You Say ToMAYto, I Say ToMAHto…

This post is the responsibility of a former student and dedicated reader of this blog. Árpád sent me an e-mail yesterday after reading the post on the rosette. 

He wrote (edited):

“What caught my attention was your usage of rosette for what we call kokárda in Hungarian. I am wearing one right now…but this one object, the kokárda, is special and dear to most of us. Therefore, I really want to know what it is called in English, which is similarly dear… to my heart. I had been under the assumption that cockade was the correct term, but you did not use it once. In your post, you kept referring to it as a rosette, which made me wonder whether the term I had known was incorrect. I have looked up both cockade and rosette, but the definitions I found were too vague. Luckily, you know the object I am talking about, so please help me decide whether cockade or rosette describes Hungarian kokárda better.”

This made me wonder. I had never heard of cockade, but it did send my thoughts wandering. This is what transpired after his question. I used Google images for both words and the results were almost identical. However, this did not answer the question and left me curious. I had wondered if my education had purposefully denied me knowledge of the term cockade, at least referencing this in this manner.

Last night I asked Ron if he had ever heard of a cockade. He hadn’t. I told him about the question and he reminded me of something that happened on Friday. We were out shopping with an American Fulbright professor, Andi Mitnick, who is teaching at a Budapest university for the semester. We stopped in a little shop where the woman makes all that is sold in the store. She also has the Hungarian rosettes. Andi, who had no idea of the association with the holiday, pointed to them and said “Oh, look! Hungarian rosettes.” The woman said the name in Hungarian and her husband said in English “No, they are cockades.” None of us thought to question the English difference.

Today I found this reference at the site here: “A cockade isn’t a term we often hear in the 21st century, but my research shows that they’ve been popular since the mid 1500’s.” 

Merriam Webster defines cockade as
– an ornament (as a rosette) usually worn on a hat as a badge
Origin of cockade: modification of French cocarde, from feminine of cocard vain, from coq cock, from Old French coc, of imitative origin. First Known Use: 1709

The dictionary’s definition for a rosette is here.

However, it was the Britannica that was additionally helpful. See the reference here.

cockade, French cocarde ,  a bow or knot of ribbons worn in the hat.
-Though originally ornamental, cockades soon came to be used to broadcast identification with such various organizations as a political party, a military unit, or a household (in the form of livery). -During the French Revolution the partisans of the new order wore a blue, white, and red cockade adopted from the colours of the royal family and the city of Paris. Later, French émigrés fighting against the Revolution assumed white, orange, or black and yellow cockades, depending upon the nationality of the army in which they were serving.
-In the armed forces, cockades went out of use when the army and navy ceased wearing cocked hats. A leather cockade, however, survived in the headgear of many liveried coachmen and chauffeurs.

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