AskDefine | Define scutcheon

Dictionary Definition



1 a flat protective covering (on a door or wall etc) to prevent soiling by dirty fingers [syn: finger plate, escutcheon]
2 a shield; especially one displaying a coat of arms [syn: escutcheon]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. an escutcheon

Extensive Definition

Escutcheon (also called scutcheon) is the term used in heraldry for the shield displayed in a coat of arms. An inescutcheon is a smaller escutcheon borne within a larger escutcheon. The term crest is often used incorrectly to designate this part of the coat of arms.
The term "escutcheon" also refers to the shield-like shape on which arms are often borne. The escutcheon shape is based on the Medieval shields that were used by knights in combat. Since this shape has been regarded as a war-like device appropriate to men only, ladies customarily bear their arms upon a lozenge, or diamond-shape, while clergymen bear theirs on a cartouche, or oval. Other shapes are possible, such as the roundel commonly used for arms granted to Aboriginal Canadians by the Canadian Heraldic Authority.
Derived from its meaning in heraldry, the term "escutcheon" can be used to represent a family and its honour. A family member who does something shameful can be described as a "blot on the escutcheon."
In English Heraldry the husband of a heraldic heiress - a woman without any brothers - allows his wife to place her father's arms in an escutcheon of pretence in the centre of his own shield. The husband is 'pretending' to be the head of his wife's family. In the next generation the arms would then be quartered. Baron and Feme describes another iteration of the escutcheon.


The following are the points of the shield used in blazons to describe where (and how) a charge should be drawn:

Other meanings

  • In the German army under the Nazi regime, military awards worn on the sleeve near the shoulder were also called escutcheon or shields.
  • Military escutcheon, a chromolithography depicting the military record of a veteran, which were produced in the United States from the end of the Civil War until about 1907.


scutcheon in Catalan: Escussó
scutcheon in Czech: Štít (heraldika)
scutcheon in Danish: Våbenskjold
scutcheon in German: Wappenschild
scutcheon in Estonian: Kilp (heraldika)
scutcheon in French: Écu (héraldique)
scutcheon in Italian: Scudo araldico
scutcheon in Hebrew: מגן (הרלדיקה)
scutcheon in Lithuanian: Skydas (heraldika)
scutcheon in Japanese: エスカッシャン
scutcheon in Polish: Tarcza herbowa
scutcheon in Portuguese: Escudo (heráldica)
scutcheon in Finnish: Kilpi (heraldiikka)
scutcheon in Ukrainian: Геральдичний щит

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

achievement, alerion, animal charge, annulet, argent, armorial bearings, armory, arms, azure, bandeau, bar, bar sinister, baton, bearings, bend, bend sinister, billet, blazon, blazonry, bordure, broad arrow, cadency mark, canton, chaplet, charge, chevron, chief, coat of arms, cockatrice, coronet, crescent, crest, cross, cross moline, crown, device, difference, differencing, eagle, ermine, ermines, erminites, erminois, escutcheon, falcon, fess, fess point, field, file, flanch, fleur-de-lis, fret, fur, fusil, garland, griffin, gules, gyron, hatchment, helmet, heraldic device, honor point, impalement, impaling, inescutcheon, label, lion, lozenge, mantling, marshaling, martlet, mascle, metal, motto, mullet, nombril point, octofoil, or, ordinary, orle, pale, paly, pean, pheon, purpure, quarter, quartering, rose, sable, saltire, shield, spread eagle, subordinary, tenne, tincture, torse, tressure, unicorn, vair, vert, wreath, yale
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