If 纸巾 means "paper towel", I can understand how it was combined with "face" 面 to mean "tissue". But I'm curious as to why it's 面巾纸, not 面纸巾. I can't find any definition for 巾纸 on its own, so where did this word come from?

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    面纸 does not exist (as a word) so it cannot be used as attributive qualifying 巾,面巾 exists:bkrs: face flannel or towel shroud (over the face of a corpse), apparently it can be used as attributive to 纸, of course one may wonder why not 纸面巾 (towel made from paper) which in fact does exist, see bkrs: paper towels
    – user6065
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 23:21

1 Answer 1


面巾 is also a kind of napkin. 面巾 is for face cleaning, 手巾 is for hand cleaning. So 面巾纸 is usually the small pack soft paper napkin you put in your pocket, used for cleaning face. you can think it is the same thing as 纸巾. Here are many things that have different names.

This case, it is a combination of 面巾 + 纸. 纸+面巾 is also used. Though 面+纸巾 and other combinations are also logical, but less people use them.

  • Note that, although 面纸 isn't a thing (as user6065 comments), 手纸 is—but a very different thing! Commented Jun 3, 2017 at 20:09

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