Flag Terminology: The Many Parts of a Flagpole

October 31, 2018 2 min read

If you’re new to the world of flags, you won’t be too acquainted with the various parts that makeup the flag and the flagpole. In fact, the flag and the flagpole may be the only things you really know of. However, in reality there are a lot of different components and accessories that make up to form the whole flag display.

Knowing about the various flag parts and terminology can be especially helpful when you’re purchasing a flag. Vexillology, or the scientific study of flags, gets into the depths of what makes a flag whole; be it the emblematic aspects of a flag or its physical parts.

From a canton to a halyard, flag parts have their own whole jargon. Listed below you will find the standard terminology generally used for referencing certain parts of flags and flagpoles.

The Anatomy of a Flag 

These parts make up to form what is known as the fabric part of the flag. These parts include:

The Hoist

Hoist refers to the height at which the flag is being flown at. The term hoist is also used to refer to the edge part of the flag connected to the flagpole or staff. It is more commonly known as ‘hoist end’.

The Fly 

The fly of a flag can be in reference to three things:

  • It is the length of the flag measured from the connecting point on the flagpole to the furthest point of the flag
  • The distance measured from one end of the canton to other free end of the flag
  • The length, or width, of an extended flag

The Fly End 

The fly end is known as the flapping part of the flag that flies in the wind and can get easily frayed.

The Canton 

The canton is also known as the top inner most corner of a flag. It is usually found on the upper, left-hand corner of a flag.

The Anatomy of a Flagpole 

These parts combine to form the flagpole of a flag display:

The Flagpole 

The main part is, of course, the flagpole. Flag fabrics are mostly attached to a supportive object such as a staff, a flagpole, a mast, or a flagstaff. Generally, when a flag needs to be flown outdoors, it is attached to a flagpole for support.

The Truck 

Trucks are the caps affixed at the top of a flagpole and usually have holes in order to attach pulleys and hoist the flag up and down.

The Finial 

A finial or a staff ornament is a decorative piece attached at the uppermost part of the flagpole.

The Halyard 

Halyard of a flagpole is the cable or rope used to raise and lower the flag on the flagpole.

About Federal Flags

To buy high-quality American flags on sale, contact us at Federal Flags! We are a local U.S. based company offering top quality American country and State flags and for sale online to customers. 


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