coat of arms


a surcoat or tabard embroidered with heraldic devices, worn by medieval knights over their armor.
a heraldic achievement of arms.

Origin of coat of arms

1325–75; Middle English; parallel to French cotte d'armes Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for coat of arms

arms, crest, emblem, escutcheon, pennon

Examples from the Web for coat of arms

Historical Examples of coat of arms

  • On the front was engraved a monogram J. M., and on the back a coat-of-arms.

    Murder Point

    Coningsby Dawson

  • He held up a little note with a coat-of-arms upon the envelope.

  • He was prouder of his Collection than of his coat-of-arms—nobody could say more than that.

  • There was a coat-of-arms, too, with which she was not acquainted.

    Armorel of Lyonesse

    Walter Besant

  • On the coat-of-arms it is notable that the three lions of England are crowned.

British Dictionary definitions for coat of arms

coat of arms


the heraldic bearings of a person, family, or corporation
a surcoat decorated with family or personal bearings
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for coat of arms

mid-14c., originally a tunic embroidered with heraldic arms (worn over armor, etc); see from coat (n.) + arm (n.2) and cf. Old French cote a armer. Sense transferred to the heraldic arms themselves by 1560s. Hence turncoat, one who put his coat on inside-out to hide the badge of his loyalty.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper