The 'spike' on a beret

Discussion in 'English Only' started by maxiogee, Jan 16, 2007.

  1. maxiogee Banned

    Does anyone know if there is a name for the little spike of material which sticks up in the centre of many styles of beret?

    I sat behind yet another beret wearer this morning and as I stared at the little spike


    I began to need to know about it. Has it a name? Why is it there? Why is it on the outside affecting the graceful curve of the crown of the beret?

    Things like this occupy my mind at times and b ug me until I find out.

    I realise that there might be a French word which has crept into the English language. To keep the Eng Only intactness of the forum any French words could be PM'd
  2. ewhite

    ewhite Senior Member

    I do not know its name, but as a knitter of berets, I do know that the ancestor of that little thingy on the top of a felt beret is the last bit of wool on its knitted ancestor, carefully drawn through the last few stitches to bind them off, and left as is to point jauntily at the sky.

    I cite as my source for this assertion, Elizabeth Zimmerman, the godmother of American knitters.
  3. Hotmale

    Hotmale Senior Member

    Hi Maxiogee,
    I am sure it is not that, but sometimes a hat or a beret has a pompom used as a decoration.
    Or maybe a tassel, or nub?

    With best wishes,
  4. Kelly B

    Kelly B Senior Member

    USA English
    Some have pompoms or tassels, but I don't think that's the case for most of them. In a previous French-English thread the equivalent of tail was suggested (queue - it's an English word too), and some websites call it the French word for nipple (actually, I've seen that in English knitting sites too, now that I think of it).
  5. Ecossaise Senior Member

    Fascinating - never occurred to me to think about it before. Even the French makers' sites don't give it a name. I presume that it was the little piece of yarn left when finishing off the knitting in the original berets. So "filet"? Gosh, you have had people running around!
  6. MissFit

    MissFit Senior Member

    I've always called it a stem, but I just came up with that appellation myself. I thought it looked like the stem on an apple.
  7. river Senior Member

    U.S. English
    I didn't look very long, but what I found confirms Ms. Fit's "stem."

    The more common of the two beret-like hats is the notorious painter's hat worn by (stereotypical) French painters, and beatniks. They differ from military berets in three ways: they are brighter colored, are floppier and more "deflated", and they have an annoying little stem on them.
  8. maxiogee Banned

    I think that is just a personal choice and not necessarily the 'correct' term. From a Google for beret +stem I got 12,500 hits - but the word 'stem' didn't refer in the early pages to the part of the beret.

    My overall feeling of the answers so far is that we have our own way of thinking of this thing, but don't know if it is the 'trade term', as it were.

    The notion that it is a piece left over seems at variance with the way a beret seems to be made - I don't see the need for there to be a piece left over. I'll settle on queue for the moment, but I'll keep hunting :).

    Thanks anyway.

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