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[dee-kal, dih-kal] /ˈdi kæl, dɪˈkæl/
a specially prepared paper bearing a picture or design for transfer to wood, metal, glass, etc.
the picture or design itself.
verb (used with object), decaled or decalled, decaling or decalling.
to apply decals on.
Origin of decal
1950-55; shortened form of decalcomania Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for decal
  • The decal versions might also be useful in an office on campus.
  • The surface of the decal is a crude computer display which then replicates these colours and patterns.
  • Wires are duct-taped to the back and a bar-code decal applied.
  • Parents want the rear-window decal on the car for themselves.
  • Much of the tutorial covers printing onto decal film.
  • Look for the red, white, and blue decal in the window.
  • Few people give much thought to that sticky-backed decal affixed to our windshields.
British Dictionary definitions for decal


/dɪˈkæl; ˈdiːkæl/
short for decalcomania
to transfer (a design) by decalcomania
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 decal

by 1909, shortening of decalcomania, from French décalcomanie, from décalquer (18c.) "transferring of a tracing from specially prepared paper to glass, porcelain, etc." (in vogue in France 1840s, England 1862-64), from de- "off" + calquer "to press," from Italian calcare, from Latin calcare "to tread on, press."

Time was when there were only printers employed in making the sheets that were stuck on the ware, giving the old-time term of "plain print." This form of decoration was succeeded a few years ago by the decalcomania or "decal." This "decal" is an imported sheet, lithographed, and the little sprigs, flowers and scenes are cut out and stuck on the ware. ["Brick, the Leading Clay Journal," April 1909]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Related Abbreviations for decal


The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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