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or doyley

[doi-lee] /ˈdɔɪ li/
noun, plural doilies.
any small, ornamental mat, as of embroidery or lace.
Archaic. a small napkin, as one used during a dessert course.
Origin of doily
1670-80; named after a London draper of the late 17th century Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for doily
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There was no doily, either paper or otherwise, although the usual tray was so covered.

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

    The Etiquette of To-day Edith B. Ordway
  • Canapés are usually served cold, on a plate covered with a doily; the canapé is placed on this.

    Mrs. Wilson's Cook Book Mary A. Wilson
  • As represented this doily is about three-fourths of its actual size.

    The Art of Modern Lace Making The Butterick Publishing Co.
  • The finger bowls may be set on plates of dessert size with a doily underneath.

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

  • It is like giving a hungry woodchopper a doily, a Nabisco wafer, and a finger-bowl.

  • A fool and a doily stuff would now and then find days of grace, and be worn for variety.

    The Way of the World William Congreve
  • Each guest must be supplied with a fruit plate, doily, finger-bowl, fruit-knife and fork or spoon.

    Social Life Maud C. Cooke
British Dictionary definitions for doily


noun (pl) -lies, -leys
a decorative mat of lace or lacelike paper, etc, laid on or under plates
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
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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
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