ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Meaning of the Fleur-de-Lis Symbol

Updated on August 11, 2014
Fleur-de-lis back tattoo.
Fleur-de-lis back tattoo.

The Fleur-de-lis, or literally "flower of the lily", symbol can be found worldwide. Since it is used in so many ways and applications people often wonder what the true meaning is. As with many things in life there is no one "correct" interpretation of the Fleur-de-lis. There are however, several origins that are widely researched and accepted.

France & The French Monarchy

One of the earliest uses of the Fleur-de-lis was by the royal family of France, as is indicated by its French name. In his book France in the Middle Ages 987-1460: From Hugh Capet to Joan of Arc, historian Georges Duby says that the three leaves represent the three social classes of medieval society: those who worked, those who fought, and those who prayed. The Fleur-de-lis is still used today in France and areas that were settled by the French (Canada, Louisiana, Mississippi, etc.).

Mary holding Jesus in a Fleur-de-lis covered gown.
Mary holding Jesus in a Fleur-de-lis covered gown. | Source

Religious Symbolism

In relation to Christianity, the Fleur-de-lis represents purity and can be associated with the Virgin Mary. It is sometimes used in relation to Gabriel and the Annunciation, where he declares that Mary will conceive and give birth to Jesus. It is also said that the three petals and three sepals (the leaves below the petals) are a tribute to the trinity; that is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Candency Marks
Candency Marks | Source


The Fleur-de-lis appears in many, many, family coat of arms; it may even be in yours. It was also used as a cadency mark to differentiate between the birth order of male heirs. Common cadence marks were: label (eldest son), crescent (second son), molet (third son), martlet (fourth son), annulet (fifth son), Fleur-de-lis (sixth son), rose (seventh son), cross moline (eighth son), and octofoil (ninth son). These marks would be added to the coat of arms to show the hierarchy of the family.

The ceiling of Sainte Chapelle in Paris, France.
The ceiling of Sainte Chapelle in Paris, France. | Source


The Fleur-de-lis is often used as a decorative element in architecture. It is commonly seen in Gothic and Gothic revival styles, as well as churches and places associated with royalty. The symbol often appears atop fences, in stained glass mosaics, or in friezes and cornices.


Most famously the Fleur-de-lis has been the logo for the New Orleans Saints football team since 1967. It is also used by the Pacific Coast League baseball team, the New Orleans Zephyrs, the Major League Soccer team, Montreal Impact, and the Italian football team, ACF Fiorentina. Georges St. Pierre, a Canadian Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter, has a Fleur-de-lis tattooed on his leg.

Scouts Emblem
Scouts Emblem | Source


Today the Fleur-de-lis is widely recognized as a symbol relating to the Boy Scouts, although it is really used by many scouting organizations. It was first adopted from the compass rose. The flower points upward (the right direction), neither left or right, which lead backwards. The petals are meant to represent the Scout Promise; Duty to God and Country, Duty to Self, Duty to Others.

A Continuing Piece of History

The origins of the Fleur-de-lis may not be completely clear but it is still being used and honored to this day.


Submit a Comment
  • profile image

    Susan Roberts 

    3 years ago

    Thanks for clarifying this. I first became aware of the symbol when reading a book about Joan of Arc and how she had the fleur-de-lis on her sword. To me she was a strong Christian woman led by God and this is when I fell in love with the symbol. So I got a fleur-de-lis symbol tattoo put on my left shoulder done in purple and lavender, which is very beautiful. People try to make it out to be Luciferian, but you can take any symbol and use or mean it for good or bad. Look at the Swastika that was a holy symbol to Hindu Indians and the American Indians. Hitler took it and made the symbol out to be refiled every time anyone looks at it now, instead of the holy symbol it was originally meant to be.

  • JasonLicerioPH profile image

    Jason Licerio 

    5 years ago from Philippines

    Clarity for unknown symbols you see everywhere. Thanks!

  • profile image

    Ceusan Alina 

    6 years ago

    Thanks for sharing!

  • CelebrateUSA profile image

    Ken Kline 

    6 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

    I learned allot. Have admire this and knew it to be French but didn't realize it also meant purity. Thank you for the history lesson.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Thanks I'm from louisiana and I had a feeling that's it meant something good

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    The gsp tattoo is for the quebec. Its the sign of the quebecer flag wich is where gsp is born

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    Love this symbol

  • profile image

    Southern Bell Ding A Ling Ding A Ling 

    7 years ago

    Good to know thanks. Keep up the info lots of sum fume out here. Lol

  • profile image

    flora d lease 

    7 years ago

    I always knew I loved this symbol.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    thanks for the info just wanted to the meaning of it be4 i get that tattooed

  • Dr Bill Tollefson profile image

    Bill Tollefson 

    7 years ago from Southwest Florida

    I found your HUB to very interesting. I always wondered the origin. Thanks a lot for the knowledge.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)