1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cordon

CORDON (a French derivative of corde, cord), a word used in many applications of its meaning of “line” or “cord,” and particularly of a cord of gold or silver lace worn in military and other uniforms. The word is especially used of the sash or ribbon worn by members of an order of knighthood, crossing from one shoulder to the opposite hip. The cordon bleu, the sky-blue ribbon of the knight’s grand cross of the order of the Holy Spirit, the highest order of the Bourbon kings of France, was, like the “blue ribbon” of the English Garter, taken as a type of the highest reward or prize to which any one can attain (see also Cookery). In heraldry, “cordons” are the ornamental cords which, with the hats to which they are attached, ensign the shields of arms of certain ecclesiastical dignitaries; they are interlaced to form a mesh or network and terminate in rows of tassels. A cardinal’s cordon is gules with five rows of fifteen tassels, an archbishop’s vert with four rows of ten, and a bishop’s also vert, with three rows of six. In architecture a “cordon” is a projecting band of stone along the outside of a building, a string-course. The word is frequently used in a transferred sense of a line of posts or stations to guard an enclosed area from unauthorized passage, e.g. a military or police cordon, and especially a sanitary cordon, a line of posts to prevent communication from or with an area infected with disease.