Pimbley's Dictionary of Heraldry - T

Tabard - Originally a light garment worn over the armor embroidered with the arms of the wearer. The tabard is now worn only by heralds and pursuivants-at-arms, and is embroidered with the arms of the sovereign.

Talbot - A dog. Specifically a hound whose race is nearly, if not quite extinct. His color was pure white, with large head, broad muzzle and long ears. Talbot is the family name of the Earls of Shrewsbury, who had a talbot for a badge and two talbots for supporters.

Talent - The same as BEZANT.

Targant - [See TORQUED.]

Tau - The cross of St. Anthony, also called the cross Tau. It derives its name from its resemblance to the Greek letter tau. This cross is somewhat similar to the cross potent.

Tawney - [See TENNE.]

Tawny - [See TENNE.]

Tegulated - (teg'-u-la'ted) Composed of small plates as of horn or metal, overlapping. (Used in ancient armor.)

Templar - A member of the order called Templars, Knights Templar, Knights of the Temple, etc. It was founded in 1118 or 1119 by nine Christian knights, the original object of the organization being to maintain free passage for the pilgrims visiting the Holy Land. Baldwin II King of Jerusalem gave them part of his palace, and they kept their arms in the Temple, hence their name of Templars.

Tenant - Held; holding.

Tenanted - Tallied or let into another thing; one bearing worked into another bearing; having something let in; as, a cross tenanted -- having rings let into its extremities.

Tenne - (ten'-nay) A tincture of a bright brown, which is considered to represent orange color. This color is almost unknown in English heraldry. In engraving it is represented by diagonal lines from sinister to dexter, traversed by horizontal ones -- a compound of purpure and azure.

Tent - The representation of a tent used as a bearing. (See also PAVILLION.)

Tergant - (ter'-gant) Showing the back part; as, an eagle tergant displayed. [In this connection compare RECURSANT.]

Terras - The representation of ground at the bottom of the base of the shield, generally tinctured vert.

Teutonic cross - A name sometimes given to the cross potent from the fact of its having been the original badge assigned by Emperor Henry VI to the knights of the Teutonic Order.

Teutonic Order - A religious military order of knights established near the end of the twelfth century somewhat like the Templars and Hospitaliers, being composed in the main of Teutonic crusaders. It attained high power, but declined in the fifteenth century, and was finally abolished by Napoleon in 1809.

Thane - A title of dignity or honor among the Anglo-Saxons. There were two orders - the king's thanes, or those who attended at his court and held lands immediately from him, and ordinary thanes, or lords of the manor. After the Norman conquest thanes and barons were classed together, the title falling into disuse in the reign of Henry II.

Thistle - The Order of the Thistle, a Scottish order of knighthood, was instituted by James VII (James II of England) in 1687. It fell into abeyance during the reign of William and Mary, but was revived by Queen Anne in 1703.

Thunderbolt - The thunderbolt is represented in heraldry by a twisted bar in pale, inflamed at the ends, surmounting two jagged darts in saltire, between two wings expanded, and usually has streams of fire issuing from the center.

Tiara - The triple crown worn by the popes of Rome.

Tierce - (ter-say') Divided into three equal parts of three different tinctures. (Said of the field when so divided.)

Tiercelet - (ters'-let) A falcon.

Tiger - The heraldic tiger has the body of a wolf, the tail of a lion and is studded with tufts of hair. It is not an early bearing, nor is it often seen.

Timber - 1. A row of ermine in a nobleman's coat.

2. The helmet, miter, coronet, etc., when placed over the arms in a complete achievement.

3. As a verb. To surmount or decorate the coat of arms. "A purple plume timbers his stately crest." Sylvester.

Timbre - (tim'-ber) [French.] The crest which in an achievement is shown on the top of a helmet.

Tincture - (tink'-tur) The name given to the colors, metals and furs used in heraldry. The tinctures may be classed as follows:


Or (gold, yellow) Argent (silver, white)


Azure (blue) Sable (black)
Gules (red) Vert (green)
Purpure (purple)  

Of later introduction are sanguine (dark red) and tenne (orange). They are, however, almost unknown in English heraldry.


Ermine Vair-en-point
Ermines Counter-vair
Erminois Pean
Erminites Potent
Vair Counter -potent


Ermine - Represents the skin of that little animal, and is white powdered with black spots.

Ermines - A black field, with white spots.

Erminois - The field is gold and the spots sable.

Erminites - The same as ermine, except that the two lateral hairs of each spot are red.

Vair - Similar in shape to small escutcheons, the wings representing the fore legs and the point the tail.The skins are arranged alternately white and blue.

If other colors are used they must be specified.

Vair-en-point - A variety of vair, the point of one escutcheon being placed opposite to the base of the one below.

Counter-vair - Another variety of vair, those of the same color being placed base to base and point to point. (VAir was originally drawn bell-shaped.)

Pean - The reverse of erminois, being golden spots on a black field. 

Potent - The skins are T-shaped, resembling somewhat a gallows or a crutch head. It is akin to vair, and is sometimes blazoned "vair-potent." 

Counter-potent - A variety of potent, being placed point to point. (Also called potent counter-potent.)

The practice of representing the several colors by lines and marks, which dates from the sixteenth century, is as follows:

Argent - A plain white surface.

Or - Small dots.

Azure - Horizontal lines.

Gules - Vertical lines.

Purpure - Diagonal lines from sinister to dexter.

Vert - Diagonal lines from dexter to sinister.

