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In heraldry, an armiger is a person entitled to use a coat of arms (e.g., bear arms, an "armour-bearer") either by hereditary right, grant, matriculation, or assumption of arms. Such a person is said to be armigerous.
Armiger was also used as a Latin cognomen, and is now found as a rare surname in English-speaking countries.
Today, the term armiger is well-defined only within jurisdictions, such as Canada, Ireland, Spain and the United Kingdom, where heraldry is regulated by the state or a heraldic body, such as the College of Arms, the Court of the Lord Lyon or the Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland. A person can be so entitled either by proven (and typically agnatic) descent from a person with a right to bear a coat of arms, or by virtue of a grant of arms to himself. Merely sharing the same family name of an armiger is insufficient.
Most of the time, the usage of coats of arms is governed by legal restrictions; these restrictions are independent of the copyright status and independent of a coat of arms depiction. A coat of arms represents its owner. Though it can be freely represented, it cannot be appropriated, or used in such a way as to create a confusion with or a prejudice to its owner.
- Dictionary of Chivalry, Uden. Kestrel Books, Harmondsworth, 1968. ISBN 0-7226-5372-7
- Coss, Peter R. "Knights, esquires and the origins of social gradation in England." Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, Sixth Series, 5 (1995): 155-78.
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