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. a mistress, a prostitute.

[UK]R. Herrick ‘A Lyric to Mirth’ Hesperides 41: Drink, and dance, and pipe, and play; / Kisse our Dollies night and day.
Mennis & Smith et al. ‘A Song’ Wit and Drollery 37: Another had dallied with this my Dolly, that Dolly for all her faining, Had got such a Mountain above her Valley, that Dolly went home complaining.
[UK]N. Ward Hudibras Redivivus II:3 7: Rural Swains, with Jugs and Dollies.
[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy I 5: Town follies and Gullies, And Molleys and Dolleys, For ever adieu.
[UK]Satirist (London) 5 Feb. 45/3: ‘[T]he wives of a Mussulman, who are married subsequently to the first, are only his Dhollies or under-cover wives.’ Our Dolly’s in England would probably rather be married second than first.
[UK]Egan in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) [song title] Miss Dolly Trull.
[US]Whip & Satirist of NY & Brooklyn (NY) 23 Apr. n.p.: The tawdry dames in Thomas street [a brothel area]; / Those ribbon-loving dollies, whose delight / Is talking scandal.

2. a female pet or favourite.

[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy II 345: Some Freeholder’s fresh Spouse, some Rosebush Dolly.

3. a male homosexual.

[UK]Ipswich Jrnl 29 July 4/2: Those Abominable Wretches publickly call one another by the Name of Dolly, Molly, Betty [...] &c. and perform such beastly Actions in that Lude House, as is not fit to mention.

4. (also dolly-girl) any girl or woman, esp. when attractive; also as a term of affection.

[UK]M. Robinson Walsingham IV 278: So you see, my dainty, I have nothing to do but to marry a golden dolly, or give my creditors the go-by, with a brace of barking irons.
[UK] ‘Grand Quartet’ in Old Tom of Oxford Radical Harmonist 7: There’s a difference between / A dolly and Queen [...] A Queen can brag of folly / More safely than a dolly.
[UK] ‘Dolce Doll’ Batchelar’s Vocal Bazaar 4: For you ... my Dolly, / Could make me ... jolly.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 10 Sept. 2/5: A pretty little black-eyed dolly of a wife.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 3 Dec. 26/1: Drifting by, drifting by, ruby lip and laughing eye / The ‘dolly’ of the dandy and the larry’s ‘bit of skirt’.
[Aus]E. Dyson Fact’ry ’Ands 181: Now I wouldn’ turn it [i.e. beer] down fer ther toffest Dolly on ther block.
[US]in G. Legman Limerick (1953) 14: There was a young dolly named Molly.
[US]N. Kimball Amer. Madam (1981) 138: A girl wants to be liked, to be well liked, to be petted, be called kitten, eating pussy, dolly, baby Venus, honey child.
[US]J.T.Farrell World I Never Made 399: Oh, Mother, you’re so cute [...] And you do forgive me, don’t you, you little dollie?
[US]K.C. Lamott Stockade 55: Ask her if she knows a little dolly that lives with this old gook.
[UK]J. Quirk No Red Ribbons (1968) 282: A different dolly in bed each night.
[SA]S. Roberts ‘All That Jazz’ Outside Life’s Feast 42: We had this wiry little black guy with us, and his dolly.
[UK]S. Berkoff Decadence in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 15: My super wondrous piece of dolly arse.
[Ire]M. Verdon Shawlies, Echo Boys, the Marsh and the Lanes 35: Whacker Murphy went shifting in the Arc and clicked a dolly from Gurrane. She was a lasher with a pair of josies that would act as buffers for the Innisfallen.
[UK]Guardian G2 25 Aug. 4: I spend hours doing my make-up. I’m a dolly girl, a real dolly, girly, girly girl.
[UK]Guardian G2 24 Mar. 5: The capable career girl who goes all googly helpless dolly whenever men are around.
[Scot](con. 1980s) I. Welsh Skagboys 32: He walks away wi a dolly at the end ay the night.
[Ire]L. McInerney Glorious Heresies 248: [O]ne of the girls [...] lurched on her heels and grabbed the arm of the dolly next to her.

5. attrib. use of sense 3.

[UK]J. Burke Till Death Us Do Part 30: That’s the gear, that is. The dolly-girl gear, see?

6. the vagina.

[UK]‘The Pleasures of a Woman’ in Gentleman’s Private Songster in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) III 379: To play with her dolly and tickle its hair, / To tickle its hair, to tickle its hair.

