Talk:Ordinary (heraldry)

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Flag vs. Shield[edit]

The U.S. flag is barry, but the shield (borne on an eagle carrying arrows in one talon and olive branches in the other, etc.) is paly. The flag has a canton, not a chief, anyway... AnonMoos 22:55, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

US Constitution Eagle.PNG


Has the definition of ordinary been discussed before? I think that it's seriously lacking as the lead of the article. Any suggestions for a sharper and more accurate definition?--dave-- 18:34, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

No one knows what the definition of an ordinary is. It's notoriously true that there is nothing true about ordinaries that is not true of at least some other charges. All one can really do is list them, and there is just general, not precise, agreement about even this. --Daniel C. Boyer (talk) 14:21, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

"in orle"[edit]

Confusingly, when a number of charges (by default, eight) are arranged in the position that a bordure (not an orle) would be in, they are said to be "in orle".

It could reasonably be argued that charges in the position of a bordure would be issuant from the edge. Otherwise, how do you tell the position of a bordure from that of an orle? —Tamfang (talk) 03:22, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

Blason Guillaume de Valence (William of Pembroke).svg

The phrase "issuant from the edge" sounds to me as if it denotes the attitude of the charge(s) as being oriented inward from the edge. Looking at the image at left, the birds are not shown as being "issuant from" anywhere, but are simply arranged near the edge. While charges "in orle" are rare, I have not yet seen a blazon describing a number of a charge "issuant from the edge". Basically, an Orle is the diminutive form of a Bordure, and there would be no difference between describing a number of a charge "in orle" or "in bordure", except that the latter would suggest that there is a bordure separate from the field. I hope that helps clear things up. Wilhelm meis (talk) 23:43, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

I choose to read the above as agreeing with me that "Confusingly" and "(not an orle)" are wrong. ;) —Tamfang (talk) 06:17, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I think you missed the point I was making. What I was trying to say was that "issuant from the edge" is not a description I have ever seen before, nor have I ever seen anything I would describe as "issuant from the edge" (which suggests that the charges should all be oriented as if radiating inward toward the center of the shield, rather than each being oriented "right side up" around the shield. I was not arguing against the phrasing of the original passage ("Confusingly... "in orle"."). Actually, I think the passage is not wrong, and is appropriate in its context. Wilhelm_meis (talk) 03:22, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
I have seen plenty of blazons describing charges as issuant from various points on the edge, e.g. issuant from base, issuant from chief, issuant from sinister etc. That we don't see such phrases as issuant from the whole edge or issuant from eight points equally spaced on the edge is no argument against my suggestion that such an arrangement, if it existed, could be described as en bordure.
If you insist on "Confusingly," then I demand evidence that some people are confused by it, and/or a clarification of what else in orle could possibly mean. If I paint an orle over the shield shown above, the birds disappear. Is your contention that an un-confusing rendition of charges in orle would leave more space on the outside? That option is open to the artist; such details have never been distinctive. Three spears palewise in fess are not confined to the space of a fess, though they could be drawn that way without creating much confusion. Or are you saying that a novice might blazon an orle of charges as in bordure? Well, a novice might say plenty of unidiomatic things, like three pales in place of three pallets, without being wrong enough to generate the wrong picture. —Tamfang (talk) 00:52, 13 September 2008 (UTC)


Let's start a collection of good examples of ordinaries seen in WP illustrations. (I'm going through Swiss municipalities, most of which have good armory.) —Tamfang (talk) 01:14, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

List removed from here. See User:Tamfang/blazons. —Tamfang (talk) 23:55, 12 August 2010 (UTC)


What do you think of sub-indenting the diminutives under their parents? How about separating the fixed subordinaries, such as gyron, from the mobile subordinaries, such as lozenge? —Tamfang (talk) 19:19, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Complex lines[edit]

I don't know how many times I have seen an ordinary with a complex line - chevrons wavy and fesses embattled abound in heraldry - but I don't see any mention of it here. Wouldn't it be worth at least mentioning that ordinaries can, and often do, have complex lines (such as those discussed at Line (heraldry))? Just looking at a few examples among municipal arms in Finland, featuring those wonderfully Finnish fir-tree and fir-twig lines, we find a fess fir-twigged and wavy, a fess embattled with tree-top lower line and a bend fir-twigged and wavy. See? Heraldry can be fun! Wilhelm_meis (talk) 15:52, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

Please accept our abject apologies for not thinking of that sooner. Sir. —Tamfang (talk) 01:02, 23 March 2009 (UTC)


Mich, if you're trying to avoid letting a picture intrude on the following heading, the conventional way is with {{-}} (see Template:-). "Hard" blanklines can be excessive if the reader's window is narrower than yours. —Tamfang (talk) 23:58, 12 August 2010 (UTC)


In the section on diminutives, shouldn't the voider (diminutive of flaunch) be included? -- (talk) 00:40, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

Error in example[edit]

The acorns are the wrong color - or in the blazon but argent in the picture.

a chief enhanced—Per chevron azure and gules; on a chevron argent three mullets pierced gules, in chief two acorns or, in base a unicorn's head erased argent; a chief enhanced and embattled vert, fimbriated or—Matthews, Scotland

Mamabear47 (talk) 08:50, 29 August 2015 (UTC)

Why were these decisions made?[edit]

I am wondering why these graphics were used. So many are Scottish arms, but are depicted on shields that would never be used in Scotland. I do not know where these round bottomed shields, that widen towards the top come from, but they are not used in the UK. Surely an encyclopaedia should be using the "rule", rather than "the exception that proves the rule". If someone who does not know reads this article, they would think that round bottoms were the standard shield shape for Scotland - nothing could be further from the truth!

Why are we using flags/banners to illustrate an article about heraldry? They are different subjects. We don't use pictures of cats to illustrate an article about dogs, just because they all have four legs. The graphic for the gyron, , is the worst possible example - the gyron would change shape if it was depicted on a shield!

There are tens of thousands of coats of arms on Commons to choose from, I think we can make some better decisions. Kiltpin (talk) 10:24, 28 March 2016 (UTC)

Spanish fess[edit]

I have removed the information about the Spanish fess. It is flag terminology and not heraldic. There has not been one coat of arms ever to use a Spanish fess. Kiltpin (talk) 12:51, 28 March 2016 (UTC)