Always been interested in heraldry, although I know very little. Hence I thought if I looked at the etymology of the terms it may help me to understand more and thus interpret what I see before me.
Abatements - marks showing some dishonourable act, not actual marks but seen as several pieces removed and all of different shapes. Mostly used in a legal sense to mean 'destruction or removal of a nuisance' - the two clearly connected.
Achievement - refers to the ranks and/or titles of the family. No surprise then to find it comes from Old French meaning 'to accomplish'.
Ambulant - describes the figure as 'walking', for obvious reasons.
Anchor - used to refer to 'hope' more often than any maritime connection, this a biblical quote where one's faith is said to be an anchor through life's storms.
Baton - in earlier generations it signifies illegitimacy of the first bearer.
Chevron - one of the simplest of images and one of the earliest, hence its original usage is unknown. What we do know is it comes from the French word for 'rafter' or 'roof'.
Courant - describes an animal - such as a horse, stag, dog - running at full speed.
Crescent - not a crescent as we would think, ie in a crescent moon, but one usually elongated and lying on its back with horns uppermost.
Dexter - heraldic terminology for the righthand side.
Escutcheon - a lovely word referring to the shield, and derived from the Latin scutum meaning 'shield' and ultimately from a Proto-Indo-European word meaning 'hide, conceal'.
Gradient - a term meaning 'walking'.
Lampasse - refers to the tongue of any quadruped when of a different colour to the rest of the creature. No, neither have I.
Martlet - perhaps not an actual bird, although some sources say this is a blackbird or swallow, but is marked by its lack of legs, thighs yes, legs no.
Potent - another name for a crutch or cane.
Saltire - as many will know is a cross, the most famous that of the cross of St Andrew, but heraldically it refers to a cross not in the usual vertical and horizontal form.
Sinister - lefthand side.
Tierce - refers to the shield being divided into three.
Vorant - is a term telling us one figure is swallowing or devouring another.
Does knowing the origins of thus the meaning of the terms help me understand more of heraldry? Only time will tell.