Perhaps a calque translation of Middle French cordon bleu (“blue ribbon”) worn by knights of the highest order of chivalry or after Blue Riband, a sailing award.
blue ribbon (plural blue ribbons)
- The highest honor or prize awarded in some competitions and contests.
- Mom's strawberry jam won the blue ribbon at the Holland County Fair three years running.
- These [scholarships] were the blue ribbon of the college.
- A badge worn or displayed to advocate freedom from online censorship.
- The icon of the blue ribbon on her site should not be taken to mean she opposes parental filtration programs.
blue ribbon (not comparable)
- Very superior in quality, style, or substance.
- The governor selected a cadre of blue ribbon social scientists to serve on her poverty task force.