Word of the Day : April 13, 2017


noun NAY-puh-ree


: 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.


The napery was laundered and starched and folded crisply for the next day's brunch guests.

"Once upstairs, the sense of a solid, proper steakhouse, with low lighting, a busy bar, tufted chairs and banquettes, and snow-white napery on the tables, is clear and obvious." — Merrill Shindler, The Los Angeles Daily News, 28 Feb. 2017

Test Your Vocabulary

Unscramble the letters to create a word that can refer to a linen fabric or to high-flown or affected writing or speech: TUASNFI.



More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!