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See also: Oriflamme


Alternative forms[edit]


From Old French oriflambe, oriflamme, from Medieval Latin auriflamma (golden flame), from Latin aurum (gold) + flamma (flame).



oriflamme (plural oriflammes)

  1. (historical or historical) The red silk banner of St Denis, which the abbot of St Denis gave to French kings as they rode to war.
    • 1988, Robert Irwin, The Mysteries of Algiers, Dedalus 1993, p. 58:
      The white banner with the golden lilies of France has been unfurled. The oriflamme has been presented to the virginal bride who stands before the altar in the forest chapel.
  2. (figuratively) Any banner, idea or principle which serves as a rallying point for those involved in a struggle.
    • Macaulay
      And be your oriflamme to-day the helmet of Navarre.
    • 1963, Anthony Burgess, Inside Mr Enderby:
      Please remember that the vocabulary of our readers isn’t very extensive, so don’t go using words like ‘oriflamme’ or ‘inelectable’.
  3. (literary) Something resembling the banner of St Denis; a bright, shining object.
    • 1837 Thomas Carlyle, The French Revolution: A History
      This is that famed Martial law, with its Red Flag, its 'Drapeau Rouge:' in virtue of which Mayor Bailly, or any Mayor, has but henceforth to hang out that new Oriflamme of his; then to read or mumble something about the King's peace; and, after certain pauses, serve any undispersing Assemblage with musket-shot....
    • 1969, Vladimir Nabokov, Ada or Ardor, Penguin 2011, p. 96:
      Lucette trotted into the room with a child's pink, stiff-bagged butterfly-net in her little fist, like an oriflamme.
    • 1992, Moncrieff/Kilmartin/Enright, translating Marcel Proust, Swann's Way, Folio Society 2005, p. 417:
      Open spaces made visible the approach to almost every one of them, or else a splendid mass of foliage stood out before it like an oriflamme.


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Old French, from Medieval Latin auriflamma (golden flame), from Latin aurum (gold) + flamma (flame).



oriflamme f (plural oriflammes)

  1. (historical) oriflamme
  2. banner, standard

Further reading[edit]