This article is from the rec.heraldry FAQ, by Gordon Findlay (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Francois Velde (email@example.com) with numerous contributions by others.
Coats of arms are described in a technical language, devised over the
centuries by heralds, with the aim of describing even the most complex
coats concisely and unambiguously.
This language cannot be summarised usefully in the space of a FAQ. The
books in the bibliography cover this in detail: those by Moncreiffe,
Franklyn, Boutell (Brooke-Little) and Friar are particularly useful in