It happens almost on a daily basis. A customer calls with a question about a polo shirt they want to use for their embroidered logo. Invariably the shirt has the word “pique” in it and they stumble trying to pronounce it.
That is really easy to understand. It’s one of those words that have no obvious pronunciation. When I first started in the business I didn’t know how to pronounce it correctly either.
It seems like a small thing, but being able to pronounce a particular word properly is a basic part of having a conversation with someone. It makes communication between two people easier and improves the chances that both parties completely understand each other.
We have heard a lot of different attempts from people who try and pronounce it. Most often the attempts center around two variations, they are “peak” and “pick”.
Webster’s dictionary lists the pronunciation as “\pi-ˈkā, ˈpē-\”. As in “pi-kay” or “pee-kay”.
Pique refers to a weaving style, normally used with cotton yarn, which is characterized by raised parallel cords or fine ribbing. It creates a fine textured surface that appears similar to a waffle weave. Commonly used for polo shirts.
This is a detailed picture of a pique knit weave. You can see the parallel cords and who it give the weave a 3 dimensional quality.
A vast majority of golf or polo shirts sold on the market today feature a pique weave. It has proven very popular in style and durability for decades.
Over the years the logo embroidered golf polo shirt has become a favorite giveaway in many corporate events, and is a fashion style that can be worn with jeans, shorts and slacks.
So now you can dazzle your friends with a Cliff Clavin moment the next time you get into a conversation with them about pique knit polo shirts.