oriflamme

oriflamme

[awr-uh-flam, or-]
noun
1.
the red banner of St. Denis, near Paris, carried before the early kings of France as a military ensign.
2.
any ensign, banner, or standard, especially one that serves as a rallying point or symbol.

Origin:
1425–75; late Middle English oriflam < Middle French oriflamme, Old French, equivalent to orie golden (< Latin aurea, feminine of aureus, derivative of aurum gold) + flamme flame

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World English Dictionary
oriflamme (ˈɒrɪˌflæm)
 
n
a scarlet flag, originally of the abbey of St Denis in N France, adopted as the national banner of France in the Middle Ages
 
[C15: via Old French, from Latin aurum gold + flamma flame]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

oriflamme
sacred banner of St. Denis, late 15c., from O.Fr. orie flame, from L. aurea flamma "golden flame." The ancient battle standard of the kings of France, it was of red or orange-red silk, with two or three points, and was given to the kings by the abbot of St. Denis on setting out to war. Cotgrave says
it was "borne at first onely in warres made against Infidells; but afterwards vsed in all other warres; and at length vtterly lost in a battell against the Flemings." It is last mentioned in an abbey inventory of 1534.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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