early 15c., "native or resident of Naples," literally "of Naples," from Latin Neapolitanus, from Neapolis (see Naples); it preserves in English the Greek name of the city. As an adjective from 1590s. As a type of ice cream, from 1871; originally meaning both "ice cream of three layers and flavors" and "ice cream made with eggs added to the cream before freezing." In early 18c., Neapolitan consolation meant "syphilis."
updated on October 10, 2017