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diaper

[dahy-per, dahy-uh-per]
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noun
  1. a piece of cloth or other absorbent material folded and worn as underpants by a baby not yet toilet-trained.
  2. Also called diaper cloth. a linen or cotton fabric with a woven pattern of small, constantly repeated figures, as diamonds.
  3. Also called diaper pattern. such a pattern, originally used in the Middle Ages in weaving silk and gold.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to put a diaper on.
  2. to ornament with a diaperlike pattern.
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Origin of diaper

1300–50; Middle English diapre < Anglo-French dia(s)p(r)e < Medieval Latin diasprus made of diaper < Medieval Greek díaspros pure white, equivalent to Greek di- di-3 + Medieval Greek áspros white
Related formsun·dia·pered, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for diaper

diaper

noun
  1. US and Canadian a piece of soft material, esp towelling or a disposable material, wrapped around a baby in order to absorb its excrementAlso called (in Britain and certain other countries): nappy
    1. a woven pattern on fabric consisting of a small repeating design, esp diamonds
    2. fabric having such a pattern
    3. such a pattern, used as decoration
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verb
  1. (tr) to decorate with such a pattern
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Word Origin

C14: from Old French diaspre, from Medieval Latin diasprus made of diaper, from Medieval Greek diaspros pure white, from dia- + aspros white, shining
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for diaper

n.

mid-14c., "fabric with a repeated pattern of figures," from Old French diaspre "ornamental cloth; flowered, patterned silk cloth," perhaps via Medieval Latin diasprum from Medieval Greek diaspros "thoroughly white," or perhaps "white interspersed with other colors," from dia- (see dia-) + aspros "white."

Aspros originally meant "rough," and was applied to the raised parts of coins (among other things), and thus was used in Byzantine Greek to mean "silver coin," from which the bright, shiny qualities made it an adjective for whiteness. Modern sense of "underpants for babies" is continuous since 1837, but such usage has been traced back to 1590s.

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v.

late 14c., "to put a small, repeated pattern on," from Old French diaprer, variant of diasprer, from diaspre (see diaper (n.)). Meaning "to put a diaper on" (a baby) is attested by 1951. Related: Diapered; diapering.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper