An ornamental braided cord usually looped around the left shoulder of a uniform, sometimes awarded to an entire military unit.
[French (term probably introduced by Napoleon I, the first to award the decoration to French units), from fourragère, feminine of fourrager, of or relating to forage (probably as in corde fourragère, alternate term for corde à fourrage, forage rope, a length of rope for trussing bundles of hay forming part of the kit of cavalry, traditionally carried by Austrian dragoons around their shoulders and later developing into an ornament from their practice) : fourrage, forage (from Old French forrage) ; see FORAGE + -ier, adjectival suffix.]
(click for a larger image)fourragère
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.