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Vexillology is the "scientific study of the history, symbolism and usage of flags or, by extension, any interest in flags in general". The word is a synthesis of the Latin word vexillum ("flag") and the Greek suffix -logia ("study"). It is formally defined by the constitution of the International Federation of Vexillological Associations (known by its French acronym FIAV) as "the creation and development of a body of knowledge about flags of all types, their forms and functions, and of scientific theories and principles based on that knowledge."
The term was conceived in 1957 by the U.S. scholar and vexillologist Whitney Smith and first appeared in print in 1959 (12). It was originally considered a sub-discipline of heraldry, and is still occasionally seen as such. A person who studies flags is a vexillologist. Vexillography is the art of designing flags; a person who designs flags is a vexillographer. A person who simply likes, admires, or enjoys flags is a vexillophile.
Since 1965, an International Congress of Vexillology (ICV) has been organized every two years under the auspices of FIAV. The 2013 ICV was in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Internet activity of vexillologists is centered on the Flags of the World website and mailing list.