or doy·ley


noun, plural doi·lies.

any small, ornamental mat, as of embroidery or lace.
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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for doily

cloth, towel, wipe, serviette, doormat

Examples from the Web for doily

Contemporary Examples of doily

Historical Examples of doily

  • 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

a decorative mat of lace or lacelike paper, etc, laid on or under plates

Word Origin for doily

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