Sullivan family crest and coat of arms

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Meaning of the Sullivan family crest symbols

Lion (standing)

The lion symbol represents the ferocious nature of family members, their bravery and valor. It is one of the oldest symbols in heraldry and is considered to be one of the most desirable to have on a coat of arms.

Weapon - Sword

The sword is a symbol of courage and strength, and signifies the importance of upholding the family's honor through honorable actions. It is also a symbol of the sacrifices made by those who have served in the military.

Animal - Snake

The snake, or serpent was it is known, is a powerful symbol of wisdom, and its presence in a family can be seen as a reminder of the collective wisdom that has been passed down through generations.

Animal - Stag

The stag symbolizes how family members were widely considered to be people of a peaceful and harmonious nature. It was a sign of great strength but also signified those who will not fight unless aggressively provoked.

Animal - Bull

The bull is a powerful symbol of strength and courage, but also of the generous and loving nature of family members. It is a reminder of the importance of loyalty and protection within a family unit.

Meaning of the Sullivan coat of arms colors


The red color (known as Gules) traditionally symbolized martyrdom and the historic military strength of family members when called upon in times of war.


The gold color (known as Or) represented the noble standing of a family and also stood as a symbol of generosity and those with a giving nature.


The green color (known as Vert) symbolized family member’s loyalty in love and their collective hopes for the future prosperity of the wider family.


The black color (known as Sable) symbolizes constancy and the enduring nature of the family. It is a symbol of family longevity through time.

Sullivan name meaning and origin

Sullivan is of Irish origin, meaning "descendant of Súilleabhán," which translates to "dark-eyed" or "black-eyed."

History of family crests like the Sullivan coat of arms

Family crests and coats of arms emerged during the Middle Ages, mostly in wider Europe. They were used as a way to identify knights and nobles on the battlefield and in tournaments. The designs were unique to each family and were passed down from generation to generation.

The earliest crests were simple designs, such as a single animal or symbol, but they became more elaborate over time. Coats of arms were also developed, which included a shield with the family crest, as well as other symbols and colors that represented the family's history and achievements.

The use of family crests and coats of arms spread throughout Europe and became a symbol of social status and identity. They were often displayed on clothing, armor, and flags, and were used to mark the family's property and possessions.

Today, family crests and coats of arms are still used as a way to honor and celebrate family heritage.

Sullivan name variations and their meaning

The family name Sullivan has several variations that have emerged over time. Some of the most common variations include Sullivant, Sulliven, Sullavin, and O'Sullivan. These variations are often the result of different spellings or pronunciations of the name in different regions or dialects. For example, the prefix "O" in O'Sullivan is a common feature of Irish surnames, indicating a family's descent from a particular ancestor. The name Sullivant, on the other hand, is more commonly found in the United States and is often associated with the early settlers of the American West. Despite these variations, the name Sullivan remains a popular and recognizable surname in many parts of the world. Whether spelled with an "i" or an "e," or with or without the prefix "O," the name Sullivan is a testament to the enduring legacy of this proud and distinguished family.

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