Sable - Vertical and horizontal lines.

Sanguine - Diagonal lines from right to left and left to right (in saltire).

Tenne - Diagonal lines from sinister to dexter and horizontal (a compound of purpure and azure). 

A foolish practice arose during the sixteenth century of blazoning the arms of princes and peers by precious stones and planets. The system was as follows:

Or - topaz, Sol.

Argent - pearl, Luna.

Azure - sapphire, Jupiter.

Gules - ruby, Mars.

Purpure - amethyst, Mercury.

Sable - diamond, Saturn.

Vert - emerald, Venus.

Tirret - (tir'-ret) A manacle.

Topaz - (to'-paz) The name given to the metal or when borne by peers.

Torce - The same as WREATH.

Torgant - [See TORQUED.]

Torqued - (torkt) Twisted: wreathed; bent. This term is used to describe a dolphin haurient, twisted into a form nearly resembling the letter S.

Torteau - (tor'to) A roundel tinctured gules. (Plural, torteaux.) [See also ROUNDEL.]

Tourne - (toor'nay') [French.] The same as CONTOURNE or REGARDANT.

Transfixed - Pierced by an arrow or similar weapon. Said of an animal.

Transfluent - (-flu'ent) Passing or flowing through the arches of a bridge. (Said of water when so represented.)

Transmuted - The same as COUNTERCHANGED.

Transpierced - [TRANSFIXED.]

Transposed - (-pozd') Reversed; changed to a position opposite of the proper or usual position; as, a pile transposed.

Traversed - (trav'-ersd) Turned to the sinister side of the shield.

Treflee - (tray'-flay') Having a three-lobed extremity or extremities, as a cross. [CROSS BOTTONY.] Ordinaries, such as the bend, are sometimes borne treflee - that is, with trefoils issuing from the side.

Trefoil - (tree'-foil) A charge representing the three-leaved clover. Like the rose, it is generally, though not always, borne without a stalk.

Trefoiled - The same as TREFLEE.

Treille - (trel) Cross-barred work; lattice work. It differs from fretty in that the pieces do not interlace under and over, but cross athwart each other, being nailed at the joints. Also called trellis.

Trellis - The same as TREILLE.

Tressure - (tresh'-ur) A kind of border or hem, being, in fact, a diminutive of the orle, of which it is one-half its breadth. It passes around the field, following the shape and form of the escutcheon, whatever shape it may be;usually borne double. Being used in the royal arms of Scotland, it is naturally popular in Scottish heraldry.

TRESSURE FLEURY - A tressure ornamented with fleur-de-lis on one side, with their ends inward.

TRESSURE FLEURY-COUNTER-FLEURY - A double tressure ornamented with fleur-de-lis on both sides, the flowers being reversed alternately. In the arms of Scotland, as in nearly all examples, the flower is divided by the border. 

Tressured - Provided with a tressure; arranged in the form or occupying the place of a tressure.

"The tressured fleur-de-lis he claims To wreath his shield, since royal James." --Sir Walter Scott.

Trian - (tri'an) The aspect of an animal when neither affronte nor gardant, but midway between these positions.

Triarchee - (tri-ar'shee) Formed of three arches; having three arches.

Trick - To draw in outline, as with a pen; to delineate without color, as coats of arms.

"They forgot they are in the statute, the rascles; they are blazoned there; there they are tricked, they and their pedigrees." - Ben Johnson: Poctaster, i, 1.

Tricorporal - (-kor'-po-ral) Three bodies conjoined to one head, as a lion; the bodies of three beasts represented issuing from the dexter, sinister and base points, and conjoined to one head in the center of the shield.

Tricorporate - The same as TRICORPORAL.

Trien - (tri'-en) Three. The word is made use of by some heralds in the phrase a trien of fish == three fish.

Triparted - Parted into three pieces; having three parts or pieces. This can be applied to the field or to the ordinaries and charges; as, triparted in pale, a cross triparted, etc.

Triple crown - The crown or tiara worn by the popes of Rome.

Triple pile - A truncated pile, ending in three projections.

Triple plume - The device of the Prince of Wales.

Trippant - (trip'-pant) Having the right forefoot lifted, the other three remaining on the ground, as if trotting. This term is applied to beasts of chase, as a buck, hart, etc., and is the same as passant, which is applied to beasts of prey.

Tripping - The same as TRIPPANT.

Triton - (tri'-ton) A variety of sea shell.

Tronconee demembre - (tron-kon-ay' de-mem'-bray) [French] Separated; applied to a bearing, such as a cross, cut in pieces and separated, but still retaining it's original form.

Truncheon - (trun'shun) A baton, or staff of authority.

The truncheon is the official badge of the Earl Marshal. It is a golden rod, tipped with black enamel, being blazoned at one end with the arms of the Sovereign, and at the other with those of the Earl.

Trunked - (trunkt) 1. When the trunk of a tree is of a tincture different from the branches it is said to be trunked of such a tincture.

2. Applied to a tree which has been shorn of its branches and separated from its roots.

Tuberated - Knotted or swelled out.

Turnstile - A revolving frame in a footpath to prevent the passage of horses or cattle, but admitting that of a person. A representation of this is occasionally seen as a bearing.

Tusked - (tuskt) Having tusks of a different tincture from that of the body. Said of an elephant, boar, etc. Example: If a boar was white with red tusks, he would be blazoned "A boar argent, tusked gules."

Twyfoil - Having only two leaves.

Tyrwhit - The lapwing.

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