If the word apron sounds familiar to French speakers, there is a good reason for that. It comes from French napperon (the diminutive of nappe, tablecloth).


In old English, napperon became napron, but then instead of a napron, people started to hear (and write) an apron. This is a case of “faulty separation” or “wrong division”, also called “reanalysis” or “rebracketing“.



Strangely, the French word nappe above comes from Latin word mappa, which means that the M was somehow converted into an N.

The Latin word mappa does actually mean napkin, a word also used in Old English, but which didn’t lose its N like his brother napron.

Meanwhile, in French, world map is mappemonde, but map itself is carte, which, if you still didn’t get a headache, comes from Latin word charta (paper, then map) which also gave birth to English chart, and of course Magna Carta (or Magna Charta).


Who says that the world languages are not strongly interrelated?

Let’s end with a small exercise, just repeat the following sentences:

– a napron, a napron, a napron, a napron, an apron, an apron, an apron…

– a napkin, a napkin, a napkin, a napkin, an apkin, an akpin, an apkin…

– an apple, an apple, an apple, an apple, a napple, a napple, a napple…