The contemporary definition of “slogan” denotes a distinctive advertising motto or advertising phrase used by any entity to convey a purpose or ideal. However, the origin of the word long predates modern marketing and advertising strategies.

The word “slogan” dates from 1513. It is a variant of the earlier “slogorn”, which was an anglicisation of the Scottish Gaelic “sluagh-ghairm” (“sluagh” meaning ‘army’ or ‘host’ and “gairm” meaning ‘cry' or ‘shout’) i.e. a Scottish Highland war cry.

Slogans are used in heraldry, most notably in Scottish heraldry where they are used as mottoes, or secondary mottoes. Slogans usually appear above the crest on a coat of arms, though sometimes they appear as a secondary motto beneath the shield. An example of this is that members of the Clan MacDougall use the slogan “buaidh no bas” on their crest. This translates from Scottish Gaelic as "to conquer or die", or "victory or death".

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