- a small figure representing a baby or other human being, especially for use as a child’s toy.
- a pretty but expressionless or unintelligent woman.
- a girl or woman, especially one who is considered attractive.
- a boy or man who is considered attractive.
- (sometimes initial capital letter)an affectionate or familiar term of address, as to a child or romantic partner (sometimes offensive when used to strangers, casual acquaintances, subordinates, etc., especially by a male to a female).
- Informal. a generous or helpful person: You’re a doll for lending me your car.
- doll up, Informal. to dress in an elegant or ostentatiously stylish manner: She got all dolled up for a trip to the opera.
- a small model or dummy of a human being, used as a toy
- slang a pretty girl or woman of little intelligence: sometimes used as a term of address
1550s, endearing name for a female pet or a mistress; originally a familiar form of fem. proper name Dorothy (q.v.). The -l- for -r- substitution in nicknames is common in English: cf. Hal for Harold, Moll for Mary, Sally for Sarah, etc. Attested from 1640s 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.”
1867, “to pet, indulge,” from doll (n.). Usually with up. Meaning “to dress up” is from 1906, American English. Related: Dolled; dolling.