AskDefine | Define serviette

Dictionary Definition

serviette n : to protect clothing; wipe mouth [syn: napkin, table napkin]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. In the context of "Commonwealth": A table napkin, especially a paper one.



  • /ˌsɜː.vi.ˈɛt/|lang=fr


  1. towel (cloth used for wiping)

Extensive Definition

A napkin or serviette is a rectangle of cloth or paper used at the table for wiping the mouth while eating. It is usually small and folded. The word comes from Middle English, borrowing the French nappe—a cloth covering for a table—and adding -kin, the diminutive suffix.
The word napkin is also refers to a cloth diaper in the south asian region, often a reusable, triangluar cloth sewed at home.
Conventionally the napkin is folded and placed to the left of the place setting, outside the outermost fork. In an ambitious restaurant setting or a caterer's hall, it may be folded into more or less elaborate shapes and displayed on the empty plate. A napkin may also be held together in a bundle (with cutlery) by a napkin ring. Alternatively, paper napkins may be contained with a napkin holder.
Great inventions or ideas are stereotypically first conceived on a paper napkin. An example of such an idea is J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series.
A napkin is also a small scarf placed on the head by a woman entering a Roman Catholic Church as a conventional token of modesty. This practice is largely extinct in modern times.

See also

serviette in Bulgarian: Кърпа
serviette in German: Serviette
serviette in Spanish: Servilleta
serviette in French: Serviette de table
serviette in Scottish Gaelic: Neapraigear
serviette in Italian: Tovaglioli
serviette in Hebrew: מפית
serviette in Hungarian: Szalvéta
serviette in Dutch: Servet (tafelgerei)
serviette in Cree: Ubrus
serviette in Japanese: ナプキン
serviette in Norwegian: Serviett
serviette in Russian: Салфетка
serviette in Sicilian: Sarvietta
serviette in Swedish: Servett
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