag, but whose width is contained within the length of the flag at the hoist
and its width at the fly (see also
and ‘west-south diagonal’).
Flag of Motuca, Brazil (fotw); Flag of
Běštín, Czech Republic (CS): Flag of
Lázně Libverda, Czech Republic (fotw); Flag of the Royal Engineers, Malaysia (Jaume Ollé)
Please note that this term, whilst an extension of those existing and
established, has been introduced by the editors.
- SOUTH-NORTH DIAGONAL
- A diagonal stripe that runs from the lower hoist to the upper fly whose
corners may or may not touch the corners of the flag but whose width is
entirely contained within the length of the flag – an enhanced bend sinister
- see ‘bend’ and ‘Appendix IX’
and ‘west-south diagonal’).
National Flag of The Congo (fotw);
Flag of Amhara, Ethiopia (fotw); Flag of the
FNLA, Angola (fotw); Flag of
Satalice, Czech Republic (CS)
- SOUVENIR FLAGS (or PENNANTS)
- 1) A generic term for flags or pennants exchanged during sporting matches by the captains
of the contending teams – a flag exchange (see also 'club pennant',
‘sports flag 1)’ and ‘sports flag 2)’).
- 2) Burgees presented to a club by visiting yachts, or collected by such visitors for display at
their home port (see also ‘burgee 1)’ and
- 3) See ‘brag flags’.
- 4) See ‘commemorative flag’.
- 5) Small flags or pennants sold (or issued) to school children and/or street-lining
spectators for the purpose of waving at visiting dignitaries - usually in honour of a specific
event (see also 'handwaver').
Please note however, it is strongly suggested that the types of
flag given above are better defined by their type and/or circumstances of presentation, and
that the more precise terms (as listed separately herein) are to be preferred in description.
- SOVEREIGN'S BANNER
- 1) In British Army usage the ceremonial flag (equivalent to a military colour or guidon)
of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst (see also
‘colours 2)’ and
- 2) In Australian military usage the term given to a special ceremonial flag presented to
a military organization by Her Majesty The Queen in place of or in addition to colours
(see also ‘banner 6)’,
‘colour 2)’ and
- SOVEREIGN'S COLOUR (or COLOR)
- See ‘colours 2)’.
King’s Colour Infantry of the Royal Guard 1704, Spain (fotw); Queen’s Colour of the Chasseurs Isabel II c1840, Spain (fotw)
- SOVEREIGN'S STANDARD
- 1) Specifically in British military usage, that flag carried as a special mark of distinction
by the Life Guards and the Blues and Royals - the Household Cavalry (see also
‘union standard’ and
- 2) Generically see ‘royal standard 1)’.
Sovereign's Standard of the Blues and Royals, UK
- SPANISH-STYLE (or SPANISH) SHIELD
- The term sometimes used to describe a round-bottomed shield – a Spanish or Spanish-shaped shield (see also
‘French shield’, ‘Gothic shield’ with its following note,
‘Italian shield’, ‘rectangular shield’,
‘round-bottomed shield 2)’
‘semi-circular shield’, ‘shield 2)’ and ‘triarched triangular shield’).
National Arms of Spain (fotw)
- SPANISH-STYLE TRIBAND (or SPANISH TRIBAND)
- A term for a horizontal triband, either plain or defaced, with internal proportions of 1-2-1
(see also ‘defaced 1)’,
‘plain 2)’, ‘triband 1)’ and
Civil Flag/Ensign of Spain (fotw); National Flag of
(fotw); National Flag of Laos (fotw); National Flag of
- SPECIFICATION (or SPEC)
- 1) The detailed description, either by diagram or in writing, of how the design
of a flag is constructed see ‘specification sheet’ below
- 2) The act of drawing up such design details.
- SPECIFICATION SHEET (or SPEC SHEET)
- The detailed visual presentation of how the design of a flag is constructed, usually
showing construction lines and figures and often including the source or sources of any
such information – a construction sheet (see also
‘specification’ above and
Specification sheet for the Civil Ensign of Switzerland (CS)
- SPECULATIVE FLAG (SPECULATIVE DESIGN or SPECULATION)
- A term for the image of a flag, or details of a flag’s design/use, for which no exact details are
known or can be confirmed – a speculative design or speculation - but see ‘reconstruction’.
Speculative Banner of Arms of Għawdex, Malta (fotw);
Speculative Flag of Orkney, UK (fotw);
Speculative Flag of Lomita, US (fotw)
- SPIRAL DECORATION
- A term for the practice, now increasingly (but not entirely) obsolete, of
decorating a flag pole or the staff of a parade flag or military colour with a spiral
decoration, usually in the national or livery colours and often accompanied by a cravat
(see also ‘colour 2)’,
‘livery colours’ and
State Flag of San Marino (fotw & CS); National Flag of Brazil on a Military Flagpole (fotw & CS)
- 1) A naval term for the joint in two pieces of line, halyard or cable, and created by
weaving the strands into each other (see also ‘eye splice’).
2) (v) The act of creating a joint as detailed above.
- SPLIT FLAG
- An Anglicization of the Scandinavian terms splitflag or splittflag – see ‘splitflag’.
Flag of the Regent 1941 – 1944, Iceland (fotw)
- SPLITFLAG (or SPLITTFLAG)
- 1) A term that may be officially used to describe the shape of the Danish state flag/naval ensign and of its variants (see also
- 2) A term that may also be used in other Scandinavian countries (particularly Norway with the
alternative spelling given above) in place of
‘swallow tail and tongue’.
The State Flag/Naval Ensign of Denmark (fotw);
Flag of Danish railways (fotw);
State/War Flag of Norway (fotw)
- SPORTING BANNER
- See ‘banner 3)’.
- SPORT SUPPORTER'S FLAG/PENNANT
- See ‘sports flag 2)’.
Northern Ireland Football Supporters, UK (fotw)
- SPORTS (or SPORTING) FLAG (or PENNANT)
- 1) A flag – often the appropriate national or provincial flag – bearing
(or defaced with) the name of a sporting club or related slogan (see also
‘car flag 2)’,
and ‘souvenir flag 1)’).
- 2) A flag or pennant, usually in the club or school colours, bearing an emblem (and often associated lettering) that
represents a sporting club or school team – a sport supporter'S or
supporters flag/pennant or a fan'S flag/pennant (see also
‘car flag 2)’, ‘institutional flags/pennants’ and
- 3) The flag of a national or international sporting organization (see also
‘international flag(s) 2)’).
- 4) One of a varied number of flags that are used to regulate or to assist
in running a sporting activity – for example, the chequered flag in motor racing.
From left: Liverpool Football Club, UK (CS and fotw); Arica y Parinacota, Chile (Ivan Sache);
Serbian Football Association (fotw);
Chequered Flag (fotw)
Please note with regard to 1) that in some countries the practice of defacing a
national or sub-national flag as described above is either discouraged or is illegal, but continues to be
employed by sports fans regardless.
- SPURIOUS FLAG
- See 'fictitious flag'.
Spurious Flag of French Morocco from the film Casablanca (fotw)
- SPUR ROWEL (or SPUR WHEEL)
- See ‘rowel’.
Example: Flag of Norden, Germany (fotw)