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or doy·ley

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noun, plural doi·lies.
  1. any small, ornamental mat, as of embroidery or lace.
  2. Archaic. a small napkin, as one used during a dessert course.

Origin of doily

First recorded in 1670–80; named after a London draper of the late 17th century
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for doily


doyley or doyly

noun plural -lies or -leys
  1. a decorative mat of lace or lacelike paper, etc, laid on or under plates

Word Origin

C18: named after Doily, a London draper
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for doily


1714, short for doily-napkin (1711), from doily "thin, woolen fabric;" supposedly from Doiley, surname of a 17c.-early 18c. dry-goods dealer on London's Strand. Doily earlier meant "genteel, affordable woolens" (1670s), evidently from the same source. The surname is d'Ouilly, from one of several places called Ouilly in Normandy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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