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Dictionary of Vexillology: S (Scallop Shell - Scythian Cap)

Last modified: 2022-04-23 by rob raeside
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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In heraldry see ‘escallop’.

[Scallops] [Scallops]
Flag and Arms of Morissen, Switzerland (fotw & Wikipedia)

1) (adj) Where the edges of a flag are cut into repeated semi-circular shapes – an indented edge.
2) (adj) The term may also be used when the top edge of a shield is seen with two (or more) semi-circular cut-outs – but see the note below (also ‘shield’).

[indented edge example] [scalloped shield] [indented edge example]
Example; Two Merchant Flags, Portugal 16th/17th Century (fotw)

Please note that in heraldry a division line within a shield or banner of arms is not scalloped, but is either engrailed or invected – see ‘engrailed’ and 'invected'.

A cross with arms of equal width, whose horizontal arm runs along the centre of the flag, but whose vertical arm is off-centred towards the hoist – a Nordic cross – but see the note below.

[Scandinavian cross] [Scandinavian cross] [Scandinavian cross]
National Flag of Denmark (fotw); National Arms of Iceland (fotw); National Flag of Norway (fotw)

Please note that this term should only be used for those flags which are from, or have a connection with the Scandinavian region (such as that of the Shetland Islands), otherwise see ‘off-centred cross 2)

See ‘off-centred cross 2)’.

Scandinavian-type cross
Flag of Saar 1947-1956, Germany (fotw)

The heraldic term for a (or the) small ecclesiastical banner (or banners) fixed to the top of a bishop’s crosier (see also ‘banderole’), ‘crozier’ and ’stringed’).

[scarf example] [scarf example] [Svetla]
Flag and Arms of Opatovice, Czechia (fotw & Wikipedia); Flag of Světlá , Czechia (fotw)

An ornamental rod or wand, and originally symbolic of a monarch’s temporal power (see also ‘crown’ and ‘orb’).

[Engelberg] [Montenegro] [Montenegro]
Flag of Engelberg, Switzerland (fotw); Arms and Flag of Montenegro (fotw)

See 'tugh 1)’ and its following note.

Source: National Music Museum, used with permission

See ‘cross pattée’ and ‘cross-couped’.


1) A type of flag, now obsolete, which shows a strip along its top edge that extends beyond the fly to become a tongue (see also ‘engrailed fly’, 'palm', ‘square-tongued’, ‘stepped fly’ and ‘tongue(s) 1)’).
2) A form of flag where a triangular tongue extends from the upper fly corner of the flag – but see note a) below.
3) The tail or tongue as described above.

[Schwenkel]  Tetouan, Morocco schwenkel  
Flag of Zurich c1400, Switzerland (fotw); Flag of Tetouan, Morocco 1968 - 1976 (fotw); Flag of Beni Mellal, Morocco 1968 – 1976 (fotw)

With regard to 2), the Editors suggest that the term “tongue”(as referenced above) should be used where this projection forms an integral part of the flag as referenced above and illustrated below.
b) Definition 3) is based upon the original German this term refers only to the tail.

Wloclawek, Poland
Flag of Wloclawek City, Poland (fotw)

The term for an oriental sword with a single-edged curved blade and plain cross guard, whose blade is often seen widening from hilt to tip – but see ‘sabre’ and its following note.

scimitar scimitar scimitar
Flag of Virovitica, Croatia (fotw); Arms of Charneca, Portugal (fotw); Flag of Bengal, India c1865 (fotw);

A term for the representation of an animal or engine-driven device for the lifting of water from one level to another (see also ‘waterwheel’ and ‘windmill).

Scoop wheel Scoop wheel Scoop wheel
Flag and Arms of Hude, Germany (fotw); Flag of Bairros, Portugal (fotw)

See ‘St Andrew's Cross 2)’.

Scottish saltire
National flag of Scotland (fotw)

A usually narrow ribbon of varying length and elaboration; it is normally (but not exclusively) placed below the shield in a set of armorial bearings or an emblem, and is inscribed with a motto or the name of a state or other entity – a ribbon – but see ‘ribbon scroll 2)’ (also ‘Appendix IV’, ‘armorial bearings’, ‘coat of arms’, ‘emblem’ and ‘motto’).

Brunei arms New Jersey New Jersey arms
The National Emblem of Brunei (fotw); The Flag and Arms of The State of New Jersey, US (fotw)

See ‘cap of liberty’.

[Scythian cap flag]
Flag of Pereira, Chile (

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