Insignia or insigne pl -nia or -nias (in Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

, insignia is the plural of singular insigne: emblem, symbol, ensign, badge of honor) : a symbol
A symbol is something which represents an idea, a physical entity or a process but is distinct from it. The purpose of a symbol is to communicate meaning. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a picture of a tent might represent a campsite. Numerals are symbols for...

 or token
A token is an object of value, and may refer to:* In logic, computational linguistics, and information retrieval, a token is an instance of a type; see Type-token distinction...

 of personal power
Power (sociology)
Power is a measurement of an entity's ability to control its environment, including the behavior of other entities. The term authority is often used for power perceived as legitimate by the social structure. Power can be seen as evil or unjust, but the exercise of power is accepted as endemic to...

, status
Social status
In sociology or anthropology, social status is the honor or prestige attached to one's position in society . It may also refer to a rank or position that one holds in a group, for example son or daughter, playmate, pupil, etc....

 or office
An office is generally a room or other area in which people work, but may also denote a position within an organization with specific duties attached to it ; the latter is in fact an earlier usage, office as place originally referring to the location of one's duty. When used as an adjective, the...

, or of an official body of government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 or jurisdiction
Jurisdiction is the practical authority granted to a formally constituted legal body or to a political leader to deal with and make pronouncements on legal matters and, by implication, to administer justice within a defined area of responsibility...

. An insignia is usually the emblem
An emblem is a pictorial image, abstract or representational, that epitomizes a concept — e.g., a moral truth, or an allegory — or that represents a person, such as a king or saint.-Distinction: emblem and symbol:...

 of a specific or general authority
The word Authority is derived mainly from the Latin word auctoritas, meaning invention, advice, opinion, influence, or command. In English, the word 'authority' can be used to mean power given by the state or by academic knowledge of an area .-Authority in Philosophy:In...


Typical examples of insignia are:
  • Crowns
    Crown (headgear)
    A crown is the traditional symbolic form of headgear worn by a monarch or by a deity, for whom the crown traditionally represents power, legitimacy, immortality, righteousness, victory, triumph, resurrection, honour and glory of life after death. In art, the crown may be shown being offered to...

  • Flag
    A flag is a piece of fabric with a distinctive design that is usually rectangular and used as a symbol, as a signaling device, or decoration. The term flag is also used to refer to the graphic design employed by a flag, or to its depiction in another medium.The first flags were used to assist...

    s of a country or state
  • Coats of arms
    Coat of arms
    A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

     and Heraldry
    Heraldry is the profession, study, or art of creating, granting, and blazoning arms and ruling on questions of rank or protocol, as exercised by an officer of arms. Heraldry comes from Anglo-Norman herald, from the Germanic compound harja-waldaz, "army commander"...

  • Seal
    Seal (device)
    A seal can be a figure impressed in wax, clay, or some other medium, or embossed on paper, with the purpose of authenticating a document ; but the term can also mean the device for making such impressions, being essentially a mould with the mirror image of the design carved in sunken- relief or...

  • Ensign
    An ensign is a national flag when used at sea, in vexillology, or a distinguishing token, emblem, or badge, such as a symbol of office in heraldry...

  • Roundel
    A roundel in heraldry is a disc; the term is also commonly used to refer to a type of national insignia used on military aircraft, generally circular in shape and usually comprising concentric rings of different colours.-Heraldry:...

  • Badge
    A badge is a device or fashion accessory, often containing the insignia of an organization, which is presented or displayed to indicate some feat of service, a special accomplishment, a symbol of authority granted by taking an oath , a sign of legitimate employment or student status, or as a simple...

  • Cockade
    A cockade is a knot of ribbons, or other circular- or oval-shaped symbol of distinctive colors which is usually worn on a hat.-Eighteenth century:...

  • Other National Emblems
    National emblem
    A national emblem symbolically represents a nation. Most national emblems originate in the natural world, such as animals or birds, but another object may serve. National emblems may appear on many things such as the national flag, coat of arms, or other patriotic materials...

  • Shoulder patch
    Shoulder patch
    A shoulder sleeve insignia, is an embroidered patch used by major formations of the United States Army. Each formation has a unique formation patch, and the US Army is unique among the US armed services in that all soldiers are required to wear the patch of their headquarters as part of their...

    , or shoulder sleeve insignia (SSI)
  • Military aircraft insignia
    Military aircraft insignia
    Military aircraft insignia are insignia applied to military aircraft to identify the nation or branch of military service to which the aircraft belongs...

  • Military rank
    Military rank
    Military rank is a system of hierarchical relationships in armed forces or civil institutions organized along military lines. Usually, uniforms denote the bearer's rank by particular insignia affixed to the uniforms...

     and unit markings:
    • British Army officer rank insignia
      British Army officer rank insignia
      -Origins:The first British Army rank insignia were introduced in 1760. According to the Royal Clothing Warrant, General Officers were distinguished by the pattern and arrangement of laces on the cuff.Badges for field officers were first introduced in 1810...

    • British Army Other Ranks rank insignia
    • British Royal Air Force officer rank insignia
      RAF officer ranks
      - Ranks :-Origins:Lieutenant-General David Henderson originally proposed that Royal Air Force officers use a combination of British Army and Royal Navy ranks...

    • British Royal Air Force other rank insignia
    • British Royal Navy officer rank insignia
      Royal Navy officer rank insignia
      -Officers:Uniforms for naval officers were not authorized until 1748. At first the cut and style of the uniform differed considerably between ranks and specific rank insignia only sporadically used...

    • British Royal Navy ratings rank insignia
    • Croatian military ranks insignia
      Croatian military ranks
      -Army and air force ranks:Labels ranks for members of the Croatian Ground Army and Croatian Air Force and Defense are identical, except that the ranks of the Ground Army are gold and of the Air Force and Defense are silver.-Navy ranks:...

    • U.S. Army officer rank insignia
    • U.S. Army enlisted rank insignia
    • U.S. Navy officer rank insignia
    • U.S. Navy enlisted rate insignia
    • United States Air Force enlisted rank insignia
      United States Air Force enlisted rank insignia
      The chart below represents the current enlisted rank insignia of the United States Air Force.While all Air Force military personnel are referred to as Airmen, it can specifically refer to the pay grades of E-1 through E-4 which are below the level of non-commissioned officers...

    • United States Air Force officer rank insignia
      United States Air Force officer rank insignia
      -Current insignia:This chart displays the United States Air Force officer rank insignia. The ranks are divided into three sections: company grade, field grade, and general officers. Company grade officers are those officers of grades O-1 to O-3. Field grade officers are those of grades O-4 to O-6...

    • United States Marine Corps enlisted rank insignia
    • United States Marine Corps officer rank insignia
    • Polish Armed Forces rank insignia
      Polish Armed Forces rank insignia
      - Origins :Present Polish system of rank insignia is a direct descendant of various systems used in the past in the Polish Army. Some of the grades trace their name back to Middle Ages, for instance the rank of chorąży literally means a flag bearer...

    • Nazi Party rank insignia
      Ranks and insignia of the Nazi Party
      Ranks and insignia of the Nazi Party were paramilitary titles used by the National Socialist German Workers Party between approximately 1928 and the fall of Nazi Germany in 1945...

Official insignia are often protected by law as to allow their use only by people holding a specific office or staff members acting on behalf of such a person. Misuse, defacement and destruction of such symbols is considered an offense in many countries.
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