• synonyms


or doy·ley

See more synonyms for doily on Thesaurus.com
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.
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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

Related Words


Examples from the Web for doily

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • A bowl half-full of water is placed upon a plate covered with a doily.

  • 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

    Walter Germain

  • Grass table-mats are also used, but always under cloth or doily.

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
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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper