Definition of escutcheon in English:



  • 1A shield or emblem bearing a coat of arms.

    • ‘The trappings of male finery included plumed helmets, heavy epaulettes, long swords, tassels, braid, knee-high boots, gleaming escutcheons, white gloves, white trousers.’
    • ‘As weaponry began to render body armor obsolete, coats of arms were scaled down and used on tunics and caps, still in the form of the escutcheon or shield.’
    • ‘There followed the imperial, French, Venetian, and Portuguese ambassadors, the clergy, and a small army of mourners carrying banners and escutcheons decorated with gold and silver.’
    • ‘Above the doorway of the old hall was a carved escutcheon with a lion rampant, the Arms of the De Lacys.’
    • ‘Lockey makes the same point by transferring the family escutcheons to the yellow curtain on the left, where they become, in effect, emblems of folly.’
    • ‘Although apparently executed largely by Veronese's workshop, this picture bears in the central foreground an escutcheon placed on an imperial eagle, which might help identify the original patron.’
    • ‘The escutcheons are presented by a variety of actors and animals - wild men and women, dancers, lions, and so forth.’
    • ‘Written in Gothic letters of gold leaf, the composer's name on the portrait above his left shoulder recalls the style of the escutcheons of the knights of the Golden Fleece.’
    • ‘Step across its threshold (beneath the royal escutcheon of Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain) and you brush against a time when these colonnades shaded both piety and intrigue.’
    • ‘Six garlands hang from the west gallery on heart-shaped escutcheons and five bear the initials of the deceased and the date of his or her death.’
    insignia, regalia, badge, emblem, ensign, device, heraldic device, coat of arms, arms, armorial bearing, shield
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  • 2A flat piece of metal for protection and often ornamentation, around a keyhole, door handle, or light switch.

    • ‘According to these orders, Robinson supplied fifty mortise locks, thirty-six pairs of octagonal glass knobs, twelve plain knob sets, and forty-eight escutcheons.’
    • ‘Each chest has graduated drawers with solid, mahogany drawer fronts and original elaborate cast-brass pulls and escutcheons.’
    • ‘Over the years chairs have lost casters or the casters have lost their leather wraps; chests are without pulls, escutcheons, and decorative mounts; and the hinges of secretary doors have vanished.’
    • ‘Made of highly figured mahogany it retains its original large brass handles and keyhole escutcheons.’
    • ‘The present locks and escutcheons are not original.’


  • a blot on one's escutcheon

    • A stain on one's reputation or character.

      • ‘Admittedly, his family life receives short shrift - the only blot on his escutcheon was a strained relationship with his spendthrift son - but this is inevitable given Paxton's workaholism.’
      • ‘Perhaps the readers of this journal have similar blots on their escutcheons.’
  • escutcheon of pretence

    • A small shield within a coat of arms, bearing another coat or device to which the bearer has a claim, especially one to which a man's wife is heiress.

      • ‘An escutcheon of pretence was used only when the wife had no brothers, and could transmit the right to use her familial coat of arms to a man who would act as her family's representative - in this case, her husband.’


Late 15th century: from Anglo-Norman French escuchon, based on Latin scutum ‘shield’.