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Dictionary of Vexillology: W (Waft - West-South Diagonal)

Last modified: 2015-03-07 by rob raeside
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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WAFT
1) A term, now obsolete, for a flag tied in a knot and displayed at sea as a signal of some emergency - a wheft or weft (see also ‘flag of distress’) and its following note).
2) (adv) The term may also be used to describe a flag that is tangled or is otherwise disordered.

WANDERFAHNE
See ‘touring flag’).

torse
Wanderfahne/Touring Flag (E Bay)


WAND OF HERMES (or MERCURY)
See ‘caduceus’.

[rod of Hermes example]
Flag of Holwerd, Netherlands (fotw)


WANING or WAXING MOON
Two terms that, whilst potentially contradictory, are sometimes used to describe the orientation of a crescent moon in place of the more accurate vexillological phrases “with points towards the hoist or towards the fly”, or of their heraldic equivalents “increscent/ increment” or “decrescent/decrement” – see ‘crescent 1)’, ‘moon 1)’ and ‘moon 2)’.

[waning/waxing moon example]

Notes
a)
A “waxing moon” in the southern hemisphere looks like a “waning moon” in the northern (or vice-versa), and its orientation depends upon whether the flag is dexter-hoisted in the western tradition or sinister- hoisted as in the Arabic. Therefore, the Editors recommend use of either the vexillogical or heraldic terms noted above
b) These terms, whilst not used in modern English heraldry, do occasionally appear in medieval heraldic blazoning.


WAR BANNER
In UK usage a term, last used in 1853 and now obsolete, for a small white triangular flag seen on military drums at a proclamation of war (see also ‘bannerette’).

WAR ENSIGN
See ‘naval ensign’ listed under ‘ensign’ (also ‘s’).

Thai war ensign
War/Naval Ensign of Thailand (fotw)


WAR FLAG
1) An alternative term for the naval ensign.
2) A term - and a direct translation of the German Kriegsflagge or Spanish bandera de Guerra - for that flag (different from the national flag) flown by a country’s armed services, which is usually (but not invariably) the same design as the naval ensign and/or state flag – a flag of war (see also ‘battle flag 3)’, ‘state flag’, and ‘naval ensign/war ensign’ under ‘ensign’).

Peruvian war flag Peruvian war flag Chinese war flag [Bolivia War flag]
War flag of Germany 1938 – 1945 (fotw); War Flag of Peru (fotw); War Flag of China, 1911 (fotw); War Flag/Naval Ensign of Bolivia (fotw)


WAR (or WARSHIP) PENNANT (or FLAME)
See ‘masthead pennant 1)’.

[War pennant]
War Pennant/Flamme de Guerre of France (fotw)

Please note that "war flame" is an exact translation of the French term "flamme de guerre".


WAR WAGON
See ‘carrocerum’.
WARNING FLAG
1) See 'red flag 1)'
2) The term, and a direct translation of the German warnflagge, that is also used to describe the red and white flag flown by (slow-moving) snow clearance vehicles (see also ‘beach flag’, ‘fire alert flag’, ‘range flag’ and ‘storm warning flags’).

[Warning flag]
Warnflagge (James Dignan)


WARRANT
In UK usage and in some others, the legal instrument by which display/augmentation of a territorial coat of arms or of a flag – usually (but not invariably) in this latter case a defaced version of an established design - is authorized – a Royal Warrant (illustrations 1), 2), 3) and 4) below), Warrant of the Governor General, Admiralty Warrant (illustration 4) below) or Warrant of the Minister of Defence (see also ‘archivexillum’, ‘blue ensign 1)’ with its following note, ‘defaced’, ‘flag law’, ‘red ensign 1)’ with its following note, ‘royal order in council 1)’, ‘royal proclamation’ and ‘yacht ensign’ under ‘ensign’ with its following note).

