A napkin is a piece of cloth used for wiping your mouth while you're eating or drinking. Your grandmother might insist that everyone put their napkins in their laps before dinner is served.

You can use the word napkin for a fancy linen cloth or a cheap paper one, although in many English-speaking countries it's instead called a "serviette." Napkins have been around since ancient Rome, while some stories have the ancient Greeks using pieces of bread as napkins. The invention of paper napkins dates back to China in the second century BCE. Napkin comes from the now-obsolete nape, "tablecloth."

Definitions of napkin
  1. noun
    a small piece of table linen that is used to wipe the mouth and to cover the lap in order to protect clothing
    synonyms: serviette, table napkin
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    a napkin tied under the chin of a child while eating
    dinner napkin
    a large napkin used when dinner is served
    tea napkin
    a small napkin used when tea is served
    type of:
    napery, table linen
    linens for the dining table
  2. noun
    garment consisting of a folded cloth drawn up between the legs and fastened at the waist; worn by infants to catch excrement
    synonyms: diaper, nappy
    see moresee less
    type of:
    an article of clothing
Word Family

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