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Dictionary of Vexillology: L (Leading Edge - Letter of Marque)

Last modified: 2022-08-27 by rob raeside
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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An alternative term for the dexter edge of a vertically hung banner or a gonfalon – see ‘dexter edge’.

leading edge

Please note, that this term has been introduced by the Editors as a vexillological alternative to the heraldically derived ”dexter edge”.

A newly introduced term – and translation of the German Blattkrone - that may be used to describe a crown which is apparently formed from a series of leaves (see also ‘crown of arms’, ‘hamburgian coronet’, ‘mural crown 1)’, and ‘provincial crown 2)’).

leafy crown example leafy crown example
Lesser Arms and Civil Flag of Baden-Württemberg, Germany (fotw).

A term sometimes used in heraldic blazoning to indicate that a flower or plant is shown complete with its stalk and leaves (see also ‘barbed’, ‘fructed’, ‘seeded’ and ‘slipped’).

leaved  leaved  leaved 
Flag of Müswangen, Switzerland (fotw); Flag of Podlehnik, Slovenia (fotw); Flag of Monthey, Switzerland (fotw)

The edge of a sail that lies opposite to its yard, and is used (in place of “at the peak” on gaff-rigged vessels) to indicate the position of an ensign when flown from a halyard running from the outer end of the mainsail boom to the mast of a Bermuda rigged sailing yacht - instead of from an ensign staff at the stern (see also ‘ensign 1)’, ‘gaff’, ‘halyard’, ‘peak’ and ‘yard’).

ensign from the leech ensign from the peak
Ensign Flown At The Leech: Ensign At The Peak

Please note that an ensign should always be flown from an ensign staff at the stern whilst at anchor or berthed alongside.

See ‘ascending diagonal 1)’ and ‘bend sinister’.

Les Cullayes Les Cullayes
Flag and Arms of Les Cullayes, Switzerland (fotw and CS)

A term that may be used (in place of its heraldic equivalent) when the obverse of a flag is depicted (or is manufactured) with its hoist to the observer’s left in accordance with Western tradition – but see ‘dexter hoist’ and the note below (also ‘hoist 1)’ and ‘obverse’).

National Flag of Germany (fotw)

Please note that the Editors recommend use of the heraldic term as being more accurate and will avoid any potential confusion.

In heraldry see ‘membered’.

legged legged
Flag and Arms Černošín, Czechia (fotw)

See ‘yacht ensign’ under ‘ensign’.

Royal Norwegian Yacht Club
Ensign of the Royal Norwegian Yacht Club (fotw)

1) That dimension of a flag which is measured horizontally from the outside edge of the hoist (generally excluding the heading), to the opposite extreme edge of the fly (see also ‘Appendix I’, ‘width’, ‘heading’, ‘hoist’ and ‘fly’).
2) The longer dimension of a stripe or band within a flag – howsoever orientated (see also ‘stripe’).
3) The dimension of an emblem, charge, arms, shield or badge measured horizontally, when it appears on a flag – but see the note below, ‘height’ and ‘width across’ (see also ‘badge’, ‘charge’, ‘emblem’ 'establishment of arms' and ‘shield’).

length example

Please note that definition 3) is given with regard to the consistent use of proportions when describing a flag and its charges, however, it is suggested that when giving the actual dimensions of any such charge the phrase ‘width across’ should be used for its horizontal measurement and the word ‘height’ for its vertical size (see also ‘dimensions’ and ‘proportions’).

See under ‘arms’.

length example length example
Lesser Arms of Bavaria, Germany and of Sweden (fotw)

See ‘privateer(s)’ and its following note.

letter of marque example
Privateer Ensign, Spain 1820 (fotw)

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