Green’s Dictionary of Slang

dolly n.1

[doll n.1 + sfx -y, but note Hancock, ‘Shelta and Polari’ (1984), who suggests Ital. dolce, sweet and thus claims the word for Polari]

1. [mid-17C–mid-19C] a mistress, a prostitute.

2. [18C] a female pet or favourite.

3. [late 18C+] (also dolly-girl) any girl or woman, esp. when attractive; also as a term of affection.

4. attrib. use of sense 3.

5. [mid-19C] the vagina.

6. [mid-19C] a slattern, a dull, unattractive woman.

7. [1960s+] a teenage girl or young woman, usu. associated with the 1960s and ‘swinging London’, usu. a young secretary or similar, dressed in the latest fashions, obsessed by the current ‘in’ rock group and other accoutrements of popular culture; post-1960s use usu. historic/ironic.

8. [1970s] (US) a term of address, synon. with SE darling.

9. [2000s] (N.Z. prison) the younger lover of a ‘butch’ lesbian.

In compounds

dollybird (n.) [sense 6 above + bird n.1 (1b); post-1960s use is historical]

[1960s] an attractive young woman, typically a secretary or shopgirl in her late teens or early twenties and found in such centres of ‘swinging London’ as Carnaby Street or the King’s Road.

dolly-boy (n.) (also doll-boy)

[1970s+] (orig. gay) a homosexual, a young male prostitute.

dolly-girl (n.)

see sense 3 above.

dollymop/-mopper (n.)

see separate entries.

dolly sweetness (n.)

[1940s] (US black campus) a hitherto unknown young woman.

In phrases

dolly in (v.)

[1960s] to behave in a effeminate provocative manner.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

dolly gray (n.) [? Boer War song ‘Goodbye, Dolly Gray’]

[1900s] (US) a woman, a housewife.

dolly sisters (n.) [the singers Janszieka (1893–1941) and Roszika (1893–1970) Deutsch, better known as Jenny and Rosie Dolly]

[1950s–70s] (US) a pair of patrolmen.

dolly-worship (n.) [the use of statues and religious images in Catholic churches]

[late 19C–1900s] a derog. term for Roman Catholicism.

In phrases

up to dolly’s eyeweights

[1960s] (N.Z.) completely.

up to dolly’s wax (also up to pussy’s bow) [nursery use, dolls used to have solid bodies surmounted with carefully modelled wax heads]

1. [1900s-10s] (Aus.) to the utmost extent.

2. [1940s+] (Aus.) absolutely full of food.