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[dol] /dɒl/
a small figure representing a baby or other human being, especially for use as a child's toy.
  1. a pretty but expressionless or unintelligent woman.
  2. a girl or woman, especially one who is considered attractive.
  3. a boy or man who is considered attractive.
  4. (sometimes initial capital letter) an affectionate or familiar term of address, as to a child or romantic partner (sometimes offensive when used to strangers, casual acquaintances, subordinates, etc., especially by a male to a female).
Informal. a generous or helpful person:
You're a doll for lending me your car.
Verb phrases
doll up, Informal. to dress in an elegant or ostentatiously stylish manner:
She got all dolled up for a trip to the opera.
Origin of doll
First recorded in 1550-60; generic use of Doll
Related forms
dollish, doll-like, adjective
dollishly, adverb
dollishness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for doll up
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • We even had to send out word it was time to doll up for dinner.

    Torchy, Private Sec. Sewell Ford
  • Vee makes me doll up in an open face vest and dinner coat, too.

    Torchy As A Pa Sewell Ford
  • They shut the doll up in a small room, so that she could not be seen.

    Italian Popular Tales

    Thomas Frederick Crane
  • So Struthers and I are about to doll up these dilapidated quarters of ours.

    The Prairie Child Arthur Stringer
  • And to go home at night to doll up in his glad rags and call on Mazie.

    Triple Spies Roy J. Snell
  • The cowboys insisted on wearing their cowboy suits, but each had brought along extra clothes so they could doll up at the wedding.

    Mason of Bar X Ranch Henry Bennett
  • She caught the doll up by its leg, and with an exclamation of disgust threw it into the fire.

    Into the Highways and Hedges F. F. Montrsor (Frances Frederica)
  • She held the doll up by its frock, so that its legs and one remaining arm dangled miserably in the air.

    The Hawthorns Amy Walton
  • Her fury had spent itself in one blow and she would have given anything to set the doll up in its place again unharmed.

    A Cigarette-Maker's Romance F. Marion Crawford
British Dictionary definitions for doll up

doll up

(transitive, adverb) (slang) to adorn or dress (oneself or another, esp a child) in a stylish or showy manner


a small model or dummy of a human being, used as a toy
(slang) a pretty girl or woman of little intelligence: sometimes used as a term of address
Derived Forms
dollish, adjective
dollishly, adverb
dollishness, noun
Word Origin
C16: probably from Doll, pet name for Dorothy
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
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Word Origin and History for doll up



1550s, endearing name for a female pet or a mistress; originally a familiar form of fem. proper name Dorothy (q.v.). The -l- for -r- substitution in nicknames is common in English: cf. Hal for Harold, Moll for Mary, Sally for Sarah, etc. Attested from 1640s as colloquial for "slattern;" sense of "child's toy baby" is c.1700. Transferred back to living beings 1778 in sense of "pretty, silly woman."



1867, "to pet, indulge," from doll (n.). Usually with up. Meaning "to dress up" is from 1906, American English. Related: Dolled; dolling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for doll up

doll up

verb phrase

To dress fancily and in one's best clothes; gussy up: This year the girls are dolling up in calico patchworks (1906+)



  1. (also dolly) A conventionally pretty and shapely young woman, esp a curly, blue-eyed blonde, whose function is to elevate the status of a male and to inspire general lust; babe, baby doll, bimbo: If a blonde girl doesn't talk we call her a doll/ the subservient dolly without a thought in her head (1860+)
  2. Any woman, esp an attractive one; babe, chick • Considered offensive by many women (1778+)
  3. A notably decent, pleasant, generous person; living doll: Isn't he a doll? (1950s+)
  4. An attractive boy or young man (1940s+)
  5. (also dolly) An amphetamine or barbiturate drug in pill or capsule form (1960s+ Narcotics)

Related Terms

china doll, living doll


Related Terms

barbie doll

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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