1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cockade

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COCKADE (Fr. cocarde, in 16th century coquarde, from coq, in allusion probably to the cock’s comb), a knot of ribbons or a rosette worn as a badge, particularly now as part of the livery of servants. The cockade was at first the button and loop or clasp which “cocked” up the side of an ordinary slouch hat. The word first appears in this sense in Rabelais in the phrase “bonnet à la coquarde,” which is explained by Cotgrave (1611) as a “Spanish cap or fashion of bonnet used by substantial men of yore . . . worne proudly or peartly on th’ one side.” The bunch of ribbons as a party badge developed from this entirely utilitarian button and loop. The Stuarts’ badge was a white rose, and the resulting white cockade figured in Jacobite songs after the downfall of the dynasty. William III.’s cockade was of yellow, and the House of Hanover introduced theirs of black, which in its present spiked or circular form of leather is worn in England to-day by the royal coachmen and grooms, and the servants of all officials or members of the services. At the battle of Sheriffmuir in the reign of George I. the English soldiers wore a black rosette in their hats, and in a contemporary song are called “the red-coat lads wi’ black cockades.” At the outbreak of the French Revolution of 1789, cockades of green ribbon were adopted. These afterwards gave place to the tricolour cockade, which is said to have been a mixture of the traditional colours of Paris (red and blue) with the white of the Bourbons, the early Revolutionists being still Royalists. The French army wore the tricolour cockade until the Restoration. To-day each foreign nation has its special coloured cockade. Thus the Austrian is black and yellow, the Bavarian light blue and white, the Belgian black, yellow and red, French the tricolour, Prussian black and white, Russian green and white, and so on, following usually the national colours. Originally the wearing of a cockade, as soon as it had developed into a badge, was restricted to soldiers, as “to mount a cockade” was “to become a soldier.” There is still a trace of the cockade as a badge in certain military headgears in England and elsewhere. Otherwise it has become entirely the mark of domestic service. The military cocked hat, the lineal descendant of the bonnet à la coquarde, became the fashion in France during the reign of Louis XV.

See Genealogical Magazine, vols. i.-iii. (London, 1897–1899); Racinet, La Costume historique (6 vols., Paris, 1888).