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A toddler wearing a diaper.
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From Old French dyapre, diaspre, from medieval Latin diaspra, diasprum from Byzantine Greek δίασπρος (díaspros, adj), from δια- (dia-, across) + ἄσπρος (áspros, white).



diaper (countable and uncountable, plural diapers)

  1. A textile fabric having a diamond-shaped pattern formed by alternating directions of thread.
    • 1890, Oscar Wilde, chapter XI, in The Picture of Dorian Gray:
      The orphreys were woven in a diaper of red and gold silk, and were starred with medallions of many saints and martyrs, among whom was St. Sebastian.
  2. A towel or napkin made from such fabric.
    • Shakespeare
      Let one attend him with a silver basin, [] / Another bear the ewer, the third a diaper.
  3. (Canada, US) An absorbent garment worn by a baby, by a young child not yet toilet trained, or by an older person who is incontinent; a nappy.
  4. The diamond pattern associated with diaper textiles.
  5. Surface decoration of any sort which consists of the constant repetition of one or more simple figures or units of design evenly spaced.


  • (absorbent garment): nappy (British, Australia); napkin (British, archaic); napkin (South African)

Derived termsEdit



diaper (third-person singular simple present diapers, present participle diapering, simple past and past participle diapered)

  1. To put diapers on someone.
    Diapering a baby is something you have to learn fast.
  2. To draw flowers or figures, as upon cloth.
    • Peacham
      If you diaper on folds.