[ an-ti-muh-kas-er ]
/ ˌæn tɪ məˈkæs ər /


a small covering, usually ornamental, placed on the backs and arms of upholstered furniture to prevent wear or soiling; a tidy.

Origin of antimacassar

First recorded in 1850–55; anti- + Macassar (oil) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for anti-macassar

  • This, from its weight, serves to keep the anti-macassar from shifting, and is finished with a handsome fringe.

  • Marriage was something we gentlewomen tried to endure while we knitted an anti-macassar.

    Sugar Plum|Reginald Bretnor
  • This anti-macassar is done in the fashionable style of netting, with a pattern darned on it after it is worked.

  • The anti-macassar of which we give a representation in the engraving is intended to fit the top of a library chair.

British Dictionary definitions for anti-macassar


/ (ˌæntɪməˈkæsə) /


a cloth covering the back and arms of chairs, etc, to prevent soiling or as decoration

Word Origin for antimacassar

C19: from anti- + Macassar (oil)
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 anti-macassar



also antimacassar, 1852, from anti- + macassar oil, proprietary name of a hair tonic advertised as imported from the district of Macassar on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. The cloth was laid to protect chair and sofa fabric from people leaning their oily heads back against it.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper