1650s, from Fr. cravate, from Cravate "Croatian," from Ger. Krabate, from Serbo-Croat Hrvat "a Croat," from O.Slav. Churvatinu "Croat," lit. "mountaineer, highlander," from churva "mountain" (cf. Rus. khrebet "mountain chain"). Cravats came into fashion 1650s in imitation of linen scarves worn by Croatian mercenaries in the French army in the Thirty Years War.