The recent situation with the Confederate Flag and its origin, history and place in modern culture reminded me of a word I first discovered way back in my junior high school (better known as the Stone Age to modern readers) Social Studies class.
Or, to be more precise, I discovered it in the school library.
In Social Studies, on a Friday, we were discussing flags of the world and I asked the teacher if there was such a thing as a person who was an expert in flags.
“Why don’t you research that and report back on it next week?”, he replied, which is teacher-speak for, “I don’t know, so I’ll turn it back on you to provide an answer.”
During lunch, I stopped by the school library and asked the matronly librarian the same question.
(By the way, there was a time in my young life that I wanted to be a librarian, though I’d never seen a male librarian up to that point, because I thought librarians were the smartest people in the world. And they got to be around BOOKS all day!)
She returned with a volume of the encyclopedia and a Webster’s dictionary opened to the word, “Vexillology” and I trotted off to an empty table to copy down the information. When I got home I checked our own encyclopedia, but the information was the same. Monday, my Social Studies teacher asked if I had found the answer to my question and I gave my short report that affirmed there was such a thing as a person who was an expert in flags; a vexillologist.
noun vex·il·lol·o·gy \ˌvek-sə-ˈlä-lə-jē\
Definition of VEXILLOLOGY
: the study of flags
— vex·il·lo·log·ic \(ˌ)vek-ˌsi-lə-ˈlä-jik\ or vex·il·lo·log·i·cal \-ˈlä-ji-kəl\ adjective
— vex·il·lol·o·gist \ˌvek-sə-ˈlä-lə-jist\ noun
Origin of VEXILLOLOGY:
First Known Use: 1959