Napkin. [From Fr. nappa, which means literally "little cloth."] A small, square piece of linen cloth, now usually damask, used at table to protect the clothes. In the 16th century handkerchiefs were commonly called napkins, and they are still styled pocket-napkins by the Scotch. Napkins are woven in pieces of long lengths like linen damask, and sold at wholesale in separate packs of one dozen each, all attached. The modern ocean steamer uses on each voyage about 1,200 napkins a day, and as many towels. As they do no laundrying on a trip, they are obliged to have a stock of from 10,000 to 20,000 of each of these household articles. ISee Table Linen]