Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A piece of cloth or absorbent paper used at table to protect the clothes or wipe the lips and fingers.
  • noun A cloth or towel.
  • noun A sanitary napkin.
  • noun Chiefly British A diaper.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A handkerchief; a kerchief of any kind.
  • noun A small square piece of linen cloth, now usually damask, used at table to wipe the lips and hands and to protect the clothes.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A little towel, made of cloth or paper, esp. one for wiping the fingers and mouth at table.
  • noun obsolete A handkerchief.
  • noun See Linen scroll, under Linen. -- Napkin ring, a ring of metal, ivory, or other material, used to inclose a table napkin.
  • noun a napkin made of paper, intended to be disposed of after use.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A serviette; a (usually rectangular) piece of cloth or paper used at the table for wiping the mouth and hands for cleanliness while eating.
  • noun UK, obsolete A nappy (UK), a diaper (American).
  • noun A small scarf worn on the head by Christian woman when entering a Roman Catholic church, as a token of modesty.
  • noun A sanitary napkin.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun garment consisting of a folded cloth drawn up between the legs and fastened at the waist; worn by infants to catch excrement
  • noun a small piece of table linen that is used to wipe the mouth and to cover the lap in order to protect clothing

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English : Old French nape, nappe, tablecloth; see nappe + -kin, -kin.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English napkyn, equivalent to nape (“cloth”) +‎ -kin.

Examples

  • I know what you call a napkin is what we call a diaper.

    Britpick Question

  • What we call a napkin is like a specially folded paper towel they give out in restaurants that don't have linens.

    Britpick Question

  • He has a piece of cloth which he calls a napkin, with which he wipes from his lips, and from the hair on his lips, the greasy juices of the meat.

    Revolution, and Other Essays

  • He has a piece of cloth which he calls a napkin, with which he wipes from his lips, and from the hair on his lips, the greasy juices of the meat.

    The Somnambulists

  • "Raise that praise napkin" is never going to stop being utterly hilariously funny.

    praise.

  • The background is a paper napkin from a pack I bought in Sainsbury's (but they are much too nice to be used as napkins), I then quilted it a bit, added a few feathers, and a load of sequins.

    Teacher cards & other bits

  • I took an extra napkin from a Taco Bell for unspecified use “later.”

    Boing Boing

  • So using a roadmap as a napkin, is a MAPKIN. on 06 Sep 2007 at 12: 18 pm anne nahm

    Writer Unboxed » Blog Archive » Writer Unboxed’s CONTEST, CONTEST!

  • It's more like the "i need to grab that napkin from the footpath", or "even though that's a lady's pair of shoes resting at the bus stop, i'd better just grab them in case", or "there probably isn't even a whole drag left in that cigarette butt stuck between the cracks on the pavement, but i'll give it a shot because i'm hanging out."

    Archive 2003-11-01

  • It's more like the "i need to grab that napkin from the footpath", or "even though that's a lady's pair of shoes resting at the bus stop, i'd better just grab them in case", or "there probably isn't even a whole drag left in that cigarette butt stuck between the cracks on the pavement, but i'll give it a shot because i'm hanging out."

    Found objects.

Comments

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