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[sur-vee-et] /ˌsɜr viˈɛt/
noun, Chiefly British.
a table napkin.
Origin of serviette
1480-90; < Middle French, equivalent to servi(r) to serve + -ette -ette; for the formation, cf. oubliette Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for serviette
Historical Examples
  • I carried it with a knife and fork and a serviette out on the verandah.

    'Twixt Land & Sea Joseph Conrad
  • He unfolded his serviette with fingers which shook all the time.

    Anna the Adventuress E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • "I'm repeating a well-beloved name," she smiled and rose, folding her serviette.

    The Angel of Terror Edgar Wallace
  • Shulgovich got up and placed his serviette on the arm of his chair.

    The Duel A. I. Kuprin
  • Place the pack face down on the table and cover it with a serviette.

  • You then lift up the side of the serviette nearest to you and at once produce the card.

  • He drew his serviette across his mouth, and a smile flickered in his eyes.

    The Wonderful Visit Herbert George Wells
  • Percival threw down his serviette and started up to meet her.

    Under False Pretences

    Adeline Sergeant
  • Then suddenly he jumped up, and slapped Smith on the back with a serviette.

    Dry Fish and Wet Anthon Bernhard Elias Nilsen
  • The doctor, serviette in hand, glanced up with an inquiry in his grey eyes.

British Dictionary definitions for serviette


(mainly Brit) a small square of cloth or paper used while eating to protect the clothes, wipe the mouth and hands, etc
Word Origin
C15: from Old French, from servir to serve; formed on the model of oubliette
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
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Word Origin and History for serviette

"table napkin," late 15c., from Middle French serviette "napkin, towel" (14c.), of uncertain origin, perhaps from past participle of servir "to serve" (see serve (v.)). Primarily Scottish at first; re-introduced from French 1818.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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