na·​pery ˈnā-p(ə-)rē How to pronounce napery (audio)
: household linen
especially : table linen

Did you know?

Napery has been used as a fancy word for our household linens, especially those used to cover a table, since the 14th century. The word derives via Middle English from Anglo-French nape, meaning "tablecloth," and ultimately from Latin mappa, "napkin." You can see part of the word napkin in that root; another, much less obvious relative is apron, which was once spelled as napron in Middle English but gradually evolved to its current spelling by way of English speakers habitually misdividing the phrase a napron as an apron.

Examples of napery in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There are 56 seats in a somewhat formal room with a big bar, white napery and white brick walls. Florence Fabricant, New York Times, 9 Aug. 2022 There’s white napery on the tables, but the kitchen produces a home-style veal Parm for takeout. Florence Fabricant, New York Times, 5 May 2020 The napery has an authentic, historical charm that’s right on trend. Washington Post, 18 Sep. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'napery.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French naperie, from nape tablecloth — more at napkin

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of napery was in the 14th century


Dictionary Entries Near napery

Cite this Entry

“Napery.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2023.

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