Baton sinister

Baton sinister

Baton sinister is a charge used in heraldry.

Heraldic charge

It is a diminutive of the bend sinister and constitutes a narrow strip that runs from the upper right to the lower left of a coat of arms. It has been traditionally used as an indicator of an illegitimate birth in the family line. Sinister, in this case, does not have a negative connotation, it is merely a directional indicator.

The baton sinister can be seen in the arms of the Duke of Grafton who is a descendant of an illegitimate son of King Charles II of England. Today, the College of Arms in England uses a bordure wavy to mark an armiger as illegitimate. The Court of the Lord Lyon in Scotland uses a bordure gobony to denote the same.

Bar sinister

In French a bend sinister is called a "barre". Sir Walter Scott is credited with giving literature the macaronic phrase bar sinister, which has become a metonymic term for bastardy. In English blazon a "bar" is a horizontal stripe, symmetric with respect to "sinister" and "dexter". ("Bar" and "barre" are pronounced alike.)

The term "bar sinister" may also refer to a symbol of prohibition commonly seen in signs, consisting of a red diagonal within a red circle, though its orientation is not usually significant. These include the common "No Smoking" signs.

ee also

*Simon Bar Sinister

External links

* [ Baton sinister] in the arms of the Duke of Grafton
* [ Society for Creative Anachronism]
* ['s%20Dictionary%20of%20Heraldry%20-%20B.htm Pembley's Dictionary of Heraldry]


*Stephen Friar, Ed. "A Dictionary of Heraldry". (Harmony Books, New York: 1987).

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  • baton-sinister — baton sinˈister noun A heraldic indication of illegitimacy, a diminutive of a bend sinister, not extending to the sides of the shield, so as to resemble a marshal s baton laid diagonally over the family arms from sinister to dexter (improperly… …   Useful english dictionary

  • BATON-SINISTER —    a bend sinister like a marshal s baton, an indication of illegitimacy …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Sinister — is originally a Latin term for left or to the left (and by extension, left handedness), and is used in heraldry to refer to the left of the bearer of the arms, and to the right by the viewer s eyes. It is often used to mean evil.Sinister may also …   Wikipedia

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  • Baton — Bat on (b[a^]t [u^]n, F. b[aum] t[^o]N ; 277), n. [F. b[^a]ton. See {Baston}.] 1. A staff or truncheon, used for various purposes; as, the baton of a field marshal; the baton of a conductor in musical performances. [1913 Webster] He held the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • baton — [bə tän′, batän′; ] Brit [ ba′tän΄] n. [Fr bâton < OFr baston < VL * basto < LL bastum, stick, prob. of Gaul orig.] 1. a staff serving as a symbol of office 2. Heraldry a short, narrow bend: in England, a baton placed diagonally right to …   English World dictionary

  • baton — index bar sinister Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

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  • baton — /beuh ton , ba , bat n/, n. 1. Music. a wand used by a conductor. 2. a rod of lightweight metal fitted with a weighted bulb at each end and carried and twirled by a drum major or majorette. 3. Track. a hollow rod of wood, paper, or plastic that… …   Universalium

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