The word cravat dates back to the the 17th century in France. During the 30 years war (1618–1648) Croatian mercenaries came to France to show their support to King Louis XIII. The Croatian soldiers wore a scarf like piece of cloth to tie the top of their uniforms. Impressed with the brave fighting style the King adopted this first necktie, and named it in their honor: La Cravat, a name still used in France to this date.
In English the word cravat is often times used to describe a certain type of neck scarf that is quite similar to the ascot tie. It is loosely tied and wrapped around the neck, and then tugged inside of the collar.