- 1) In vexillology, a heraldically derived term sometimes used to describe a flag with a plain border
around a plain centre panel – for example a white flag pierced red as shown below (see also
- 2) In heraldry the term used when a charge (such as a quatrefoil or mullet) has a hole in its centre
(see also ‘quatrefoil 2’,
‘star 2)’ and
- 3) See ‘transfixed’.
From left: example; Flag of Ra's al-Khaymah, UAE (fotw)
- PIERCED MULLET
- See ‘rowel’.
- See ‘truck 2)’.
- In British and some other military usage the staff upon which an infantry
colour is carried (see also 'colour 2)',
‘colours 2)’ and
Please note that the term is derived from the long-shafted
spear with which a proportion of infantry were formerly armed, and whilst the
term is still applied, the staff may often no longer have a spear point, but may
carry a finial of some other design – see ‘finial’.
- 1) On flags, a triangular charge whose base generally occupies the full length
or width of a flag, and whose apex touches the centre of its opposite edge - a
triangle throughout. When
the apex is on the fly it may be called a simple pile, with the apex on the hoist
a reversed pile, with the apex on the top edge an upright pile and with the apex
on the bottom edge of the flag an inverted pile (see also
- 2) In heraldry, an elongated triangular charge which is less than the full
width of a shield or banner of arms (although it is sometimes stipulated that
the pile should be one-third the width of that shield or banner of arms),
is occasionally wavy or embowed and
is generally (although not invariably) placed with the point downwards – but
see ‘per chevron’ and its following note (also
‘embowed’, the note following
- 3) On obsolete military colours, one of four triangular charges that narrow from a flag’s corner towards its centre – wedges - see
‘pile(s) wavy 1)’
(also ‘colour 2)’ and
National Flag of Eritrea (fotw); Flag of Houvet, Belgium (fotw);
Flag of Šárovcova Lhota, Czech Rep. (fotw); National Flag of
Antigua-Barbuda (CS); Example;
Colour of the Hamburg State Police c1936 - 1945, Germany (fotw)
Please note with regard to 1), however, that on
flags a triangular charge whose apex and/or base do not touch opposite edges
of the flag should be considered a triangle - see ‘triangle’.
- PILE EMBOWED (ARCHED or ENARCHED)
- See ‘pile 2)’ and ‘embowed’ (also the note following ‘per pile’).
Flag of Oberdorf, Switzerland (fotw)
- PILE REVERSED (DEBASED, EVERTED, INVERTED, SUBVERTED or SUBVERTANT)
- See ‘pile 2)’, ‘reversed 2)’ and
‘per chevron’ with its following note (also
‘chapé’ and the note following ‘per pile’).
Flag and Arms of Gharbhur, Malta (fotw and
- PILE(S) WAVY
- 1) On flags, particularly (but not exclusively) obsolete military colours, one or
more wavy edged (that is flame-like) triangles which generally narrow from the corner
or corners towards the centre – a wedge wavy - see ‘pile
3)’ (see also
‘wavy flame’ and
- 2) In heraldry, see ‘pile 2)’ and
Colour of the 18th Regiment of Foot c1750, Prussia (fotw);
Colour of the 27th Regiment of Foot c1750, Prussia (fotw); Major’s Colour of the
Royal Guards 1685, England (fotw); Flag of
Linthal, Switzerland (fotw)
- PILGRIMAGE PENNANT (or FLAG)
- A small triangular pennant, or occasionally a handwaver size flag, purchased as the souvenir
of a spiritual (usually Roman Catholic) pilgrimage, religious festival or special place of
worship, and often made from paper (see also ‘handwaver’).
- PILOT FLAG
- That flag which is flown by a vessel requiring or carrying a pilot, now
either G for Golf (if requiring a pilot) or H for Hotel (if under pilotage)
from the International Code of Signal Flags (see also
‘International Code of Signal Flags’ and
From left: Signal Flag Golf (CS); Signal Flag Hotel (CS)
Please note however, that many countries originally
had their own designs for pilot flags, of which the UK version - that is the national
flag with a white border - is typical of the type and a rare survival (see ‘civil
jack’ under ‘jack’ and
See supplemental note:
From left: Former Pilot Flag of Belgium (CS); Former Pilot Flag of The Netherlands (Zachary
- PILOT JACK
- In UK usage, the flag introduced in 1823 as the signal for a pilot and replaced
(in that role) c1970 by the ICS flags listed under “pilot flag”; it is now
considered an alternative term for the British civil jack
(see ‘civil jack’ under
‘pilot flag’ plus its following note and
UK Pilot Jack (fotw)
Please note that the date upon which this flag began to be flown as a civil
jack is unknown, but possibly as early as the mid-19th Century.
- PINSEL (or PINCEL)
- A triangular pennant used by the authorized representative of a Scottish clan
chief in that person’s absence. It has a solid field and is 0.60 x 1.35m long,
it is generally charged with the grantee’s crest within an annulet or ring (ensigned
with a coronet or bonnet dependent upon rank), and the grantee’s motto – a pensel or pincel (see also
Pinsel of the Clan Fraser (Fraserchief)
- PIPE BANNER
- See ‘bannerette’.
Pipe Banner/Bannerette, 7th Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Gurkha Rifles, UK (Klaus-Michael Schneider)
- PIRATE FLAG
- See 'jolly roger'.
Pirate flag (fotw)
- PLACE OF HONOUR
- 1) On a flag see ‘honour point 1)’.
- 2) Of a flag or coat of arms see ‘position of honour’.
- 1) See ‘undefaced’.
- 2) On flags, the term that is applied to a flag which has a monocoloured field, or to
a bicolour, tricolour, triband or multi-stripe which carries no charges other than its
stripes, or to an undecorated border or panel consisting of a single colour (see also
‘bicolour 1) & 2)’,
‘charge 1) & 2)’,
‘triband 1) & 2)’ and
‘tricolour 1) ;& 2)’).
- 3) In heraldry the term is sometimes used to describe a simple charge when it is
displayed in the same quarter of a coat of arms with another which is decorated or in
some way altered – for example a plain chevron may be surrounded by an engrailed border
(see also ‘bordure’,
‘coat of arms 2)’,
- PLANTAGENET CROWN
- See ‘antique crown 2)’.
- A heraldic term for a number of particularly (but not exclusively) white or silver discs –
roundels argent – but see
‘roundel 3)’ and
From left: example; Flag of Ichtegem, Belgium (fotw); Flag of Koelkelare, Belgium (fotw)
Please note that in strict English heraldic usage this term should only
be employed when the charge described is white/silver (“argent”) - see ‘tinctures’ in
- See ‘embowed’.
Flag of Fischbach-Goslikon, Switzerland (fotw)