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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Gules \Gules\ (g[=u]lz), n. [OE. goules, F. gueules, the same word as gueule throat, OF. gole, goule, L. gula. So named from the red color of the throat. See Gullet, and cf. Gula.] (Her.) The tincture red, indicated in seals and engraved figures of escutcheons by parallel vertical lines. Hence, used poetically for a red color or that which is red.

His sev'n-fold targe a field of gules did stain In which two swords he bore; his word, ``Divide and reign.''
--P. Fletcher.

Follow thy drum; With man's blood paint the ground; gules, gules.

Let's march to rest and set in gules, like suns.
--Beau. & Fl.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"red," in heraldic descriptions, c.1300, from Old French goules "neckpiece of (red) fur," plural of gole, guele "throat," from Latin gula "throat" (see gullet).


a. (context tincture English) In blazon, of the colour red. n. (context tincture English) The blazoning term for red, e.g. on a coat of arms, typically represented in engraving by vertical parallel lines.


In heraldry, gules is the tincture with the colour red, and belongs to the class of dark tinctures called "colours". In engraving, it is sometimes depicted as a region of vertical lines or else marked with gu. as an abbreviation.

In Polish heraldry, gules is the most common tincture of the field. Through the sixteenth century, nearly half of all noble coats of arms in Poland had a field gules with one or more argent charges on them.

The original coat of arms of the d'Albret family was plain gules.

Sometimes, the different tinctures are said to be connected with special meanings or virtues, and represent certain elements and precious stones. Even if this is an idea mostly disregarded by serious heraldists throughout the centuries, it may be of anecdotal interest to see what they are, since people often ask for this information. Many sources give different meanings, but the gules tincture is often said to represent the following:

  • of jewels, the ruby;
  • of heavenly bodies, Mars.

Usage examples of "gules".

Under a magnificently embroidered baldachin blazed the ducal arms: a unicorn on a field gules.

It silvered once again the old stone shields: sable shadows on a ground argent, a device older by far than the proud hatchments in gules and azure and vert which had long since peeled from the crumbling surfaces.

After all, we bear, azure, a wivern or, darting fire, ongle gules, and scaled vert, a chief ermine, from the time of Francois I.

For on my shield behold and see, Upon field vert, gules falcons three, Surcharged with heart ensanguiney, To prove to one and all of ye, A love-lorn knight am I.

She made a brave figure in the flood of sunlight that poured through the gules and azures of the long blazoned windows, her tall, lissome figure clad in a close-fitting robe of black velvet, her abundant glossy black hair rolled back under its white coif, her black eyes and scarlet lips detaching from the ivory of her face, in which no trace of emotion showed, for all the anxiety that consumed her.

House Montant Azure on a bend argent a ringed planet gules, in sinister base and dexter chief a star of five points of the second.