Put on your tuque

Olympics tuque.

One of the songs I heard last night at a gig featuring Gordie Tentrees and Jaxon Haldane included the line “put on your tuque”.

This puzzled me as I didn’t know what a tuque was. From the context it seems to be some kind of clothing, and I guessed it might be a hat, but wasn’t sure, so thought I’d find out.

According to the Free Dictionary, tuque is a Canadian French word for “a close-fitting knitted or crocheted cap having no brim or a brim that is folded up to create an extra layer of fabric for warmth. Also called toque.”

It comes from the French toque, which is “any of several styles of small, close-fitting hats having no brim or a very short brim”. Which comes from the Spanish toca (cornet, wimple, headress, toque, bonnet), from the Iberian Vulgar Latin *tauca, and is probably of pre-Roman Iberian origin.

What do you call this kind of hat?

You can see and hear Gordie Tentrees and Jaxon Haldane here:

11 thoughts on “Put on your tuque

  1. As a Canadian I know exactly what us meant by a touque. They remind me of all the photos from my mother’s adolescence in the 1920’s of the cloche hats all the women wore.

  2. Seems to me I have seen this spelled as tuke. *Maybe* in the US it’s called “beanie” but I think most people would just call it a “knit hat” or a “cap” and not use any special word for it.

  3. Canadians, I believe, say “tuque” even when using the “toque” spelling. “Beanie” is common enough in the U.S. to get its own Wikipedia page

  4. We called them “toboggans” in North Carolina in the 80s and 90s. Since then, I’ve lived elsewhere (mostly the Mid-Atlantic) & usually called them/heard them called “wool hats”, whether they’re actually made of wool or not.

  5. I lived in Wellesley, Massachusetts from 1967 to 1970. Toque (pronounced “tuque”) was the word that everyone there used for a woolen ski cap.

  6. Growing up in Southern California (in the 70s) people rarely wore them but as a fan of the above-mentioned Bob and Doug MacKenzie I knew the word “toque” and thought of it primarily Canadian. But I’ve also heard and used the phrase “watch cap” for a tight-fitting, roughly woven hat like that.

    I’ll add that I think of a toque as being generally longer/taller than the one in your image. Look at Bob MacKenzie’s hat in the Wikipedia page, and also compare with the other common(?) use of the term in English where a “chef’s toque” refers to the tall starched white hat you see in all the movies that take place in a restaurant.

  7. UK- I call it (prosaically) “wooly hat”; “beany” is also used among the young. Those that have a pompom are called “bobble hats”.

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