Definition of doily in English:


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nounplural noun doilies

  • A small ornamental mat made of lace or paper with a lace pattern, typically placed on a plate under a cake or other sweet foods.

    ‘In the centre would be the three tiered cake stand with doilies on each plate and small sandwiches made of very thin bread on the bottom, scones in the middle, and little cakes on the top.’
    • ‘For my first course, I would be solemnly presented with a glass tumbler of tomato juice, sitting on a paper doily, in the middle of a china plate.’
    • ‘She couldn't have been further off beam if she'd turned the answer sheet into a paper doily and sung popular songs through her nose.’
    • ‘Place an empty cup on a saucer covered with a paper doily and accompanied with a teaspoon (called that because it should accompany tea).’
    • ‘When they eventually brought the cake out… I could see Cameron inspecting the doily that it was sitting on.’
    • ‘You can have your cake and eat it, and hang on to the doily.’
    • ‘Anyway she was the type of person who, whilst thinking doilies are infra dig, arranges cakes and biscuits both beautifully and with military precision on what she called ‘lined dishes’.’
    • ‘John had put the coffee and Genoa cake on it, with little doilies.’
    • ‘The long-lost doily is due to make a comeback, but not beneath cakes.’
    • ‘Add a Victorian touch to your table by making cones from white or silver doilies and filling them with sugared almonds, one for each diner.’
    • ‘I've just finished brewing fresh pots of hazelnut and house blend and arranging pecan-praline bars on doilies for display on the counter.’
    • ‘When I made it into my third period creative writing class and found everyone giggling and cutting up doilies, I understood: Valentine's Day.’
    • ‘The doilies just don't do it for me and the flowery plates tend to fight with the food, tipping the balance from old-fashioned to dated.’
    • ‘I added paper towels, napkins and paper doilies to the collection.’
    • ‘A nosegay of violets can be presented in a paper doily with a decorative bow.’
    table mat, place mat



/ˈdoilē/ /ˈdɔɪli/


Late 17th century from Doiley or Doyley, the name of a 17th-century London draper. The word originally denoted a woolen material used for summer wear, said to have been introduced by this draper. The current sense (originally doily napkin) dates from the early 18th century.