This page is part of © FOTW Flags Of The World website

Word "flag" in French

Last modified: 2017-03-11 by antónio martins
Keywords: drapeau | pavillon | bannière | étendard | fanion |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors



About French: See also:
[]

Overview

[Other words also meaning "flag" in French:]

  • "couleurs" (same as "colors"): «les couleurs de la France sont bleu-blanc-rouge».
  • "pavillon de beaupré" is the word for "jack" [(litt. "bowsprit flag" or even "bowsprit ensign")]. I think the word "beaupré" comes from german "Bugspriet".
  • "gonfalon" or "gonfanon" is the word for church flags which hang vertically and have cut stripes at the bottom, like Venice).
Pascal Vagnat, 23 Jan 1996

I advise you to have a look in the Yearbook of the French Encyclopaedia Universalis [eunXX]. At the end of the book, there are flags and a glossary with many useful [flag-related] words.

At the beginning of the glossary of W. Smith’s book (at least in the French version [smi76]), there is an explanation by the translator who says that the same word doesn’t mean the same in different languages.

Pascal Vagnat, 23 Jan 1996

[]

Word " drapeau "

Word:
drapeau
Script:
Latin
Etym. family:
*drap-
Noun class:
♂ (masculine)
Meaning:
flag

External links:

In the past, "pavillon" was more used than "drapeau" and was the name for all flags.
Pascal Vagnat, 23 Jan 1996

[]

Word " pavillon "

Word:
pavillon
Script:
Latin
Etym. family:
*pavilion
Noun class:
♂ (masculine)
Meaning:
ensign

The French word "pavillon(s)" is (theoretically) the same as the English "ensign". "Pavillon" is only used now to name a flag displayed on a boat at sea. However in the past, "pavillon" was more used than "drapeau" and was the name for all flags. When it was an ensign, we said «pavillon en mer» («ensign at sea») or «pavillon de commerce» («merchant ensign»).
Pascal Vagnat, 23 Jan 1996

[]

Word " bannière "

Word:
bannière
Script:
Latin
Etym. family:
*band-
Noun class:
♀ (feminine)
Meaning:
flag (other)

Remarks:
Mediaeval use

Not used now to name a flag, we use it more to say that «we put us under the bannière of a party». It was the middle-ages word for "flag" in French.
Pascal Vagnat, 23 Jan 1996

[]

Word " étendard "

Word:
étendard
Script:
Latin
Etym. family:
*stand-
Noun class:
♂ (masculine)
Meaning:
standard

External links:

"Étendard" is rarely said and means in French more a sort of flag (middle-ages) than the personal flag of a head of state.
Pascal Vagnat, 23 Jan 1996

We have this semantic distinction in French between "drapeau" (flag) and "étendard" (used for instance in La Marseillaise: «L’étendard sanglant est levé», which translates as «the blood-stained standard had been raised» rather than «the bloody flag is up!»). Similarly, «lever l’étendard» (to raise the standard) is used for pretentious declarations such as «lever l’étendard de la paix», and a «porte-étendard» (standard bearer) is usually the man associated with a noble cause.
Ivan Sache, 12 Aug 2007

[]

Word " fanion "

Word:
fanion
Script:
Latin
Etym. family:
*fan-
Noun class:
♂ (masculine)
Meaning:
flag (other)

Anything below this line was not added by the editor of this page.