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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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for serviette

cloth, towel, wipe, doily, serviette

Examples from the Web for serviette

Historical Examples of serviette

  • I carried it with a knife and fork and a serviette out on the verandah.

  • 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.

British Dictionary definitions for serviette


  1. mainly British a small square of cloth or paper used while eating to protect the clothes, wipe the mouth and hands, etc

Word Origin for serviette

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

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