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Glossary of Flag Terms

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Appliqued - One piece of material sewn (stitched) to another as opposed to printed or dyed designs.
Canton - A rectangular or square part of a flag, usually found in the upper hoist corner.
Cleat - The device used to secure the bottom of a flagpole halyard (rope).
Color Fastness - The ability of a material to resist fading and color migration - a relative term.
Colors - A flag, ensign or standard borne in an army or fleet. A country's national flag.
Double Seal - A flag which reads correctly from both sides because a portion of the flag has another design sewn to the back side.
Double Thickness - Actually two single flags sewn back to back which doubles the flag weight and affects the flyability and wearing quality. Not recommended for use on outdoor flag poles.
Ensign - A flag, banner, or standard showing office, rank, or nationality, especially of an army or ship.
Ferrule - The tubular portion of an ornament placed over the top of a pole to hold the ornament.
Field - On a U.S. flag, the blue part.
Flash Collar - A decorative cover used at the base of an outdoor flagpole.
Fly End - The free flying end of a flag, usually opposite the heading.
FOTW - Flags Of The World mailing list and website. The finest source of vexillological information on the internet. Visit our FOTW mirror.
Fringed - A flag with decorative fringe around all or part of its perimeter.
Front - The surface seen when a flag is in its normal flying position with the hoist to the viewer's left. (The "Back" is the reverse).
Garrison Flag - A gigantic flag flown over military posts and forts. The "Star Spangled Banner" flown over Fort McHenry in Baltimore was 30' x 42'. Most commonly refers to flags 8' x 12' and larger.
Grommets - The brass rings or eyelets (normally in the heading) for mounting outdoor flags.
Halyard - The rope for an outdoor flagpole used to raise and lower the flag.
Heading - The heavy canvas or other reinforcing material at the side or end from which the flag or banner will be supported.
Hoist - The side of a flag next to the pole.
Indoor Flags - Flags constructed primarily for indoor display or temporary outdoor parade use, with pole hem and usually fringed.
Jack - A small flag flown at the bow of a ship, usually to indicate nationality. U.S. Jack is blue with 50 white stars.
Joint - The device used to hold a 2-piece pole together.
Outdoor Flags - Flags constructed primarily for use on an outdoor pole - with heading and grommets or roped.
Plain - A flag without fringe.
Pole Band - The canvas heading of the flag left open at both ends so that a staff can be passed through it.
Pole Hem - A sleeve or tunnel of the same fabric and color as the background of the flag, through which the staff is passed for mounting indoor and parade flags.
Roped - A flag with a rope passing through the heading and looped and secured at each end. The halyard of the flagpole is then attached to the loops. Normally used only on large outdoor flags.
Single/Reverse - A flag which reads correctly from the front and reverse from the rear.
Snap Hook - A device used to attach a flag to the halyard (rope) on a flagpole.
Truck - The device at the top of an outdoor pole that houses the pulley wheel and to which an ornament is mounted.
Vexillology - The science of studying flags, their history, meanings and symbolisms.

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This page created - September 28, 1997