from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A small ornamental mat, usually of lace or linen.
  • n. A small table napkin.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small ornamental piece of lace or linen or paper used to protect a surface from scratches by hard objects such as vases or bowls; or to decorate a plate of food.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A kind of woolen stuff.
  • n. A small napkin, used at table with the fruit, etc.; -- commonly colored and fringed.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An old kind of woolen stuff. Also used attributively.
  • n. A small ornamental napkin, often in colors, fringed and embroidered, and brought on the dinner-table on a dessert-plate, with the finger-bowl, etc., arranged upon it: also used for many similar purposes.
  • n. Also spelled doyley.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a small round piece of linen placed under a dish or bowl


After Doily or Doyly, 18th-century London draper.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Doiley, the name of a 17th-century London draper. (Wiktionary)



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  • See explanation on d'oyley.

    April 13, 2010

  • Evelyn, a modified dog, viewed the quivering fringe of a special doily, draped across the piano with some surprise. -- Frank Zappa

    It's unclear as to whether or not there should be a comma after "piano." When Frank sings/says it, there is no comma, and while it is more accessible with a comma, it works somewhat without.

    May 19, 2009

  • hehehe this is just so much fun to say... doilydoilydoily! okok i'm done. [:

    March 10, 2008

  • Found with the antimacassar and the aspidistra.

    December 19, 2006