from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A protective covering for the backs of chairs and sofas.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A cover for the back or arms of a chair or sofa, originally to prevent them from being soiled by macassar oil.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A cover for the back or arms of a chair or sofa, etc., to prevent them from wear or from being soiled by macassar or other oil from the hair.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. An ornamental covering for the backs and arms of chairs, sofas, couches, etc., to keep them from being soiled by oil from the hair; a tidy.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a piece of ornamented cloth that protects the back of a chair from hair oils
An antimacassar is a small cloth placed over the backs or arms of chairs, or the head or cushions of a sofa, to prevent soiling of the permanent fabric.
Of those times I distantly recalled, when I was - if I was who I thought I was - that creature of badinage and rebellion, it seemed that even the university's once fiery spite had subsided, and a kind of antimacassar had been thrown over me - to protect the university or my name from the harm of either, it was not plain to see.
ACT I. _Sitting-room at Rosmershölm, with a stove, flower-stand, windows, ancient and modern ancestors, doors, and everything handsome about it, REBECCA WEST is sitting knitting a large antimacassar which is nearly finished.
These articles, however, may still be procured, and to that oil we owe the familiar interposing towel or piece of embroidery the "antimacassar," devised to protect the sofa or easy chair from the unguent of the hair.
I knew some of that (when I was growing up, every sofa and upholstered chair in the house was adorned with an antimacassar, and I knew the idea was to keep hair dressing from rubbing off on the fabric) but did not know, for instance, the Byron quote.
The original antimacassar was usually made of stiff white crochet-work, but in the third quarter of the 19th century it became simpler and softer, usually with a simple pattern in wool or silk.
I thought I was the only one here old enough to know the word “antimacassar”!!
Harriet toys with the fringe of the antimacassar on her chair.
A: “Ormolou” is probably a misspelling of “ormolu,” a kind of gold leaf and not a furniture covering of the sort your sister-in-law probably has in mind, which is an antimacassar.
A strange image, incongruous under the circumstances: it was a memory of his grandmother sitting in the stuffed brown rocking chair in her living room, a crocheted antimacassar behind her head.