Try Our Apps


Pore Over vs. Pour Over


[sur-vee-et] /ˌsɜr viˈɛt/
noun, Chiefly British
a table napkin.
Origin of serviette
1480-90; < Middle French, equivalent to servi(r) to serve + -ette -ette; for the formation, cf. oubliette Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for serviette
Historical Examples
  • Dr. Boussingault sat with one thick knee covered by his serviette and thrust into the aisle for the garons to stumble over.

    Running Sands Reginald Wright Kauffman
  • He unfolded his serviette with fingers which shook all the time.

    Anna the Adventuress E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • The serviette which Paul Harley held outstretched was covered all over with dark purple spots.

    Fire-Tongue Sax Rohmer
  • I carried it with a knife and fork and a serviette out on the verandah.

    'Twixt Land & Sea Joseph Conrad
  • He threw down his serviette, rose from the table, and stood before her, broad and big.

    From a Swedish Homestead Selma Lagerlf
  • "I'm repeating a well-beloved name," she smiled and rose, folding her serviette.

    The Angel of Terror Edgar Wallace
  • Our brightly burnished mess-tin lids were laid on the table, a neatly folded khaki handkerchief in front of each for serviette.

    The Red Horizon Patrick MacGill
  • Shulgovich got up and placed his serviette on the arm of his chair.

    The Duel A. I. Kuprin
  • "We should really have invited the Señorita to join us," said Silvestre, as he spread his serviette over his knees.

  • Place the pack face down on the table and cover it with a serviette.

British Dictionary definitions for serviette


(mainly Brit) a small square of cloth or paper used while eating to protect the clothes, wipe the mouth and hands, etc
Word Origin
C15: from Old French, from servir to serve; formed on the model of oubliette
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for serviette

"table napkin," late 15c., from Middle French serviette "napkin, towel" (14c.), of uncertain origin, perhaps from past participle of servir "to serve" (see serve (v.)). Primarily Scottish at first; re-introduced from French 1818.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for serviette

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for serviette

Scrabble Words With Friends