1560, endearing name for a female pet or a mistress; originally a familiar form of fem. proper name Dorothy
(q.v.). The -l-
substitution in nicknames is common in Eng.: cf. Hal
for Harold, Moll
for Mary, Sally
etc. Attested from 1648 as colloquial for "slattern;" sense of "child's toy baby" is c.1700. Transferred back to living beings 1778 in sense of "pretty, silly woman" dolled up
is Amer.Eng. 1906. Doll's house
first recorded 1783.