(pronounced pih-KAY or PEE-kay)
Different from the word pique (see SAY WHAT? for that definition), piqué derives from the French past participle of piquer, which means to prick or quilt. Just as this dual-personality word has two pronunciations, it also has two meanings related to the world of design. The less used definition describes the decoration of tortoise shell or an object made of ivory with a pattern of inlaid fragments of gold or silver (a practice that was popular in the 1700s and 1800s). The more common usage refers to a resilient, medium-to-heavy weight knit or tightly-woven, ribbed fabric composed of cotton, rayon, or silk. The outward side of the fabric tends to resemble a honeycomb, and the wrong side is flat and smooth. Keeping with the dual theme, piqué can also describe a weaving style of raised parallel cords, waffles or fine ribbing in the lengthwise direction.