Panache is a rather delightful word meaning "flamboyant confidence". That definition is derived from an earlier, archaic term for the plume of feathers on top of helmets and headdresses. Because of the pompous nature of the tufts, the modern connotation emerged. The word comes from Middle French pennache, which is from Italian pennaccio and Latin pinnaculum, meaning "peak" (also the root of pinnacle), since panaches were on the peaks of helmets. Pinnaculum is a diminutive of pinna (still "peak", and the etymon of pinion, pin, and fin), which ultimately derives from either the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction pihn, meaning "fin", or pet, meaning "fly". Usage of the word panache in literature over time peaked in 1999 and has been declining since.
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.