One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A shield or emblem bearing a coat of arms.
insignia, regalia, badge, emblem, ensign, device, heraldic device, coat of arms, arms, armorial bearing, shieldView synonyms
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘The escutcheons are presented by a variety of actors and animals - wild men and women, dancers, lions, and so forth.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Above the doorway of the old hall was a carved escutcheon with a lion rampant, the Arms of the De Lacys.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘The trappings of male finery included plumed helmets, heavy epaulettes, long swords, tassels, braid, knee-high boots, gleaming escutcheons, white gloves, white trousers.’
- ‘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.’
2A flat piece of metal for protection and often ornamentation, around a keyhole, door handle, or light switch.
- ‘Made of highly figured mahogany it retains its original large brass handles and keyhole 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.’
- ‘According to these orders, Robinson supplied fifty mortise locks, thirty-six pairs of octagonal glass knobs, twelve plain knob sets, and forty-eight escutcheons.’
- ‘The present locks and escutcheons are not original.’
- ‘Each chest has graduated drawers with solid, mahogany drawer fronts and original elaborate cast-brass pulls and escutcheons.’
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 pretense
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’.
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