One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A square piece of cloth or paper used at a meal to wipe the fingers or lips and to protect garments, or to serve food on.
- ‘Nelson tossed his napkin on his plate, and, rising, strode toward the door.’
- ‘Everything from broths to cream soups will make your dull meal look like it deserves cloth napkins.’
- ‘Frankie grabbed a napkin from the silver holder and pulled a pen out of his pocket.’
- ‘A lotus blossom adorns the table and white linen napkins are folded and waiting.’
- ‘He finished his burger and grabbed a napkin from the dispenser in the middle of the table.’
- ‘I put the linen napkin on my lap to show I am not poorly mannered and uncivil.’
- ‘She was fiddling with her table napkin nervously.’
- ‘It belongs in the position of a table napkin, beside a plate.’
- ‘He took a cocktail napkin and wrote on it.’
- ‘He scoffed and studied the origami napkin in front of him.’
- ‘Sam took a paper napkin from the chromium dispenser, crunched it into a ball and handed it to her.’
- ‘Then he wiped his hands and mouth, throwing the used napkin on his empty plate.’
- ‘Mike got out a pen from his pocket and drew four columns on a table napkin.’
- ‘In the last year or so a number of people have pointed out this truly disgusting trend, that an increasing number of men are using their table napkin to blow their nose.’
- ‘Dutifully, I grab a couple napkins from the dispenser next to me and pass them to my right.’
- ‘The museum's eclectic collection spans 400 years and includes rare pieces like a 1565 Elizabethan table napkin.’
- ‘Tears poured down my face and I blew my nose in a crumpled napkin I had in my bag.’
- ‘She walked to him as he unfolded a white cloth napkin and smiled.’
- ‘My fingers fidgeted with the white, cloth napkin in my lap.’
- ‘The white linen thing at your place is called a napkin (not a serviette; a serviette is a paper napkin with Christmas trees printed on it).’
- ‘Jeff exclaimed as he threw his cloth napkin onto the table with a grin.’
2British dated A baby's diaper.
3North Americanshort for sanitary napkin
- ‘Compounds very much like it are also used in disposable diapers and sanitary napkins.’
Late Middle English: from Old French nappe ‘tablecloth’ (from Latin mappa: see map)+ -kin.
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