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Parts of the Flag

Understanding the Parts of a Flag

Do you know the different parts of a flag? Whether it’s the American flag or a state flag, most flags feature a few common parts. But not everyone is familiar with these parts. For a better understanding of the parts of a flag, keep reading.

Fly End

The fly end refers to the outermost end of a flag. It’s known as the “fly end” because it flies in the wind. On the embroidered American flag, the fly end consists of the edge with the red-and-white horizontal stripes.

The Hoist End

The hoist end is the innermost end of a flag. Opposite of the fly end, it’s the part of a flag that’s adjacent to the flagpole. Like most flags, the American flag has a fly end and a hoist end. The fly end is the edge with the red-and-white horizontal stripes, whereas the hoist end is the edge with the stars at the top and a few lines of red-and-white horizontal stripes at the bottom.


The canton is an important part of most flags. In vexillography, it refers to a rectangular section in the corner of a flag that contains a specific design. The canton is found on the hoist end. On the American flag, the canton houses the 50 stars, with each star representing one of the country’s 50 states. Other flags feature a canton as well, but their respective design may vary.


The field is essentially the background of a flag. it may be limited to the canton, or it may encompass other parts of the flag. The American flag, for instance, has a field that’s limited to the canton. The American flag’s canton is blue. In the canton located in the upper-left corner of the American flag, there are 50 stars against a blue background. This blue background is the field.


Some flags come with a sleeve. You can find these U.S. flags with a sleeve available for sale here. A sleeve is a narrow and hollow passage that runs vertically along the hoist end. It’s used to support a flagpole. If you plan on displaying a flag on a flagpole, you’ll typically need to use the sleeve. You can slide the flagpole through the flag’s sleeve.


When shopping for a flag, you may discover that some of them feature grommets. Grommets are rings that are designed to protect the adjacent material from wear and tear. With grommets, flags are less likely to sustain damage.

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