Word Of The Week – Vexillology

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.

Vexillology

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:

Latin vexillum

First Known Use: 1959

Big Bang Theory Screen Capture of Sheldon and Fun With Flags

About The Word Of Jeff

I'm a freelance writer and blogger who has written for, among others, Tribune Media Services, Suite101 and Athena Guides. As an intrepid traveler I have chronicled some of my travels at The Verbal Vagabond, my travel blog. And, being an avid amateur photographer, I also have a photography blog spotlighting photos I have taken of areas around my hometown at Postcards From Maggie Valley. Speaking of Maggie Valley, that is where my wife, our Golden Retriever/Border Collie mix, Bella, our Orange Tabby, Tigger and I live in a log cabin on a mountain in Western North Carolina, just at the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I enjoy hiking, camping, art, travel, photography (as mentioned above), and an occasional glass of good wine while reading or writing in front of the fireplace.
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