complicated two-person game played with a 32-card pack, 1640s, from French piquet, picquet (16c.), a name of uncertain origin, as are many card-game names, and it comes trailing the usual cloud of fanciful and absurd speculations. Perhaps it is a diminutive of pic "pick, pickaxe, pique," from the suit of spades, or from the phrase faire pic, a term said to be used in the game. In the game, a pique was a winning of 30 points before one's opponent scored at all in the same hand. But its earlier name in French (16c.) was Cent, from its target score of 100 points. The classic aristocratic two-handed game, and the unofficial national card game of France, it faded after World War I in the face of simpler, more democratic games. Compare kaput.
updated on June 21, 2020