napkin

[ nap-kin ]
/ ˈnæp kɪn /

noun

a small piece of cloth or paper, usually square, for use in wiping the lips and fingers and to protect the clothes while eating.
Chiefly British. a diaper.
Scot. and North England. a handkerchief.
Scot. a kerchief or neckerchief.

QUIZZES

DISCOVER THE INFLUENCE OF PORTUGUESE ON ENGLISH VIA THIS QUIZ!

We’ve gathered some interesting words donated to English from Portuguese … as well as some that just don’t translate at all. Do you know what they mean?
Question 1 of 11
Which of the following animal names traces its immediate origin to Portuguese?

Origin of napkin

1350–1400; Middle English, equivalent to nape tablecloth (<Middle French nappe<Latin mappa napkin) + -kin; cf. map
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for napkin

British Dictionary definitions for napkin

napkin
/ (ˈnæpkɪn) /

noun

Also called: table napkin a usually square piece of cloth or paper used while eating to protect the clothes, wipe the mouth, etc; serviette
rare a similar piece of cloth used for example as a handkerchief or headscarf
a more formal name for nappy 1
a less common term for sanitary towel

Word Origin for napkin

C15: from Old French, from nape tablecloth, from Latin mappa small cloth, towel; see map
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