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A toddler wearing a diaper.
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From Middle English dyaper, 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.
  3. (Canada, US) An absorbent garment worn by a baby, by a young child not yet toilet trained, or by an adult 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, South African)

Derived terms[edit]



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

  1. To put diapers on someone.
    • 2019, Michael Bent, Rosalie Bent, Understanding Adult Babies: Their Psychology and Lifestyles
      I diaper myself or she helps Diaper me and sometimes I get to wet them, she knows I like that. And she whispers in my ear that "baby wants to make a cummie in his Diapers []
    Diapering a baby is something you have to learn fast.
  2. To draw flowers or figures, as upon cloth.
    • 1622, Henry Peacham (Jr.), The Compleat Gentleman
      If you diaper upon folds, let your work be broken.



Middle English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Old French dyapre.



  1. Alternative form of dyaper

Etymology 2[edit]

From Old French diaprer.



  1. Alternative form of dyapren