[The British Antarctic Territories arms] [The British Antarctic Territories arms] [Royal Naval Reserve, The Netherlands] [Lord-Lieutenant, UK] [Royal Lymington Yacht Club]
Arms and Flag of The British Antarctic Territories; Ensign of the Royal Naval Reserve, The Netherlands; Flag of Guernsey; Flag of A Lord-Lieutenant, UK; Ensign of The Royal Lymington Yacht Club, UK (fotw)

Please note that the Board of Admiralty ceased to exist in 1964, and its power to issue (or to withdraw) warrants was transferred to the Minister of Defence – see ‘anchor flag’.


WARRANT OF THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE (or OF THE GOVERNOR GENERAL)
See ‘warrant’.

[Government Ensign of Guernsey] [Lt Governor of Saskatchewan]
Government Ensign of Guernsey established by Warrant of the Minister of Defence, UK (fotw); Flag of the Lt Governor of Saskatchewan Canada authorized by Warrant of the Governor General (fotw)


WASHFASTNESS
See ‘fastness’.

WATERWHEEL (WATER-WHEEL or WATER-MILL WHEEL)
The term for a representation of a wheel that usually (but not invariably) provides the motive power for the grinding of wheat or other cereal – a riverwheel, water-wheel, water mill wheel or millwheel – see ‘millstone’ (also ‘cog-wheel’ and ‘windmill’.

waterwheel  waterwheel waterwheel waterwheel waterwheel
Arms and Flag of Veliki Grđevac, Croatia (fotw); The Arms of Końskie, Poland (fotw); Flag and Arms of Slunj, Croatia (fotw).


WATTLE(D)
1) On flags, a plaque, frame or ornament consisting of two or more interlaced branches, and typically used on Croatian flags (see also ‘cartouche’ and ‘ring’).
2) In heraldry, the term refers to the fleshy lobe that grows under the throat of a domestic fowl and in the adjective form is used when the wattle is of a different tincture to the body of the bird concerned - but see ‘jelloped’ (also ‘tincture’).

[Wattle example]  [Wattle example - Blato, Croatia] [Wattle example - Blato, Croatia] [Wattle example - Veltheim, Switzerland]
examples (Željko Heimer); Flag and Arms of Blato, Croatia (fotw); Flag of Veltheim, Switzerland


WAVY
(adj) A basically heraldic term used when the edges of an ordinary/charge, or the division line of the field on a shield, banner of arms or a flag are shown with wavy lines, and often (but not invariably) symbolic of running water – unde or undy (see also ‘active’, ‘banner of arms’, ‘nebuly’, ‘barry wavy’, ‘ordinary’ and ‘serrated’).

[Overijssel, Netherlands] Rendsburg-Eckernförde, Germany Arms - Zadar, Croatia Flag - Zadar, Croatia Flag - Ciutadilla, Spain
Flag of Overijssel, Netherlands (fotw); Flag of Rendsburg-Eckernförde, Germany (fotw); Arms and Flag of Zadar, Croatia (fotw); Flag of Ciutadilla, Spain (fotw)


WAVY FLAME
In English then British usage, now obsolete, the term used to describe a pile wavy as it appeared on military colours – see ‘pile(s) wavy’ (also ‘flammes’, ‘pile 2)’, ‘stand 1)’, ‘venn’ and ‘wavy’ ).

wavy flame
Major’s Colour in Venn A, England c1643


WAXING or WANING MOON
Two terms that, whilst potentially contradictory, are sometimes used to describe the orientation of a crescent moon in place of the more accurate vexillological phrases “with points towards the hoist or towards the fly”, or of their English heraldic equivalents “increscent/increment” or “decrescent/decrement” – see ‘crescent 1)’, ‘moon 1)’, ‘moon 2)’ and the notes below.

waxing and waning moon

Please note that a “waxing moon” in the southern hemisphere looks like a “waning moon” in the northern (or vice versa), and its orientation depends upon whether the flag is dexter-hoisted in the western tradition or sinister-hoisted as in the Arabic. Therefore, the Editors recommend use of either the vexillogical or heraldic terms noted above.

Also please note that these terms, whilst not used in modern English heraldry, do occasionally appear in medieval heraldic blazoning.


WEAR A FLAG
(v) To display a flag - said of a ship or any vessel (see also ‘fly 2)’).

