Definition of napkin in English:


Translate napkin into Spanish


  • 1

    (also table napkin)
    A square piece of cloth or paper used at a meal to wipe the fingers or lips and to protect garments, or to serve food on.

    ‘she unfolded her napkin and put it on her lap’
    • ‘In the last year or so a number of people have pointed out this truly disgusting trend, that an increasing number of men are using their table napkin to blow their nose.’
    • ‘It belongs in the position of a table napkin, beside a plate.’
    • ‘She was fiddling with her table napkin nervously.’
    • ‘Mike got out a pen from his pocket and drew four columns on a table napkin.’
    • ‘The museum's eclectic collection spans 400 years and includes rare pieces like a 1565 Elizabethan table napkin.’
    • ‘The white linen thing at your place is called a napkin (not a serviette; a serviette is a paper napkin with Christmas trees printed on it).’
    • ‘Everything from broths to cream soups will make your dull meal look like it deserves cloth napkins.’
    • ‘A lotus blossom adorns the table and white linen napkins are folded and waiting.’
    • ‘I put the linen napkin on my lap to show I am not poorly mannered and uncivil.’
    • ‘My fingers fidgeted with the white, cloth napkin in my lap.’
    • ‘She walked to him as he unfolded a white cloth napkin and smiled.’
    • ‘Jeff exclaimed as he threw his cloth napkin onto the table with a grin.’
    • ‘Sam took a paper napkin from the chromium dispenser, crunched it into a ball and handed it to her.’
    • ‘Then he wiped his hands and mouth, throwing the used napkin on his empty plate.’
    • ‘He finished his burger and grabbed a napkin from the dispenser in the middle of the table.’
    • ‘Dutifully, I grab a couple napkins from the dispenser next to me and pass them to my right.’
    • ‘He took a cocktail napkin and wrote on it.’
    • ‘Frankie grabbed a napkin from the silver holder and pulled a pen out of his pocket.’
    • ‘Nelson tossed his napkin on his plate, and, rising, strode toward the door.’
    • ‘Tears poured down my face and I blew my nose in a crumpled napkin I had in my bag.’
    • ‘He scoffed and studied the origami napkin in front of him.’
  • 2British dated A baby's diaper.

  • 3North American

    short for sanitary napkin

    • ‘Compounds very much like it are also used in disposable diapers and sanitary napkins.’



/ˈnapkin/ /ˈnæpkɪn/


Late Middle English from Old French nappe ‘tablecloth’ (from Latin mappa see map)+ -kin.