In heraldry, a supporter is a person, animal or mythical beast who appears on the side of the escutcheon (a shield or surface on which symbols are displayed) on a coat of arms. Supporters usually come in pairs, although not necessarily being of the same type, and are positioned to the left (sinister) or right (dexter). Their posture can be described as salient (in the process of leaping or springing), saltant (springing forward) or proper (poised to strike).

Supporters arose either from representing the squires who would carry a knight's shield to jousts and battles, or perhaps were just signatures of the seal engraver which became heraldic through the practice of quatering.

Countries which have supporters on their coat of arms include:

Australia: a kangaroo and an emu
Bahamas: a blue marlin and a flamingo
Barbados: a dolphin and a pelican
Belize: two woodcutters
Botswana: two zebras
British Indian Ocean Territory: two turtles
Bulgaria: two lions
Burkina Faso: two stallions
Canada: a lion and a unicorn
Chad: a lion and a mountain goat
Congo (Republic of): two elephants
Dominica: two Sisserou parrots
Fiji: two male Fijians in national dress
Gabon: two panthers
The Gambia: two black lions (yes, like Simba)
Ghana: two eagles
Guyana: two jaguars
Iceland: a bull and a giant (!)
Isle of Man: a peregrine falcon and a raven
Jamaica: a female and male Arawak native (notably the female is bare-breasted)
Kenya: two lions
Lesotho: two horses
Malawi: a lion and a leopard
Malaysia: two lions
Mauritius: a dodo (!) and a deer
Monaco: two sword-wielding monks (actually this shows the soldiers who disguised as monks conquered the city in 1297)
Namibia: two oryx antelopes
The Netherlands: two lions (yawn)
New Zealand: a pakeha (whitey) woman and a Maori man
Nigeria: two horses
St Kitts and Nevis: two pelicans
St Lucia: two Amazona versicolor parrots
Seychelles: two sail-fish
Singapore: a lion and a tiger
Solomon Islands: a crocodile and a shark (cool)
Somalia: two leopards
Suriname: two Indians holding shields
Swaziland: a lion and an elephant
Tanzania: a man and a woman in national dress
Trinidad and Tobago: an ibis and a cocrico (kind of wading bird)
Uganda: a kob (like an antelope) and a crane
United Kingdom: a lion and a unicorn
Zambia: a man (dressed as a worker) and a woman in traditional dress
Zimbabwe: two kudus (again, like antelopes).

Sup*port"er (?), n.


One who, or that which, supports; as, oxygen is a supporter of life.

The sockets and supporters of flowers are figured. Bacon.

The saints have a . . . supporter in all their miseries. South.


Especially, an adherent; one who sustains, advocates, and defends; as, the supporter of a party, faction, or candidate.

3. Shipbuilding

A knee placed under the cathead.

4. Her.

A figure, sometimes of a man, but commonly of some animal, placed on either side of an escutcheon, and exterior to it. Usually, both supporters of an escutcheon are similar figures.

5. Med.

A broad band or truss for supporting the abdomen or some other part or organ.

<-- athletic supporter. A supprter (Def. 5), specifically to support the male testicles while engaged in vigorous athletics. Also called a jock or a jockstrap. -->


© Webster 1913.

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