Napkin

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2 comments on this post.
  1. Lynne:

    napery n. – tablecloths, napkins, and doilies. Derived from “nape”: cloth
    from the World Book Dictionary, 1969 edition

    Napery is general for table linens. If memory serves, I believe that, originally, only a tablecloth was placed on the table, and people used that to wipe hands and faces as needed.

    When someone realized that smaller cloths, put on the table for the express purpose of personal hygiene, would leave the tablecloth cleaner and in need of less-frequent washings, the diminutive form was likely coined to set them aside from their larger relative.

  2. Topi Linkala:

    How about the ‘nap’ in kindnapping?

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