Dictionary.com

pique

1
[ peek ]
/ pik /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: pique / piqued on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), piqued, piqu·ing.
verb (used without object), piqued, piqu·ing.
to arouse pique in someone: an action that piqued when it was meant to soothe.
noun
a feeling of irritation or resentment, as from a wound to pride or self-esteem: to be in a pique.
Obsolete. a state of irritated feeling between persons.
QUIZ
SPRINT TO THE FINISH WITH THIS OLYMPICS QUIZ!
Compete in our Olympics quiz to see if you can take home the gold medal in Olympics knowledge.
Question 1 of 10
Where was the Olympics first held?
Meet Grammar CoachWrite or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing
Meet Grammar CoachImprove Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help

Origin of pique

1
First recorded in 1525–35; from Middle French pique (noun), piquer (verb) from Vulgar Latin piccare (unattested) “to pick”; see pick1, pickax, pike2, piqué

OTHER WORDS FROM pique

un·piqued, adjective

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH pique

peak, peek, pique , piqué

Other definitions for pique (2 of 3)

pique2
[ peek ]
/ pik /

noun Piquet.

Other definitions for pique (3 of 3)

piqué
[ pi-key, pee-; French pee-key ]
/ pɪˈkeɪ, pi-; French piˈkeɪ /

noun, plural pi·qués [pi-keyz, pee-; French pee-key] /pɪˈkeɪz, pi-; French piˈkeɪ/ for 2.
a fabric of cotton, spun rayon, or silk, woven lengthwise with raised cords.
Ballet. a step in which the dancer steps onto the tip of the toe without bending the knee.
ornamentation by means of punched or stippled patterns, sometimes inlaid with metal, ivory, tortoise shell, etc.
adjective
(of glove seams and gloves) stitched through lapping edges.
decorated with inlay: a piqué box.
Also pi·que [pi-key, pee-;] /pɪˈkeɪ, pi-;/ .

Origin of piqué

1830–40; <French, past participle of piquer “to quilt, prick”; see pique1

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH piqué

peak, peek, pique, piqué
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

PIQUE VS. PEAK VS. PEEK

What's the difference between piquepeak, and peek?

The word pique is most commonly means to arouse or excite a particular feeling, as in Advertisements are designed to pique your interest. It can also be used as a verb meaning to irritate or as a noun referring to a feeling or irritation. The word peak refers to the top of a mountain or, more figuratively, to the highest point of something, as in the peak of my career. The word peek is most commonly used as a verb meaning to look at something quickly or sneakily and as a noun referring to such a look.

The confusion surrounding the three words—all three of which can be used as both a verb and a noun—is mainly due to the fact that they are all pronounced the same.

To remember what pique means (and how to spell it), remember that the things that pique your interest or curiosity are often unique.

​Since peek and peak are so close in spelling, one way to tell them apart is to remember that peek has two e’s, which kind of look like two little eyes peeking out between the p and the k. Another way to remember this is that peek has two e’s like look has two o’s.

Here’s an example of pique, peak, and peek used correctly in a sentence.

Example: The image of the strange mountain peak on the cover was meant to pique your curiosity, and it worked—you picked up the magazine to peek inside.

Want to learn more? Read the breakdown of the difference between piqued, peaked, and peeked.

Quiz yourself on pique vs. peak vs. peek!

Should pique, peak, or peek be used in the following sentence?

Insults like that tend to _____ him.

How to use pique in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for pique (1 of 3)

pique1
/ (piːk) /

noun
a feeling of resentment or irritation, as from having one's pride wounded
verb piques, piquing or piqued (tr)
to cause to feel resentment or irritation
to excite or arouse
(foll by on or upon) to pride or congratulate (oneself)

Word Origin for pique

C16: from French, from piquer to prick, sting; see pick 1

British Dictionary definitions for pique (2 of 3)

pique2
/ (piːk) piquet /

noun
a score of 30 points made by a player from a combination of cards held before play begins and from play while his opponent's score is nil
verb
to score a pique (against)

Word Origin for pique

C17: from French pic, of uncertain origin

British Dictionary definitions for pique (3 of 3)

piqué
/ (ˈpiːkeɪ) /

noun
a close-textured fabric of cotton, silk, or spun rayon woven with lengthwise ribs

Word Origin for piqué

C19: from French piqué pricked, from piquer to prick
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
FEEDBACK