Heraldry: 1. The study or art of tracing genealogies, of determining, designing, and granting coats
of arms, and of ruling on questions of rank or protocol. 2. Armorial ensigns or devices.
The bottom line: This developed out of the basic need for a bunch of men dressed up
in metal suits to distinguish themselves. They wore decorative "coats" over the armor. Find out more
in our article, Understanding the Basics.
Pimbley's Dictionary of Heraldry
Use Pimbley's Dictionary of Heraldry or one of the other dictionaries or glossaries listed to identify the various charges and symbols found on coats of arms.