ACCOLADE (from Ital. accolata, derived from Lat. collum, the neck), a ceremony anciently used in conferring knighthood; but whether it was an actual embrace (according to the use of the modern French word accolade), or a slight blow on the neck or cheek, is not agreed. Both these customs appear to be of great antiquity. Gregory of Tours writes that the early kings of France, in conferring the gilt shoulder-belt, kissed the knights on the left cheek; and William the Conqueror is said to have made use of the blow in conferring the honour of knighthood on his son Henry. At first it was given with the naked fist, a veritable box on the ear, but for this was substituted a gentle stroke with the flat of the sword on the side of the neck, or on either shoulder as well. In Great Britain the sovereign, in conferring knighthood, still employs this latter form of accolade.
"Accolade" is also a technical term in music-printing for a sort of brace joining separate staves; and in architecture it denotes a form of decoration on doors and windows.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)