7. a slattern, a dull, unattractive woman.

[UK]G.J. Whyte-Melville General Bounce (1891) 99: Like the veriest clown then ’squiring his red-faced Dolly to ‘the races.’.

8. 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.

[UK]T. Keyes All Night Stand 170: If there was ever anything I wanted [...] it was to have it away with that dolly in that bus.
[UK]‘P.B. Yuill’ Hazell Plays Solomon (1976) 23: A glamorous dolly in hot pants [...] was giving out plastic busts of Beethoven.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 4 Aug. 9: A [...] provincial disco dolly.
[UK]Guardian Guide 1–6 Jan. 19: Disco dollies and 70s wannabes have found their spiritual home.
[UK]R. Milward Man-Eating Typewriter 36: [f.n.] Like many of the working-class dollies who come to the capital, the disillusionment grew.

9. (US) a term of address, synon. with SE darling.

[US]H. Selby Jr Requiem for a Dream (1987) 122: But tell me dolly, how much does the doctor charge?

10. (N.Z. prison) the younger lover of a ‘butch’ lesbian.

Genetic Psychol. Monographs (1970) 92: Female offenders [...] were tattooed almost exclusively with tattoos that marked homosexual relationships they had with [...] teenage ‘Darls,’ or adult ‘Dollies’ [DNZE].
[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 59/1: dolly n. in a women’s prison, a dolly usually refers to the woman who plays the feminine role in a lesbian relationship.

11. (N.Z. prison) an inmate’s male/female partner, a male/female visitor.

[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 59/1: dolly n. 1 a female visitor or a female partner of an inmate [...] 2 a male visitor or a male partner of an inmate.

In compounds

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

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.

[Aus]Brisbane Teleg. 6 Apr. 8/1: Our London men report that you haven’t really been given top-of-the-pops praise by your boyfriend unless he has called you a Dolly Bird .
[UK]F. Norman Norman’s London 237: I am certainly fascinated by the gyrating mini-skirted dolly birds.
[UK]J. Rosenthal Bar Mitzvah Boy Scene 11: Anyway he sees this young dolly-bird in this whatisit ... miniskirt.
[UK]S. Berkoff West in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 128: Don’t get mixed up with riff-raff, darling, says your dolly bird.
[UK]Indep. Mag. 17 July 6: When I met Malcolm McLaren I was a dolly bird. Long, silver hair; old ratty fur coat; Biba-type clothes.
[Aus]L. Redhead Cherry Pie [ebook] Bloody dolly birds at the airport wouldn’t tell me if she’s got on a plane.
[UK]Camden New Journal (London) Rev. 4 Sept. VII: A large bag of cocaine and two dollybirds.
[Ire]L. McInerney Blood Miracles : A city stuffed with licensed venues and dolly birds.
[UK]J. Meades Empty Wigs (t/s) 719: ‘[V]eteran dolly bird Imogen Skye, unwithered by age, though no one could accuse her of infinite variety!’.
dolly-boy (n.) (also doll-boy)

(orig. gay) a homosexual, a young male prostitute.

[US]J. Adams From Gags to Riches 304: We were just about to enter the famous meeting place of the ‘doll-boys’.
[US]Maledicta III:2 220: Similar terms, such as [...] UK daffodil (with perhaps some influence from Dilly Boy = Piccadilly Circus boy prostitute, reinforced by dolly boy = pretty young thing) may be more localized.
[UK]A. Hollinghurst Swimming-Pool Library (1998) 118: The discreetly homosexual style of the whole place [...] the rich older men treating their bored and flirtatious young dolly-boys.
dolly-girl (n.)

see sense 3 above.

dollymop/-mopper (n.)

see separate entries.

dolly sweetness (n.)

(US black campus) a hitherto unknown young woman.

[US]M.H. Boulware Jive and Sl. n.p.: Drab, a Dolly Sweetness ... New girl in town.

In phrases

dolly in (v.)

to behave in a effeminate provocative manner.

[UK]Took & Feldman ‘Bona Grapplers’ Round the Horne [BBC radio] And his camera angles – all to pot! Kept dollying in on me bad side. You see, from the wrong angle I look almost plain.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

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

(US) a woman, a housewife.

