• synonyms


noun, plural doy·leys.
  1. doily.
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or doy·ley

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

Examples from the Web for doyley

Historical Examples of doyley

  • The constable looked grave, too, when he saw the knife and the doyley.

    The Carroll Girls

    Mabel Quiller-Couch

  • How can a legal contract be like a doyley on the back of a chair?

    Dangerous Ages

    Rose Macaulay

  • The soldier, afterwards boasting that he had won this trophy, was reproved by Doyley, who had seen the action.

  • Whin the ould sow litters, Doyley, it's sore perplexhed we'll be fer shlapin' room.

  • Bloom bent leopold ear, turning a fringe of doyley down under the vase.


    James Joyce

British Dictionary definitions for doyley


  1. a variant spelling of doily
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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 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 doyley



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