One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
usually postpositive (especially of an animal) depicted with the body sideways and the face toward the viewer.‘three lions passant guardant’
- ‘The lion passant guardant appears in various places; the renderings of it in the Palatine Chapel completed before 1143 antedate this symbol's presumed use by the King of England.’
- ‘This design is blazoned as ‘Gules, three lions passant guardant in pale Or,’ and it is still the coat of arms of England today.’
- ‘Between 1405 and 1603 the Royal Arms of England were Quarterly, France Modern and England; three fleur-de-lis in the 1st and 4th quarters, and three lions passant guardant in the 2nd and 3rd quarters.’
- ‘The finial for all ground force colours is the crest of Canada (a lion statant guardant royally crowned and holding a maple leaf in his right forepaw) cast in gilt brass.’
- ‘His younger brother (who became King John) had a seal in 1177 with two lions passant guardant.’
Late 16th century: from French gardant ‘guarding’, from garder ‘to guard’.
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