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Heraldic Terms Used to Describe Animals

The following definitions are from Pimbleys Dictionary of Heraldry. (It is not the full dictionary, just the descriptions pertaining to charges.)

  • Accolle - An animal with a crown on its head or a collar around its neck
  • Addorsed - Two animals on a coat of arms turned back to back.
  • Affrontee - Two animals on a coat of arms facing each other.
  • Alaund - A hunting dog
  • Allumee - This term is used to describe the eyes of animals when they are red.
  • Ambulant - Walking.
  • Armed of - applies to a beast of prey when his teeth and claws are differently colored from the rest of his body. It applies also to predatory birds when their talons and beaks are differently colored from the rest of the body.
  • Aspectant - A term applied to two birds facing each other, or looking at each other.
  • Assaultant - Assailant. Applied to a predatory animal when represented as if leaping on its prey.
  • Assurgent - Rising out of.
  • At Gaze - Applied to the hart, buck, stag or hind when represented full-faced, or with the face directly to the front.
  • Attire - The single horn of a stag. (The plural attires is used for two horns).
  • Attired - Ornamented with horns or antlers. Applied to the stag or hart. A reindeer is represented with double attires - one pair erect and the other drooping.
  • Aversant - Turned away. Applied to a hand of which only the back can be seen. Sometimes called dorsed.
  • Banded - When a garb is bound together with a band of a different tincture it is described as banded of that tincture.
  • Barbed - Bearded. Usually specifically of the arrow; also, of the five leaflets in the compound leaf of some roses.
  • Beaked - When the beak and legs of a bird are of a different tincture from the body it is said to be beaked and membered of that tincture.
  • Belled - When a falcon or hawk has bells affixed to its legs it is said to be belled.
  • Boltant - Bolting; springing forward. (Used of a hare or rabbit.
  • Caboshed - The head of a beast borne full-faced, and without any neck showing. It has been cut off.
  • Close - The wings of a bird close to the body.
  • Collared - wearing a collar.
  • Combatant - A term applied to beasts borne face to face, as in the attitude of fighting.
  • Confronte - Face to face; two animals facing each other.
  • Couped - Said of an animal having the head or any limb cut clean off from the body.
  • Coward - Said of beasts represented with the tail between the legs.
  • Defamed - An epithet applied to an animal which has lost its tail.
  • Dismembered - Applied to birds having neither feet nor legs; also, to animals whose members are separated.
  • Displayed - Said of any bird of prey borne erect, with the wings expanded. Applied especially to the eagle.
  • Dormant - In a sleeping posture.
  • Embrued - Said of the mouths of beasts when bloody from devouring their prey; also applied to a weapon represented as covered or sprinkled with blood.
  • Enfiled - Used to describe a sword drawn as transfixing the head of a man or animal, a coronet or other object.
  • Erased - A term applied to the head of an animal or other bearing having the appearance of being forcibly torn off, leaving jagged or uneven ends.
  • Eradicated - A tree torn up by its roots.
  • Free - A term applied to a horse when represented in a field.
  • Fructed - Bearing fruit. Applied to a tree or plant when so represented.
  • Furnished - Said of a horse when borne bridled, saddled and completely caparisoned
  • Garb - A sheaf of wheat. This was a popular bearing, especially in Cheshire. Sometimes it is banded of a different color.
  • Gardant - Applied to a beast represented full-faced, or looking at the spectator, whether the animal be rampant, passant or otherwise. A beast of the chase - such as the hart, stag or hind - when depicted in this attitude is described as at gaze.
  • Genuant - Kneeling
  • Gradient - Applied to a tortoise represented as walking.
  • Haurient - Applied to a fish when borne palewise, or upright, as if putting its head out of the water to draw or suck in air.
  • Incensant - Applied to the boar when borne in a furious or angry position.
  • Incensed - A term applied to the eyes of any wild creature when represented with fire issuing from them.
  • Langued - Tongued; having the tongue visible. Applied to the tongue of a bird or beast when of a different tincture from that of the body.
  • Lodged - Applied to the buck, hart, hind, etc, when represented lying down.
  • Majesty - A term used to describe an eagle crowned and holding a scepter.
  • Massacre - When the antlers of a stag are attached to a fragnemt of the skull bone it is called a massacre.
  • Muzzled - Having a muzzle. Said of an animal, such as a bear, borne with a muzzle.
  • Nowed - Knotted: tied in a knot, as a serpent or the tail of a lion.
  • Overt - Applied to the wings of a bird, etc., when spread open on each side of its head , as if taking flight.
  • Passant - Walking; said of any animal, except beasts of the chase, when represented as walking, with the dexter paw raised. - The same attitude in the case of a stag, hart, etc., would be trippant.
  • Pose - Said of a lion, horse or other beast when represented standing still, with all four feet on the ground.
  • Preying - Applied to any beast or bird of prey when represented standing on and in a proper position for devouring its prey.
  • Proper - Represented in its natural color. Said of charges; as, "a lion proper."
  • Queue - The tail of a beast.
  • Double Queued - Having a double tail, as a lion. Sometimes the tails are placed saltirewise.
  • Rampant - Said of a beast of prey, as a lion, rising with fore paws in the air., as if attacking. The right fore leg and the right hind leg should be raised higher than the left. Unless otherwise specified, the animal faces dexter.
  • Counter Rampant - Said of two animals rampant in opposite directions. (Sometimes used to denote a beast rampant toward sinister.)
  • Rampant Gardant - The same as rampant, but with the animal looking full-faced.
  • Rampant Regardant - In a rampant position and looking behind.
  • Rampant Sejant - A beast in a sitting posture, with the fore legs raised.
  • Regardant - Said of an animal whose face is turned toward the tail in an attitude of vigilance; looking backward.
  • Resignant - Concealed. Said of a lion when his tail cannot be seen.
  • Retorted - Said of serpents when wreathed one in another, or fretted in the form of a knot.
  • Rising - A bird represented as if in the act of taking flight; rising from the ground.
  • Saliant - Leaping; springing. Applied to the lion or other beast represented in a leaping posture - his fore feet in dexter chief and his hind feet in sinister base.
  • Saltant - Springing forward; in a leaping position. Applied especially to the squirrel, weasel, rat; also applied to the cat, greyhound and monkey.
  • Sejant - In a sitting posture. Applied to the lion, cat, etc.
  • Spancelled - Said of a horse that has the fore and hind feet fettered by means of fetterrlocks fastened to the ends of a stick.
  • Statant - Standing. (The same as pose.)
  • Tenant - Held; holding.
  • Transfixed - Pierced by an arrow or similar weapon. Said of an animal.
  • Traversed - Turned to the sinister side of the shield.
  • Tricorporal - Three bodies conjoined to one head, as a lion; the bodies of three beasts represented issuing from the dexter, sinister and base points, and conjoined to one head in the center of the shield.
  • Trippant - Having the right forefoot lifted, the other three remaining on the ground, as if trotting. This term is applied to beasts of chase, as a buck, hart, etc., and is the same as passant, which is applied to beasts of prey.
  • Vigilant - Applied to a cat when represented as on the lookout for prey.
  • Volant - Represented as flying, or having the wings spread as in flight. Applied to a bird; as, an eagle volant.
  • Vorant - Devouring. Applied to an animal or bird depicted devouring another.
  • Vulned - Wounded. Applied to an animal or bird depicted as wounded and bleeding; as, a leopard vulned.

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