Word Confusion: Pique vs Piqué vs Piquet

Posted May 5, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Exploring pique, piqué, and piquet is primarily one of space. In that the post on “Peak vs Peek vs Peke vs Pique” was already four columns wide. Adding a fifth for piqué seemed like overkill…and then I ran across piquet. And that settled that.

I learned something myself. I had no idea that picket was an alternative spelling for piquet or as picquet. I’ve only ever seen picket used in military stories while piquet was a card game from the historical romances I like to read.

Ya learn somethin’ new ever’day…so I guess I can kick back for the rest of today…

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.

Pique Piqué Piquet
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: pique, picquet

Picture of Ayo H. Kimathi 22 June 2009

Image is Kalydosos’ own work [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Hmmm, he does look piqued.

Quilted petticoat of Indian cotton of the eighteenth century in Marseille History Museum.

Image is Rvalette’s own work [CC BY-SA 4.0], via via Wikimedia Commons

This piqué petticoat would be cozy in winter.

The Army of the Potomac - A sharp-shooter on picket duty

Image by Winslow Homer is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

A sharpshooter on piquet duty.

Part of Grammar:
Noun 1;
Verb, intransitive & transitive 1, 2

Third person present verb: piques
Past tense or past participle: piqued
Gerund or present participle: piquing

Plural for noun: piqués
Alternative spelling: pique
Alternate spelling: picquet, picket 3
A feeling of irritation or resentment resulting from a slight to one’s pride 1

[Piquet] Scoring of 30 points on declarations and play before one’s opponent scores anything 2

Verb, intransitive:
To arouse pique in someone

Verb, transitive:
To affect with sharp irritation and resentment, especially by some wound to pride

To wound (the pride, vanity, etc.)

To excite (interest, curiosity, etc.)

To arouse an emotion or provoke to action

[Archaic] To pride (oneself) (usually followed by on or upon)

[Piquet] Score a pique against one’s opponent 2

[Of glove seams and gloves] Stitched through lapping edges.

Decorated with inlay

Stiff fabric, typically cotton, woven in a strongly ribbed or raised pattern

[Ballet] A step in which the dancer steps onto the tip of the toe without bending the knee

Ornamentation by means of punched or stippled patterns, sometimes inlaid with metal, ivory, tortoise shell, etc.

A trick-taking card game for two players, using a 32-card deck consisting of cards from the seven to the ace

A soldier or party of soldiers performing a particular duty 3

He left in a fit of pique.

Lord Melbourne scored a pique against me.

In piquet, a player can only score either repique or pique, but not both.

Verb, intransitive:
It was an action that piqued when it was meant to soothe.

Verb, transitive:
She was greatly piqued when they refused her invitation.

Her curiosity was piqued by the gossip.

You have piqued my curiosity about the book.

Gads, I’ve been piqued!

She presented it to me in a a piqué box.

“Work any Berlin wool work pattern in the common cross stitch over the ribs of the piqué.” – Isabella Beeton, Beeton’s Book of Needlework

There are several moves referred to as piqué: battement piqué, piqué arabesque, and piqué turn (a.k.a., tour piqué).

In fast piqué turns, petit retiré may be executed instead.

A picquet of soldiers fired a volley over the coffin.

Set up piquets around the camp with men sent to relieve them every four hours.

The first reference to piquet as a card game was in 1535 in Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel.

Piquet became extremely popular in the 18th century.

Adjective: unpiqued
Noun: repique
History of the Word:
1 Mid-16th century from the French piquer meaning prick, irritate and denoting animosity between two or more people.

2 Mid-17th century from the French pic, which is from the Old French sense, stabbing blow, which is of unknown ultimate origin.

1830-40 from the French, literally meaning backstitched, to quilt, or prick; a past participle of piquer. A card game from the 1640s from the French piquet or picquet is of uncertain origin, and is perhaps a diminutive of pic meaning pick, pickaxe, or pique, from the phrase faire pic, a term said to be used in the game.

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C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?