Cordon bleu is a kind of meat and cheese dish, and Le Cordon Bleu is a network of French culinary schools. In French, the name means "blue ribbon", and it originally referred to an order of knighthood established in 1578 that went around wearing crosses hanging from blue ribands. Becoming a blue ribbon knight was the highest distinction in chivalry, so the term became associated with excellence in general, especially cooking. The word cordon is a diminutive of the Old French word for "cord", corde, which is also the source of our words cord and corduroy. Corde comes from Latin chorda, Greek khorde (this had more of a definition of "string"), and eventually Proto-Indo-European ghere, meaning "intestine". Bleu, meanwhile, is a close relative of our word blue, which goes back to Old French blo, Proto-Germanic blæwaz, and Proto-Indo-European bhel, meaning "shine".
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.