Definitions

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In heraldry: A bearing, usually considered as a subordinary, like a border but not reaching the edge of the escutcheon, so that the field is seen outside of it as well as within.
  • noun A band of small objects taking the form of an orle: as, an orle of mullets. It is more commonly blazoned in orle (which see, below).
  • noun A circlet set upon a helmet, which supports the crest and is often used in modern heraldry without the helmet, furnishing the only support or base for the crest.
  • noun The rim of a shield; especially, the metal rim of a shield composed of wood, osier, or the like, and visible as a projecting rim on its face.
  • noun In architecture, same as orlet.

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

  • noun (Her.) A bearing, in the form of a fillet, round the shield, within, but at some distance from, the border.
  • noun (Her.) The wreath, or chaplet, surmounting or encircling the helmet of a knight and bearing the crest.
  • noun round the escutcheon, leaving the middle of the field vacant, or occupied by something else; -- said of bearings arranged on the shield in the form of an orle.

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

  • noun heraldry A bordure which runs around the outline of a shield without touching the edge.

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French (also modern) orle, from ourler ‘to hem’, or from *orula, a diminutive of Latin ora ‘edge’, probably from os, or- ‘mouth’.

Examples

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