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Dictionary of Vexillology: F (F Cross - Fastness)

Last modified: 2024-06-01 by rob raeside
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See ‘one-and-a-half armed cross’.

Stern und Kreis Stern und Kreis
Flag and Arms of Kobylin-Borzymy, Poland (fotw)

The term which may be used to describe a charge (such as a cross, star or sun) that is given a three-dimensional appearance by the use of contrasting colours or of simple construction lines - a sectored cross/star gyronny (see also ‘caltrap’, ‘counterchanged’, ‘cross gyronny’, ‘sector(s) 1)’ and ‘sectored 2)’).

state ensign emblem - Singapore  state ensign emblem - Singapore Stern und Kreis
State Ensign of Singapore and Enlarged Detail (fotw and CS); House Flag of Stern und Kreis, Germany (fotw)

The terms for that practice, now obsolete, of showing a contrasting shade on the lapels, cuffs and tails (the turnbacks) of military uniforms, and in UK usage largely corresponding to the background of their respective regimental colour – facings - see ‘colour 2)’ and ‘buff’.

[facing colour] [facing colour] [facing colour]
Soldier of the 8th Regiment of Foot 1741, UK (Wikipedia); Regimental Colours of the 9th Regiment of Foot 1757 and 1807. UK (fotw)

1) An imprecise term sometimes (incorrectly) used for an erroneously reported flag instead of the precise terms fictional or fictitious flag – see ‘fictional flag’ and ‘fictitious flag’ (also ‘flagoid’).
2) See ‘false flag 1)

Please note that this term may be considered as a logical impossibility since any flag, or depiction of a flag, whether fictional or fictitious, remains a flag whatever its real status as long as it meets the basic definition of flag as given herein.

See 'descending diagonal'.

[falling diagonal example]
Flag of Hove, Belgium (fotw)

An ensign or other flag displayed by a vessel not entitled to it, and usually (but not invariably) employed by warships as a ruse de guerre (see also ‘colours 4)’ and ‘false flag 1)’ below).

This practice is considered perfectly acceptable providing the correct ensign is raised before the commencement of hostilities.
b) The French phrase “ruse de guerre” – literally translated as trick of war – means an action designed to delude an enemy as to one’s identity and/or intentions.

1) The term which may be used for a flag or ensign that is made to resemble an established or historic design in order to deceive the observer, either as to origins of the flag itself, or the identity of those displaying it (see also ‘flag of pretence 1)’).
2) See ‘false colours’ above.

A semi-circular patriotic decoration in bunting, usually (but not invariably) of flag design and/or colours - a swag (see also ‘bunting 2)’ and ‘mourning bunting’).


See ‘sports flag 2)’.

[Liverpool Football Club] [Liverpool Football Club]
Fan's Flag, Liverpool Football Club, UK; Fan’s Yacht Pennant, Atlanta Braves Baseball Club, US (fotw)

1) A medieval generic term, now obsolete, for any flag, banner or pennant (see also ‘vane’ and its following note).
2) In Danish usage, a term that may be employed to describe flags (either military or civilian) carried in a parade situation (see also ‘colour 2)’ and ‘parade flag’).

[fane] [fane]
Lance Pennon of Sir Robert Knolles, Knight Banneret c1360, England; Military Colour, Denmark (fotw)

Please note the similarity between this term and the German Fahne or flag.

1) A small bicolour used for marking a position in surveying (see also ‘bicolour’).
2) A small flag or pennant that is used on military vehicles for marker purposes – a vehicular or convoy flag (see also ‘pennant’ and ‘regimental colours 2)’).
3) In French military/naval usage, a small flag issued at company (unit or squadron) level and originally employed as markers, for signal purposes or as camp colours, but which have acquired an additional ceremonial role (see also ‘camp colour 1)’, ‘camp colour 3)’, ‘cravat’, ‘jack of honour’ and ‘lanyard pennant’).

convoy flag convoy flag convoy flag
Three Fanions/Convoy Flags According to NATO Regulations (fotw)

Please note that usage 2) is a direct descendent of the flag formerly carried at the head of an army baggage train.

A term, now obsolete, and the equivalent of a vexillum or banner.

A term, now obsolete, for a small flag on a ship (see also ‘fane’).

See ‘fictional flag’.

[Klingon fantasy flag]
Flag of the Klingon Empire from the TV Series Deep Space Nine (fotw)

A term – often divided into lightfastness and washfastness - used to describe the ability of a fabric (and of its dye) to maintain its original colour and intensity, thus a determining factor in calculating the life of an outdoor flag.

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