[US]Ade Girl Proposition 35: There were a lot of Dolly Grays who had nothing to do in the Afternoon except look for Kitchen Help.
Dolly Handbag (n.)

(N.Z. camp gay) a police officer, usu. male.

[NZ](con. 1960s) W. Ings ‘Trolling the Beat to Working the Soob’ in Int’l Jrnl Lexicog. 23:1 72: In the early 1960s in New Zealand Vivian Vice, Nelly-law, Dolly Handbag, Alice, Dora-D, Hilda-Handcuff, Lily-lunchbox, Jennifer-Justice, Hilda Box-rot, Petunia Pig, Tilly Tight-twat, and Cherie Cunstable, were familiar.
dolly note (n.) (N.Z. prison)

1. an (illicit) love letter sent between female prisoners.

[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 59/2: dolly note (also dolly letter) n. 1 an (unauthorised) love letter sent from one female inmate to another.

2. a letter sent to or from a male prisoner and his spouse or female partner.

[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 59/2: dolly note (also dolly letter) n. 2 a letter that a male inmate writes to, or receives from, his wife or girlfriend.
dolly sisters (n.) [the singers Janszieka (1893–1941) and Roszika (1893–1970) Deutsch, better known as Jenny and Rosie Dolly]

(US) a pair of patrolmen.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 60/1: Dolly sisters. Two uniformed policemen in P. D. car.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 126: Two cops making their beat in a patrol car are the [...] Dolly Sisters.
[SA]K. Cage Gayle.
dolly-worship (n.) [the use of statues and religious images in Catholic churches]

a derog. term for Roman Catholicism.

[UK]Mthly Chron. N. Country Lore 4 161: A species of ‘Dolly worship’ that seized hold upon our superstitious sons of Neptune and induced them to chip off pieces of the figure.
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era.
[UK]R. Preston End of Cornwall 98: You see what comes of dolly-worship. I’ve always been against the Pope, but now that I’ve seen things with my own eyes I'm just disgusted.

In phrases

up to dolly’s eyeweights

(N.Z.) completely.

[NZ]B. Mason Awatea (1978) 40: Pleased! Sure! Thrilled to bits! Up to dolly’s eyeweights!
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. (Aus.) to the utmost extent.

Dubbo Dispatch (NSW) 3 July 3/2: ‘Don’t think much of it myself - ah coomfra Lancashire mysen - but what I mean is she fills your heart, what? - Right up to Dolly’s wax, eh?’‘Where’s that?’‘That [is] where the sawdust leaves off, and it gets hard’.
[Aus]Australasian (Melbourne) 14 Mar. 30/3: I’m in with the society for the protection of pure English right up to Dolly’s wax.
[Aus]Alexandra & Yea Standard (Vic.) 11 Mar. 3/1: [W]hat goes on is enough to fill anyone right up to where dolly’s wax bead is sewn on to the sawdust.
[Aus]Australasian (Melbourne) 10 July 2/2: There are books on this and books on that about past, present, and future international relations [...] And I am fed up to dolly’s wax with them.
[Aus]Daily Review 2 May 🌐 I will not read Spicer’s book, as I’m up to pussy’s bow with femoir. I do not think I could take any more inspiration.

2. (Aus.) absolutely full of food.

[Aus]Argus (Melbourne) 25 Nov. 11/4: [crossword clue] Full right up to pussy’s bow (6).
J. Gloag Our Mother’s House 25: And they would all eat, Mother too, until they were full up to dolly’s wax.
[Aus]N. Keesing Lily on the Dustbin 17: A small man, then in his eighties, sat back from our table after lunch and announced, ‘I’m full up to dolly’s wax’ [...] ‘Full up to dolly’s wax’, therefore, meant the same as ‘full up to pussy’s bow’, ‘full up to the neckline’ or, as their grandmother often said, ‘QFRTB’ (Quite full, ready to burst!).
T.A.G. Hungerford Stories from Suburban Rd 56: I got swamped up to pussy’s bow with their troubles, and I hated asking them as much as they hated it.
[Aus]R. Fitzgerald Pushed from the Wings (1989) 57: Even though Barry’s only been Head for a few months, he’s already up to pussy’s bow.
N. Drinnan Pussy’s Bow n.p.: [blurb] In a house hiding too many secrets, cold southerlies blow and everyone’s had it up to Pussy’s Bow.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 83: full up to the dolly’s wax/the pussy’s bow So full of food one could not eat another morsel.