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For the album by Deadmau5, see Vexillology (album).

Vexillology is the "scientific study of the history, symbolism and usage of flags or, by extension, any interest in flags in general".[1] The word is a synthesis of the Latin word vexillum ("flag") and the Greek suffix -logia ("study"). It is formally defined by the constitution of the International Federation of Vexillological Associations (known by its French acronym FIAV) as "the creation and development of a body of knowledge about flags of all types, their forms and functions, and of scientific theories and principles based on that knowledge."[citation needed]


The term was conceived in 1957 by the U.S. scholar and student of flags Whitney Smith and first appeared in print in 1959 (12). It was originally considered a sub-discipline of heraldry,[1] and is still occasionally regarded as such. A person who studies flags is a vexillologist; vexillography is the art of designing flags; one who does so is a vexillographer; an admirer of flags is a vexillophile.

Since 1965, an International Congress of Vexillology (ICV) has been organized every two years under the auspices of FIAV. The 2013 ICV was in Rotterdam, Netherlands.[2] Internet activity of vexillologists is centered on the Flags of the World website and mailing list.[citation needed]

It was announced in November 2013, on the front page of The North Shore Times,[clarification needed] that the terms vexillographer and vexillography, which had first appeared in that paper in 1976, would be included in subsequent editions of Australia's Macquarie Dictionary.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Smith, Whitney. Flags Through the Ages and Across the World New York: McGraw-Hill, 1975. Print.
  2. ^ "Netherlands Flag Congress 2013". 
  3. ^

Further reading[edit]

  • Leepson, Marc. Flag: An American Biography New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2005. Print.
  • Smith, Whitney. Flags Through the Ages and Across the World New York: McGraw-Hill, 1975. Print.