what is the motto of the coat of arms


The coat of arms is a heraldic design used to represent countries, states, organizations, families, or individuals. It often includes symbols and motifs that hold significant meaning. One important aspect of a coat of arms is its motto, which typically conveys a guiding principle or philosophy associated with the entity it represents. In this article, we will explore the significance and functions of a motto in a coat of arms, along with some notable examples.

What is a Motto in a Coat of Arms?

A motto in a coat of arms is a phrase or a short sentence designed to express the values, aspirations, or historical origins of the entity being depicted. It is often displayed on a ribbon or scroll placed below or surrounding the coat of arms. The motto can be written in various languages, including Latin, English, or the native language of the entity.

The Significance of a Motto

what is the motto of the coat of arms

The motto in a coat of arms serves as a succinct statement of the ideals or principles that the entity wishes to embody. It can symbolize the entity’s history, emphasize its virtues, or reflect its goals and ambitions. The motto adds depth and character to the coat of arms, offering viewers a glimpse into the core values and motivations of the entity.

The Functions of a Motto

A motto in a coat of arms serves multiple functions, including:

1. Identification

The motto helps identify and distinguish the entity associated with the coat of arms. It acts as a unique identifier, especially when combined with other elements of the heraldic design. The motto provides a quick reference to the values and principles that the entity upholds.

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2. Inspiration and Unity

A powerful motto can inspire and unite the members of an organization or family. It acts as a rallying cry, instilling a sense of pride and camaraderie among those who identify with the coat of arms. The motto offers a shared purpose and motivates individuals to work towards common goals.

3. Legacy and Tradition

The motto can reflect the legacy and traditions of the entity it represents. It may encapsulate the lineage, achievements, or creeds that have been passed down through generations. By preserving these historical elements, the motto contributes to the entity’s sense of tradition and continuity.

4. Communication

The motto communicates a message to others, conveying the entity’s values, intentions, or philosophy. It can serve as a public statement, expressing the entity’s mission or guiding principles. The motto acts as an emblematic description, enabling others to better understand and connect with the entity it represents.

Notable Examples of Mottos

Here are a few examples of notable mottos found in coat of arms:

1. United States of America

Motto: “E Pluribus Unum” (Out of many, one)

The motto of the United States emphasizes the unity of the diverse states and people that form the nation.

2. British Royal Family

Motto: “Dieu et mon droit” (God and my right)

The British Royal Family’s motto reflects their divine right to rule and their dedication to duty.

3. City of Paris, France

Motto: “Fluctuat nec mergitur” (Tossed but not sunk)

This motto symbolizes the resilience and enduring spirit of the city, even in the face of challenges.

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4. University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Motto: “Dominus illuminatio mea” (The Lord is my light)

The University of Oxford’s motto signifies the institution’s commitment to the pursuit of knowledge and enlightenment.


The motto in a coat of arms holds great significance, providing a concise expression of the values, aspirations, and legacy of the entity it represents. It serves to identify, inspire, communicate, and preserve traditions. Whether it is the motto of a country, a family, or an organization, it offers a glimpse into the essence of the entity and creates a lasting impression.

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