AIGRETTE (from the Fr. for egret, or lesser white heron), the tufted crest, or head-plumes of the egret, used for adorning a woman's head-dress, the term being also given to any similar ornament, in gems, etc. An aigrette is also worn by certain ranks of officers in the French army. By analogy the word is used in various sciences for feathery excrescences of like appearance, as for the tufts on the heads of insects, the feathery down of the dandelion, the luminous rays at the end of electrified bodies, or the luminous rays seen in solar eclipses, diverging from the moon's edge.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)