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Vexillological symbol
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Vexillological symbols are used by vexillologists to indicate certain characteristics of national flags, such as where they are used, who uses them, and what they look like. The set of symbols described in this article are known as international flag identification symbols (IFIS), which were devised by Whitney Smith.
National flag variants by use
Some countries use a single flag design to serve as the national flag in all contexts of use; others use multiple flags that serve as the national flag, depending on context (i.e., who is flying the national flag and where). The six basic contexts of use (and potential variants of a national flag) are:
Civil flag – Flown by citizens on land.
State flag – Flown on public buildings.
War flag – Flown on military buildings.
Civil ensign – Flown on private vessels (fishing craft, cruise ships, yachts, etc.).
State ensign – Flown on unarmed government vessels.
Naval ensign – Flown on warships.
In practice, a single design may be associated with multiple such usages; for example, a single design may serve a dual role as
war flag and ensign. Even with such combinations, this framework is not complete: some countries define designs for usage contexts not expressible in this scheme such as air force ensigns (distinct from war flags or war ensigns, flown as the national flag at air bases; for example, see Royal Air Force Ensign) and civil air ensigns.
Combinations
SymbolMeaningSymbolMeaning
Civil flag
National flag
State flag
National ensign
War flag
State and war flag, war ensign
Civil ensign
State flag, civil and war ensign
State ensign
Civil and state flags and ensigns
War ensign
State and war flags and ensigns
Civil and state flag
National flag, civil ensign
State and war flag
National flag, state ensign
Civil and state ensign
National flag, civil and state ensign
State and war ensign
National flag, state and war ensign
Civil flag and ensign
State and war flag, national ensign
State flag and ensign
Civil and state flag, national ensign
War flag and ensign
National flag and ensign
Civil and war ensign
Civil flag, war ensign
Civil flag, state ensign
Civil flag, state and war ensign
Civil flag, civil and war ensign
Civil flag, civil and state ensign
Civil flag, national ensign
Civil and war flag
Civil and war flag, war ensign
Civil and war flag, state ensign
Civil and war flag, state and war ensign
Civil and war flag, civil ensign
Civil and war flags and ensigns
Civil and war flag, civil and state ensign
Civil and war flag, national ensign
Civil and state flag, war ensign
Civil and state flag, state ensign
Civil and state flag, state and war ensign
Civil and state flag, civil ensign
Civil and state flag, civil and war ensign
State flag, war ensign
State flag, state and war ensign
State flag, civil ensign
State flag, state and civil ensign
State flag, national ensign
State flag and ensign, war flag
State and war flag, civil ensign
State and war flag, civil and war ensign
State and war flag, civil and state ensign
War flag, state ensign
War flag, state and war ensign
War flag, civil ensign
War flag, civil and war ensign
War flag, civil and state ensign
War flag, national ensign
National flag, war ensign
National flag, civil and war ensign
Other
Other symbols
Other symbols are used to describe how a flag looks, such as whether it has a different design on each side, or if it is hung vertically, etc. These are the symbols in general use:
In Unicode
This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (June 2021)
In April 2017, a preliminary proposal to encode vexillology symbols was submitted to the Unicode Consortium.[1]
Literature
See also
Glossary of vexillology
References
^ Pandey, Anshuman: "Preliminary proposal to encode Vexillology Symbols in Unicode"
Last edited on 20 June 2021, at 11:44
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