Learn more about Toque
- For the rhythm associated with a specific orisha in the Santería religion, see toque (rhythm).
- For the knitted Canadian hat /tuk/ see tuque.
 EtymologyThe word has been known in English since 1505. It derives from the Medieval French toque (15th century), presumably from the old Spanish toca "woman's headdress", possibly from Arabic *taqa, from Old Persian taq "veil", "shawl".
 Culinary use
A toque blanche (French for "white hat"), often shortened to toque, is a tall, round, pleated, starched white hat worn by chefs. The many folds on a toque blanche are believed to signify the many ways that an egg can be cooked. Many toques have exactly 100 pleats.
The toque most likely originated as the result of the gradual evolution of head coverings worn by cooks throughout the centuries. Their roots are sometimes traced to the casque a meche (stocking cap) worn by 18th-century French chefs. The colour of the casque a meche denoted the rank of the wearer. Boucher, the personal chef of the French statesman Talleyrand, was the first to insist on white toques for sanitary reasons. The modern toque is popularily believed to have originated with the famous French chefs Marie-Antoine Carême and Auguste Escoffier.
- A toque was the traditional headgear of various French magistrates.
- A low type in black velvet, called mortier (also rendered in English as mortar board), was used by the président à mortier, president of a parlement (the royal highest court in a French province), and of the members of two of the highest central courts, cour de cassation and cour des comptes.
The pleated, low, round hat worn in French universities—the equivalent of the mortarboard or tam at British and American universities—is also called a toque.
In the Napoleonic era, the French first empire replaced the coronets of traditional ('royal') heraldry with a rigorously standardized system (as other respects of 'Napoleonic' coats of arms) of toques, reflecting the rank of the bearer. Thus a Napoleonic Duke used a toque with 7 ostrich feathers and 3 lanbrequins, a Count a toque with 5 feathers and 2 lambrequins, a Baron 3 feathers and one lambrequin, a knight only one ostrich feather.
There is also an unproven theory that the design of the papal tiara would have been based on a toque.
 Canadian variant
In Canada, "toque" may also be a misspelling of tuque (IPA: [tuk]), a knit woollen winter hat, originally worn by French-Canadians but now a staple of the Canadian winter wardrobe. This "fashion" originated when coureurs des bois kept their woollen nightcaps on for warmth during cold winter days. The Canadian Oxford Dictionary regards the use of toque for this hat to be assimilated from the etymologically unrelated French word tuque.
 Sources and references
- Katherine Barber, editor (2004). The Canadian Oxford Dictionary, second edition. Toronto, Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-541816-6. — "Toque" is a main headword, "tuque" considered a variant spelling.
- Heraldry.org Napoleonic heraldry