- coat of arms
1. a surcoat or tabard embroidered with heraldic devices, worn by medieval knights over their armor.2. a heraldic achievement of arms.[1325-75; ME; parallel to F cotte d'armes]
* * *or shield of armsHeraldic device dating to the 12th century in Europe.It was originally a cloth tunic worn over or in place of armour to establish identity in battle. In the full armorial achievement the distinctively patterned shield is ornamented with a crest, helmet, mantling, motto, crown, wreath, and supporters and rests upon a compartment. Arms were later adopted as emblems for schools, churches, guilds, and corporations to reflect their origins or histories. See also heraldry.
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