Definition of canting arms in English:

canting arms

plural noun

  • Arms containing an allusion to the name of the bearer.

    • ‘The heron is drawn with a long tuft on its head; it is found in the canting arms of Heron, c.1255.’
    • ‘Both of these patents of arms may be termed canting arms which means that they contain a pun on the surname.’
    • ‘In England, smooth-feathered corbies are found in depictions of the canting arms of Corbet throughout our period.’
    • ‘The black roundle in the center of the shield with the three stones or rocks affords canting arms for Rockville Centre.’
    • ‘The arms of the Archdiocese of Hartford are called canting arms or armes parlantes, which speak or proclaim the name of the bearer.’


Early 17th century: canting from cant, in the obsolete sense ‘speak, say (in a particular way)’.