Standard U.S. Flag Parts and Terminology – Know Your Flag

Mar 9th, 2016

Flag Parts


There is a standard terminology used when referencing certain parts of a flag. Below you will find the terms that are used for the United States flag.


Canton is the design that is found in the upper left corner of the flag. In the case of the American flag, it consists of a blue field containing white stars. In the United States, Georgia, Hawaii and Mississippi have canton’s included in their individual state flags.


Field, also referred to as the ground, is the section between the hoist and fly ends. It does not include the canton. On the American flag, it contains the red and white stripes.


Fly refers to the length of the flag. It is measured from the heading to the fly end.


Fly End is the length of the flag measuring from the right end of the top fly to the bottom of the flag. It is the length of the flag that flaps in the wind.


Grommets, not outlined in the photo above, are metal fasteners that are used to reinforce the holes in the header of the flag that are used to mount the flag to the flagpole.


Heading refers to the heavy fabric that is normally sewn along the hoist of the flag.


Hoist refers to the length of the flag, from the top to the bottom, on the side that is closest to the flagpole. The hoist is also referred to as the hoist end.


Some United States flags have fringe on the end of them, but there is no guidance in the U.S. Flag Code that allows or disallows that practice. Fringe is most commonly seen on flags displayed in courtrooms across America. One theory is that a fringed flag means that the law of admiralty is in effect, but that idea could have been formed because the military is believed to be the first organization that included fringe on its flags. That theory creates a controversy since American courts must follow the United States Constitution. It can be deduced that gold fringe is used on indoor flags as a symbol of honor.


There are other terms that are used to describe parts of flags that are not included in this post because they do not pertain to the United States flag. For example, some flags contain heraldry symbols or are shaped different. The parts of those types of flags have different definitions.


Flagpoles Etc.


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