A carmagnole is a type of song and street dance popular during the French Revolution, and when I first looked up the word, I was pretty sure it would somehow be related to the Latin word carmen, meaning "song". However, I was very mistaken. The word comes from the title of a specific song, La Carmagnole, first sung by the revolutionary sans-culottes in August 1792. The name was a reference to a type of short jacket that was popular at the time among the lower classes. That comes from the name of an Italian town, Carmagnola, because it was associated with the Piedmontese peasants who brought over the fashion. I couldn't find any more details on the town's toponymy, but there is a well-known sculpture of Roman Emperor Justinian's head in Venice called Carmagnola because the artist was from the city and there's also a strain of industrial hemp from northern Italy called Carmagnola.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.