once-popular American game played with a double 24-card pack, originally German, also pinocle, etc., 1864, Peaknuckle, of obscure origin (as are the names of many card games), evidently from Swiss dialect Binokel (German), binocle (French), from French binocle "pince-nez" (17c.), from Medieval Latin binoculus "binoculars" (see binocular).
Binokel was the name of a card game played in Württemberg, related to the older card game bezique and the name is perhaps from French bésigue "bezique," the card game, wrongly identified with besicles "spectacles," perhaps because the game is played with a double deck. Pinochle was popularized in U.S. late 1800s by German immigrants.
updated on June 17, 2020