One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A narrow border inset from the edge of a shield.
- ‘Azure, three oranges slipped proper within an orle of thistles.’
- 1.1 A series of charges placed in orle.
(of a series of charges) arranged around the edge of a shield.
- ‘1 & 4 Argent, an orle within eight martlets in orle Sable, a crescent for difference.’
- ‘Stuff like ‘argent an escutcheon gules and eight escallops azure in orle’ lumps the escutcheon and the escallops into one group.’
Late 16th century: from French ourle, from ourler ‘to hem’, based on Latin ora ‘edge’.
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