from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Heraldry A shield or shield-shaped emblem bearing a coat of arms.
  • noun An ornamental or protective plate, as for a keyhole.
  • noun Nautical The plate on the stern of a ship inscribed with the ship's name.
  • idiom (a blot on (one's) escutcheon) Dishonor to one's reputation.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In heraldry, the surface upon which are charged a person's armorial bearings, other than the crest, motto, supporters, etc., which are borne separately.
  • noun Something, either artificial or natural, having more or less resemblance to an escutcheon.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Her.) The surface, usually a shield, upon which bearings are marshaled and displayed. The surface of the escutcheon is called the field, the upper part is called the chief, and the lower part the base (see chiff, and field.). That side of the escutcheon which is on the right hand of the knight who bears the shield on his arm is called dexter, and the other side sinister.
  • noun A marking upon the back of a cow's udder and the space above it (the perineum), formed by the hair growing upward or outward instead of downward. It is esteemed an index of milking qualities.
  • noun (Naut.) That part of a vessel's stern on which her name is written.
  • noun (Carp.) A thin metal plate or shield to protect wood, or for ornament, as the shield around a keyhole.
  • noun (Zoöl.) The depression behind the beak of certain bivalves; the ligamental area.
  • noun an escutcheon used in English heraldry to display the arms of the bearer's wife; -- not commonly used unless she an heiress. Cf. Impalement.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun heraldry An individual or corporate coat of arms.
  • noun A decorative and/or protective plate or bezel to fill the gap between a switch, pipe, valve, control knob, etc., and the surface from which it protrudes.
  • noun The insignia around a doorknob's exterior hardware or a door lock's cosmetic plate.

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

  • noun a flat protective covering (on a door or wall etc) to prevent soiling by dirty fingers
  • noun a shield; especially one displaying a coat of arms
  • noun (nautical) a plate on a ship's stern on which the name is inscribed


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

[Middle English escochon, from Anglo-Norman escuchon, from Vulgar Latin *scūtiō, scūtiōn-, from Latin scūtum, shield; see skei- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Anglo-Norman escuchon, ultimately from Latin scutum ("shield").


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  • The fair fame of Harvard is the possession of every son and daughter of Massachusetts, and the least stain that mars her escutcheon is the sorrow of all.

    Gala-days Gail Hamilton 1864

  • To the left of the escutcheon was the figure of a woman, standing.

    The Memoirs of Victor Hugo Victor Hugo 1843

  • Camden society what the old church at Jamestown probably was, may be seen the tomb of a Tazewell, who died in 1706, on which is engraved the coat of arms of the family, -- a lion rampant, bearing a helmet with a vizor closed on his back; an escutcheon, which is evidently of Norman origin, and won by some daring feat of arms, and which could only have been held by one of the conquering race.

    Discourse of the Life and Character of the Hon. Littleton Waller Tazewell Hugh Blair Grigsby 1843

  • The Zornozas boast an escutcheon which is embellished with a band, a number of wolves, and a legend whose import I do not recall.

    Youth and Egolatry P��o Baroja 1914

  • Victorian outcry against what was termed 'a blot 'on the already rather shady' escutcheon 'of Australia, the immigration was stopped in 1868.

    Town Life in Australia Richard Ernest Nowell Twopeny 1886

  • Dorsetshire, of the latter period, is of stone, the upper part worked in plain oblong panels; and a kind of escutcheon within one of these bears the date 1592; the lower part or basement of this pulpit is circular in form.

    The Principles of Gothic Ecclesiastical Architecture, Elucidated by Question and Answer, 4th ed. Matthew Holbeche Bloxam 1846

  • Holding out the word "government" as a kind of escutcheon to his people, it is Obama's message that his government is the ally not just of multicultural Democrats, as his opponents would have it, but the friend of all Americans. - Home Page Norman Snider 2011

  • Clack Row, "mentioned in the preceding extract from the minutes, and it is likely that there is some connection between the" escutcheon "ordered and his burial, i.e. it was, probably ordered for his coffin, he being" in extremis "at the time the

    A History of Caroline County, Virginia 1924

  • Heraldry — abatement, cadency, clarion, escutcheon, jessant-de-lys, rampant, talbot (I could go on for close to a thousand words as classical heraldry uses Norman French)

    The Logophile « Write Anything 2009

  • Her whiter-than-white teeth caused Biden boosters in the theater to recoil in horror at this blot on Joe's enamel escutcheon.

    Michael Jones: Cowboys and Aliens Michael Jones 2011


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  • In heraldry, the shield or shield-shaped surface on which a coat of arms is depicted; also in wider sense, the shield with the armorial bearings; a sculptured or painted representation of this.

    Usage: 1815 SCOTT Guy M. xli, The carved stone escutcheon of the ancient family...was hung diagonally beneath the helmet and crest.

    February 5, 2007

  • A blot upon your escutcheon

    October 21, 2007

  • * GENERAL: Why do I sit here? To escape from the pirates' clutches, I described myself as an orphan; and, heaven help me, I am no orphan! I come here to humble myself before the tombs of my ancestors, and to implore their pardon for having brought dishonour on the family escutcheon.

    FREDERIC: But you forget, sir, you only bought the property a year ago, and the stucco on your baronial castle is scarcely dry.

    GENERAL: Frederic, in this chapel are ancestors: you cannot deny that. With the estate, I bought the chapel and its contents. I don't know whose ancestors they were, but I know whose ancestors they are, and I shudder to think that their descendant by purchase (if I may so describe myself) should have brought disgrace upon what, I have no doubt, was an unstained escutcheon.

    -- W.S. Gilbert, The Pirates of Penzance

    August 16, 2008

  • Do the bears of McCutcheon

    have an escutcheon?

    Sadly, no, said Brown Bear,

    who slinked into his lair

    to devise a great crest for himself.

    A salmon in the left corner,

    A paw in the right,

    Fur and teeth spread all over,

    To reveal ominous might.

    Posted on the door

    For all to see,

    The crest of Brown Bear

    will make a burglar flee.

    But little do they know

    that inside his dens

    A sweet bear holds court

    With all his winter friends.

    Turkeys and ducks and sweet

    little toads

    Write poetry, and dance,

    while snows coat the roads.

    'Tis a fine place, this House of Bear.

    Crest or no crest, it's great to be there.

    (this assumes a male bear)

    August 16, 2008

  • Mentioned in "A Tale of Two Cities"!

    July 31, 2011

  • Also, the medical term for the distribution of human pubic hair. Do try to resist the opportunities rife with low-brow humor this provides.

    March 6, 2012

  • Also known as milk-mirror.

    April 23, 2015