WEATHER (or WEATHER-WARNING) FLAG (or PENNANT)
1) See ‘storm warning flag’ (also ‘beach flag’).
2) In Japanese usage now obsolete, flags or pennants flown prominently in urban areas to advise of anticipated weather conditions (see also ‘safety flag’.

loading/unloading suspended flag  Storm warning flag  Japanese weather flag Japanese weather flag
Loading/Unloading of Cargo Suspended, Chile; Small Craft Warning, US; Clear sky, Occasionally Overcast and South West Wind, Japan (Miles Li).


WEATHER VANE
See ‘vane 4)’.

WEDGE
See ‘pile 3)’.

wedge
Colour of the Hamburg State Police c1936 - 1945, Germany (fotw)


WEDGE WAVY
See ‘piles(s) wavy 1)’.

wedge wavy
Colour of the 46th Regiment of Foot c1750, Prussia (fotw)


WEFT
1) See ‘waft’.
2) The term used in weaving to describe those yarns attached to a movable shuttle, and which run alternately above and below those fixed to the loom (the warp).

WEIGHTED FLY
A term which may be used when a metal rod (or similar) is inserted into a sleeve placed at the fly of a conventional/hoisted flag (intended to he hung from a horizontal pole) in order to weight it for vertical hanging and to prevent the flag becoming entangled with its pole (see also ‘flagpole’, ‘hoisted flag’, ‘outrigger pole’ and ‘tangle rod’).

Please note that this term has been introduced by the Editors as no existing established term could be found.


WEST-EAST DIAGONAL
A diagonal stripe that runs from the upper hoist to the lower fly whose corners generally touch the corners of the flag but whose width is entirely contained within the width of that flag - a reduced bend - see ‘bend’ and ‘Appendix IX’ (also ‘ascending diagonal’, ‘descending diagonal’, ‘east-south diagonal’, ‘east-west diagonal’, ‘north-east diagonal’, ‘north-south diagonal’, ‘south-east diagonal’, ‘south-north diagonal’, ‘west-north diagonal’ and ‘west-south diagonal’).

[Brunei] Prosatín, Czech Republic Mavrolachians, Croatia Slatinany, Czech Republic
National Flag of Brunei (fotw); Flag of Prosatín, Czech Republic (fotw); Flag of the Mavrolachians, Croatia (fotw); Flag of Slatiňany, Czech Republic (fotw)


WEST-NORTH DIAGONAL
A diagonal stripe running from the lower hoist to the upper fly, whose corners may (or may not) touch the corners of the flag but whose width is contained within the length of the flag at the fly and the width of the flag at its hoist (see also ‘Appendix IX’, ‘ascending diagonal’, ‘descending diagonal’, ‘east-south diagonal’, ‘east-west diagonal’, ‘north-east diagonal’, ‘north-south diagonal’, ‘south-east diagonal’, ‘south-north diagonal’, ‘west-north diagonal’ ‘west-east diagonal’ and ‘west-south diagonal’).

Dešná, Czech Republic Flag of Lovcice, Czech Republic Flag of Orion Shipping, USA Flag of Aguiarnópolis, Brazil
Flag of Dešná, Czech Republic (fotw); Flag of Lovcice, Czech Republic (fotw); Flag of Orion Shipping, US (fotw); Flag of Aguiarnópolis, Brazil (fotw)

Please note that this term, whilst an extension of those existing and established, has been introduced by the editors.


WEST-SOUTH DIAGONAL
A diagonal stripe running from the upper hoist corner to the lower fly corner, whose corners may (or may not) touch the corners of the flag but whose width is contained within the width of the flag at the hoist and the length of the flag at its fly (see also ‘Appendix IX’, ‘ascending diagonal’, ‘descending diagonal’, ‘east-west diagonal’, ‘north-east diagonal’, ‘north-south diagonal’, ‘south-east diagonal’, ‘south-north diagonal’, and ‘west-north diagonal’),

example Žákava, Czech Republic Makov, Czech Republic
Example; Flag of Žákava, Czech Republic (fotw); Flag of Makov, Czech Republic (fotw)

Please note that this term, whilst an extension of those existing and established, has been introduced by the editors.


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