Seal of the United States(redirected from Great Seal of the United States)
Also found in: Dictionary, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Seal of the United States
The official die or signet, which has a raised emblem and is used by federal officials on documents of importance.
The United States seal is sometimes officially known as the great seal. The Secretary of State has custody and charge of the official seal and makes out, records, and affixes the seal to all civil commissions for officers of the United States, who are appointed by the president alone, or by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate. In order for the seal to be affixed to any commission or other instrument, the president must sign or specially warrant the commission. When the seal is affixed to an appointment, such appointment is made and the commission is valid.
Each state also has an official seal, which is carefully described by law and serves functions on the state level of government that are similar to those of the seal of the United States on the federal level.
SEAL OF THE UNITED STATES, government. The seal used by the United States in congress assembled, shall be the seal of the United States, viz.: ARMS, pale-ways of thirteen pieces argent and gules; a chief azure; the escutcheon on the breast of the American eagle displayer proper, holding in his dexter talon, an olive branch, and in his sinister, a bundle of thirteen arrows, all proper, and in his beak a scroll, inscribed with this motto, "E pluribus unum." For the CREST: over the head of the eagle which appears above the escutcheon, a glory, or breaking through a cloud, proper, and surrounding thirteen stars, forming a constellation argent on an azure field. REVERSE, a pyramid unfinished. In the zenith an eye in a triangle, surrounded with a glory proper: over the eye, these words, "Annuit caeptis." On the base of the pyramid, the numerical letters, MDCCLXXVI; and underneath, the following motto, "Novus ordo seclorum." Resolution of Congress, June 20, 1782; Gordon's Dig. art. 207.