In heraldry, gules (/ˈɡjuːlz/) is the tincture with the colour red. It is one of the class of five dark tinctures called "colours", the others being azure (blue), sable (black), vert (green) and purpure (purple).

Non-heraldic equivalentRed
Monochromatic designations
Hatching pattern 
Tricking abbr.g., Gu.
Poetic designations
Heavenly bodyMars[1]

In engraving, it is sometimes depicted by hatching of vertical lines. In tricking—abbreviations written in areas to indicate their tinctures—it is marked with gu..


The term gules derives from the Old French word goules, literally "throats" (related to the English gullet; modern French gueules), but also used to refer to a fur neckpiece, usually made of red fur.[2]

A.C. Fox-Davies[3] states that the term originates from the Persian word گل gol, "rose", but according to Brault,[4] there is no evidence to support this derivation.


Different uses of the tincture gules shown in the quartered coat of arms of Nassau-Dillenburg (attributed to Otto II of Nassau, d. 1351):
 1. The lion of Nassau, Azure billetty or, a lion rampant of the last armed and langued gules;
 2. County of Katzenelnbogen, Or a lion rampant guardant gules, armed langued and crowned azure;
 3. County of Vianden, Gules, a fess argent;
 4. County of Dietz, Gules, two lions passants or armed and langued azure

Gules is the most widely used heraldic tincture. 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.

Examples of coats of arms consisting of purely a red shield (blazoned gules plain) include those of the d'Albret family, the Rossi family, the Swiss canton of Schwyz (prior to 1815), and the old coats of arms of the cities of Nîmes and Montpellier.

See also


  1. Parker, James (1894). A Glossary of Terms Used in Heraldry. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  2. Harper, Douglas. "gules". Online Etymology Dictionary.
  3. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, by Arthur Charles Fox-Davies, p. 29
  4. Brault, Gerard J. (1997). Early Blazon: Heraldic Terminology in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries, (2nd ed.). Woodbridge, UK: The Boydell Press. ISBN 0-85115-711-4.
  5. Historia Anglorum c. 1250
  6. Chillon Castle, c. 1500
  7. Livro de Armerio-Mor, c. 1509
  8. Stained glass at the Franciscan Monastery Museum in Villingen-Schwenningen, 1567
  9. Chorographia Württemberg, 1591, attributed to Casimir III the Great
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