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What is this called in English ?

Can we say insignia?

Thank you.

P.S: There is a needle at the back of this thing in order to stick it to a shirt or a jacket.

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    It's called a badge (or sometimes a button). – Jascol Oct 26 '15 at 9:24
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    It's a lapel pin. "Insignia" applies in some cases. – Ricky Oct 26 '15 at 9:24
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    @keramus It's a button. – Elian Oct 26 '15 at 9:33
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    @Mari-LouA - "Button" is US. If it had a politician's name on it it would be a "campaign button". – Hot Licks Oct 26 '15 at 12:20
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    I think it's worth broaching the subject of brooches: items of jewellery which have similar fastenings and similar size, but which tend to be much more ornamental than the item shown. – JHCL Oct 26 '15 at 15:39
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I can only speak for American usage, but on this side of the pond, this type of item is distinctly a button. Aficionados may refer to them as pin buttons or pin-back buttons but in general, it is understood from context whether one's button refers to a fastener keeping your clothing fixed in place or to this item, which commonly advertises a slogan or affiliation.

This usage is a shortening of campaign button, which dating from the election of George Washington in 1789, originally referred to decorative fasteners which were sewn into clothing. The linked article dates this particular form of this type of button— a celluloid face attaching a paper print to a metal disc, with a clasped spring pin on the back— to the McKinley campaign of 1896, but there is a patent for the campaign button issued a few years earlier:

Diagram from U.S. patent 401094, for a campaign button

Of course, this technology has never limited to political campaigns. There is a certain stereotype of the activist or punk rocker festooned with buttons or driving a car exposing more bumper sticker than paint, slightly displaced by the phenomenon of the awareness ribbon. But the pin-back button is used broadly in commercial marketing, and elsewhere— as lampooned in the film Office Space, for instance.

It could be called a pin, though this term is very broad and vague, and in AmE wearing a pin without other context usually refers to a lapel pin, for example the flag pin that became de rigeur for politicians after the September 11 attacks. These are usually smaller and attached with a non-sprung clasp or a butterfly clasp. A badge commonly refers to an identifying token, especially for an official, as with the sheriff's badge. I would probably not use insignia; although technically correct, outside of the military, it may be understood to refer to the symbol or mark and not necessarily the physical piece.

  • Can (campaign) "buttons" be purely decorative as in the OP's example? – Mari-Lou A Oct 26 '15 at 15:49
  • UK (school) badges and pop art badges – Mari-Lou A Oct 26 '15 at 15:52
  • @Mari-LouA Yes, button describes the form— a metal disc with a clasped spring pin. It originated as a cheap token for political rallies, but as I noted, it can be used for anything now, not just as campaign buttons. I think most Americans would describe the "achievement badges" and "metal badges" on the page you linked generically as pins, being a badge only if they signify some particular award or achievement. My daughter earned the chemistry badge this quarter. It's a gold pin with an Erlenmeyer flask on it. – choster Oct 26 '15 at 15:57
  • I gather badge would be the British/international term. Over here, though, I get more than twice as many Google Image Search results for "pop art button" as for "pop art badge". – choster Oct 26 '15 at 16:00

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