SYMBOLISM OF HERALDIC COLORS, FURS, LINES & ORDINARIES or...
What does it mean if your coat of arms bears a red boar's head?
The following descriptions and meanings are gleaned from a variety of sources, some of which disagree on those meanings. The most commonly accepted meanings are given, but scholars vary in the their opinions concerning the reliability of any "commonly held" historic meanings for coats of arms and crests. Primary Source: The Symbols of Heraldry Explained (Heraldic Artists Ltd, Dublin, 1980)
For a list of all known symbols and their meanings, please see our "All Meanings" page.
For examples of the different positions for heraldic animals, see our "Sample Lions In Heraldry" page.
Even the colors can have special meaning in a "family crest" or coat of arms:
|Gold or Yellow||Or||Generosity and elevation of the mind|
|Silver or White||Argent||Peace and sincerity|
|Red||Gules||Warrior or martyr; Military strength and magnanimity|
|Blue||Azure||Truth and loyalty|
|Green||Vert||Hope, joy, and loyalty in love|
|Black||Sable||Constancy or grief|
|Purple||Purpure||Royal majesty, sovereignty, and justice|
|Orange||Tawny or Tenne||Worthy ambition|
|Maroon||Sanguine or Murray||Patient in battle, and yet victorious|
The mere fact that a shield or crest contains furs suggests a mark of dignity. Usually the fur coat of the weasel is represented.
|Ermine||White with black spots|
|Ermines||Black with white spots|
|Erminois||Gold with black spots|
|Pean||Black with gold spots|
|Vair||White and blue bell shapes|
Heraldic Lines and Ordinaries
Different types of dividing lines, borders, sections, etc. can all have meaning.
|Nebuly||Clouds or air|
|Wavy||Sea or water|
|Engrailed||Earth or land|
|Invected||Earth or land|
|Raguly||Difficulties that have been encountered|
|Embattled||Walls of a fortress or town (also, fire)|