- a small piece of cloth or paper, usually square, used while eating for protecting the clothes and wiping the fingers or lips
- any small cloth, towel, etc.; esp.,
- Brit. a diaper
- Brit., Dial. a handkerchief
- Scot. a kerchief or neckerchief
- sanitary napkin
Origin of napkinMiddle English nappekyn, diminutive from Old French nappe, cloth, tablecloth from Classical Latin mappa: see map
- A piece of cloth or absorbent paper used at table to protect the clothes or wipe the lips and fingers.
- A cloth or towel.
- A sanitary napkin.
- Chiefly British A diaper.
Origin of napkinMiddle EnglishOld French nape, nappe tablecloth ; see nappe . -kin -kin
From Middle English napkyn, equivalent to nape (“cloth") +"Ž -kin.