This chicken was abated by a bend sinister tenné.

This chicken was abated by a bend sinister tenné.

An abatement is the theoretic use of a charge or ordinary of a staynard tincture (sanguine or tenne), usualy in reverse or to the sinister which denotes some dishonor of the bearer of the coat of arms.  Sometimes also called a Rebatement.

As the use of arms is not compulsory, the bearer generally relinquishes the arms rather than using them abated to advertise his disgrace.  Abatements such as the above exist only in the theory of the system of heraldry, as there are no instances of their actual use on record.

Abatements, sometimes called Rebatedments are marks of disgrace attached to arms on account of some dishonorable act of the bearer.  They are shown by pieces of different shapes being to all appearances, cut out of, or off of the shield; their shapes and positions are represented by the following varieties, and muct be either sanguine or tenné, which the old writers call “staynade colours,” otherwise they will not appear as abatements but as honourable charges.

  1. Delf
4. Point Dexter 7. Gore Sinister
  1. Inescutcheon reversed
5. Point Pointed 8. Gusset Dexter
  1. Plain Point
6. Point Champaine 9. Gusset Sinister

Broken chevrons and beasts turned towards the sinister are supposed by some heraldic writers to have been gien as abatements.

There is another disgrace which has been used in the past as an abatement and that is in the case of traitors to the crown.  In this case the entire arms are debased or reversed in their colors entirely.  These arms would only be displayed at the execution traitor in question and then retired.

A Glossary of Terms Used in Heraldry; Parker & Company (1894).

Abatelement – (Ab-a-te’-le-mang) – A mark of disgrace affixed to an escutcheon.

Abatement – Abatements are real or imaginary marks of disgrace affixed to an escutcheon on account of some flagrantly dishonorable action on the part of the bearer. There is scarcely an instance on record, however, of such marks of disgrace having been actually affixed to an escutcheon. (Some times called rebatements.)

Pimbley’s Dictionary of Heraldry; Arthur Pimbley (1908).

ABATEMENT. Any figure added to coats of arms tending to lower the dignity or station of the bearer. Thus, the baton, denoting illegitimacy, is an abatement: so, also, are the differences in coats of arms showing the degrees of consanguinity.

Manual of Heraldry; Virtue & Company (1846).

Originally posted 2009-12-11 13:34:14.

Use of Aluminium in Heraldry


  1. Addition | Your Armiger - [...]   A Glossary of Terms Used in Heraldry; Parker & Company (1894). Addition - Something added to a coat of …
  2. Absconded | Your Armiger - [...] Conversely, in theoretical heraldry, it is possible that an abatement may also abscond a charge.  [See Abatement] [...]

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