- any small, ornamental mat, as of embroidery or lace.
- Archaic. a small napkin, as one used during a dessert course.
Origin of doily
Examples from the Web for doily
Somebody has to draw the line, and if it takes a 90-pound Jewish grandmother bedecked in a doily to do it, so be it.Justice Ginsburg Shouldn’t Quit Just Yet
December 1, 2014
A bowl half-full of water is placed upon a plate covered with a doily.The Etiquette of To-day
Edith B. Ordway
As represented this doily is about three-fourths of its actual size.The Art of Modern Lace Making
The Butterick Publishing Co.
The cakes should be prettily arranged in a cake dish with a doily under them.Social Life
Maud C. Cooke
Remove the glass and doily; put it in front of your plate a little to the right.The Complete Bachelor
Grass table-mats are also used, but always under cloth or doily.The Myrtle Reed Cook Book
doyley or doyly
- a decorative mat of lace or lacelike paper, etc, laid on or under plates
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.