Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An inspiring standard or symbol.
  • n. The red or orange-red flag of the Abbey of Saint Denis in France, used as a standard by the early kings of France.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The red silk banner of St Denis, which the abbot of St Denis gave to French kings as they rode to war.
  • n. Any banner, idea or principle which serves as a rallying point for those involved in a struggle.
  • n. Something resembling the banner of St Denis; a bright, shining object.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The banner of St. Denis, supposed to have been a plain red gonfalon — that is, a banderole of two or three points attached to a lance.
  • n. In heraldry, a blue flag or banner charged with three golden fleurs-de-lis.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an inspiring symbol or ideal that serves as a rallying point in a struggle
  • n. a red or orange-red flag used as a standard by early French kings

Etymologies

Middle English oriflamble, banner of St. Denis, from Old French, variant of oriflambe, possibly from Medieval Latin aurea flamma, auriflamma (Latin aurea, feminine of aureus, golden, from aurum, gold + Latin flamma, flame; see flame) or alteration of Old French *lorie flambe, from Late Latin laurea flammula, laureled standard (Latin laurea, feminine of laureus, of laurel; see laureate + Latin flammula, banner, diminutive of flamma, flame).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French oriflambe, oriflamme, from Medieval Latin auriflamma ("golden flame"), from Latin aurum ("gold") + flamma ("flame"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The oriflamme was a sacred banner used by the kings of France in the Middle Ages in times of great danger.

    Archive 2007-07-15

  • Charlemagne by the pope, but no historical text affords us any information with regard to this oriflamme, which is perhaps fabulous.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 11: New Mexico-Philip

  • Viewers rooted for the Virginia kid with shaggy brown hair and glasses, who fidgeted with his hands as he spelled such words as "oriflamme" and "sophrosyne."

    'Fustanella' is N.Va. teen's killer bee word

  • Orange: apricot (25); orange (qua orange); oriflamme; sunset, and tangerine;

    Further thoughts about “Pavlova”

  • Gilmour, the theme of many a minstrel song, commemorating achievements done under the oriflamme of Charles the Great, Emperor of France, have all consigned themselves to their last sleep, nor has their memory been sufficiently preserved from the waste of time.

    Castle Dangerous

  • (“Holy Coat” or Banner, the national oriflamme) at

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • He adds, that a pigeon brought the vial in his beak to anoint Clovis, and that an angel brought the oriflamme to conduct him: the prejudiced believed all the stories of this kind.

    A Philosophical Dictionary

  • We have our oriflamme, our great standard, brought from heaven by an angel, and the holy phial by a pigeon; and, when to these we add the mantle of

    A Philosophical Dictionary

  • “His hero, Des Esseintes, comes from a long line of grim, muscular warriors with yataghan mustaches.” oriflamme.

    Ready for the SAT « So Many Books

  • “And once again, her skirt, the oriflamme of her hair – but seen, as always, from the back.” madrepore.

    Ready for the SAT « So Many Books

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Comments

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  • I always think of orcs when I see the word oriflamme.

    February 7, 2008

  • seanahan: you always think of orcs when you think of oriflammes, or you always think of orcs, period?

    February 7, 2008

  • Seanahan: endures orc. See anagram.

    February 6, 2008

  • I always think of orcs.

    February 6, 2008

  • What a cool word!

    February 6, 2008

  • For some reason I associate this word with fields. But I don't know what that reason is.

    I suppose you would find an oriflamme on a battlefield.

    February 6, 2008

  • A very nice word, but I don't know where I could wear it.

    June 21, 2007