Serviette or napkin

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serviette is a piece of cloth or paper used to clean one’s hands and face while eating. It is pronounced (sir vee ette) and is used outside of the United States. Usually it is listed as a Canadian term, but is used and understood in other countries as well.

Inside the United States, the same item is called a napkin, which is understood in other countries, though sometimes they designate the difference between a table napkin and a sanitary napkin.

sanitary napkin is used by women in their undergarments to hold the blood passed during their menstrual cycle. This term is used mostly in countries where English is a second language. Other names for this item include sanitary towel, sanitary pad, or simply pad.


Webster Lucas says staff at the McDonalds in Pacoima only gave him one serviette with his Quarter Pounder deluxe and when he asked for extra ones the manager refused, saying he’d already been given one. [ Australia]

No, Rexach says he will go down in Barcelona’s history because one day he signed Lionel Messi – on a serviette. [The Guardian]

To finish off, we had Christmas pudding, thoughtfully imported by a visiting British friend, Janet, along with Marks & Spencer’s printed tablecloths and matching serviettes. [The Telegraph]

Procter & Gamble (P&G), which manufactures ‘Whisper’, has failed to secure a patent in India for an invention regarding a sanitary napkin that claims to signal the wearer indications on its status. [The New Indian Express]