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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
- 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
- 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
- Barbed - Bearded. Usually specifically of the
arrow; also, of the five leaflets in the compound leaf of
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Displayed - Said of any bird of prey borne
erect, with the wings expanded. Applied especially to the
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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;
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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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