Green’s Dictionary of Slang

doll n.1

[Doll Common is generic use of the character in Jonson's The Alchemist (1610)]

1. (also doll common) a prostitute.

[UK]Nice Wanton Aiiii: He hath whores two or three, But ich tell your minion doll, by gogs body: It skylleth not she doth holde you as muche.
[UK]Gesta Grayorum in J. Nichols Progresses and Processions of Queen Elizabeth (1823) III 335: If lusty Doll, mayde of the dary / Chance to be blew-nipte by the Fayry, / For making butter with her tayle; / I’le give her that did never fayle.
[UK]Munday & Drayton Sir John Oldcastle I ii: I haue my Doll, my concubine as ’twere, To frollicke with, a lusty bounsing gerle.
[UK]Yorkshire Tragedy I i: He calls his wife ‘whore’ as familiarly as one would call Moll and Doll.
[UK]Middleton Chaste Maid in Cheapside II ii: This Lent will fat the whoresons up with sweetbreads / And lard their whores with lamb-stones; what their golls / Can clutch goes presently to their Molls and Dolls.
[UK]R. Herrick ‘Upon Doll’ Hesperides 165: Doll she so soone began the wanton trade; / She ne’r remembers that she was a maide.
[UK]T. Killigrew Thomaso Pt II IV i: I would not have a tearing, ranting Whore, no Doll Common, no Tear-sheet.
[UK]Captive Lady IV v: That I shou’d be such a child to play with a Bartholmew babye, and att last be forc’d to goe to Doll, or loane for Milke for my supper.
[UK] ‘Inamorato & Misogamos’ in Ebsworth Bagford Ballads (1878) II 893: The dirty Doll’s and Jumping Jugg’s, / Their hunches, nips, and Cornish Huggs.
[UK]S. Butler Hudibras Pt III canto 2 line 476: As loose and Rampant as Dol Common.
[UK]Merry Maid of Islington 3: I am not the Blades Intelligencer, whether Doll and Moll remove their lodging to escape the Constable.
[UK]Otway Atheist Act V: Filthy, filthy; fulsom, filthy! What, be a Doll-Common, follow the Camp!
[UK] ‘A Satire on the Times’ Lover’s Pacquet 16: Here compass’d round with Dolls of Air and Pride, He takes by Turns, each willling Maid aside.
[UK]Oxford Jrnl 24 Feb. 1/1: So lost to Sense of Shame and Duty, / Doll came to Town to sell her Beauty. / [...] / The forlorn Wretch would walk the Strand / [...] / A Pot of Beer would buy Doll Common.
[UK]Kentish Gaz. 27 Aug. 2/1: These fine squeamish Madams [...] fall to the course dish with as good an appetite as any Doll Common .
[UK]H.D. Eastman Fast Man’s Directory 9: Mille Rosalee is a perfect doll.
[UK]Worcs. Chron. 31 May 4/1: She is only a Mauretanian Doll Common.
[UK]Manchester Courier 6 Jan. 6/1: Moll Flagon and Doll Common from Ratcliffe-highway, in coarse but not uncleanly attire.
[UK]W. Besant Orange Girl I 56: It is a place for sailors and their Dolls.
[US]C.B. Chrysler White Slavery 176: The Slaver [...] don’t care for the ‘cheap floosies;’ he is out after a ‘doll’ that he can get $300 for.
[US]D. Maurer ‘Prostitutes & Criminal Argots’ in Lang. Und. (1981) 117/1: bladder. An unattractive prostitute. Also [...] doll, [...] each expressing varying degrees of unattractiveness.
[US](con. 1950) E. Frankel Band of Brothers 61: This colored man, real nice guy who treated us good, gets Lock a doll.
[US] ‘Sugar Hill’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 93: I met a whore named Tina, a foxy kind of doll.
[Aus]‘Charles Barrett’ Address: Kings Cross 102: [W]hen the evening was over, he always chose a doll to take home with him. Rumour also whispered that, sometimes, he wanted the doll just for company and to increase his hair-raising reputation as a Casanova.
[US]S. Stallone Paradise Alley (1978) 55: C’mon, Doll, whatta ya savin’ ya brownie for, the worms?

2. a woman.

[UK]R. Davenport City-Night-Cap (1661) II 13: Farewell My chaste delitious Doll.
[UK] ‘A Dialogue betwixt Tom & Dick’ Rump Poems and Songs (1662) II 190: My Doll has sold her Wedding-ring, / And Sue has pawn’d her Coat.
[UK]S. Wesley Maggots 155: There’s Doll: who knows what mischief follows?
[UK] ‘A Twiggle & a Friz’ Garland of New Songs 8: There’s the painted doll, and the powder’d fop.
[UK]‘T.B. Jr’ Pettyfogger Dramatized II vi: What! vexed by a mere tiddy doll!
[US]T.G. Fessenden ‘Poetical Dialogue’ Poems 188: But sweet Miss Peggy, or Miss Pol, / Thou art a mighty pretty doll!
[UK]C.M. Westmacott Eng. Spy I 415: Mr. Elliston never casts me any thing but the sentimental dolls and la la ladies.
[UK]New Swell’s Night Guide to the Bowers of Venus 29: In this tenement soldiers and their dolls regale in max and backee.
[UK]A. Mayhew Paved with Gold 101: The insulting epithet of ‘doll’ was applied to every aged female.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor II 496/1: If it’s a lady and a gentleman, then we cries, ‘A toff and a doll!’.
[US]H.B. Stowe Poganuc People 304: She is [...] not one of the mere dolls that have no capability for anything but ribbons and laces.
[UK]Isle of Wight Obs. 6 June 5/5: Now, what shall I do with those dolls? [...] An uglier couple I never did see. Awful bore.
[US]O. Wister Lin McLean 108: A cow-puncher and himself discussing a couple of dolls.
[US]H. Green Maison De Shine 6: You had only to take one peek at that old doll’s face.
[US]E. O’Neill The Web in Ten ‘Lost’ Plays (1995) 53: Who said I was chasin’ any dolls?
[US]H.C. Witwer Smile A Minute 21: I then go over to see JEANNE, this here million dollar doll.
[US]D. Parker ‘Big Blonde’ Penguin Dorothy Parker (1982) 194: ‘Some dizzy blonde, eh?’ he would say. ‘Some doll.’.
[UK]G. Kersh Night and the City 120: For men in a car [...] just waiting for a . . . doll.
[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 273: Some dowdy old doll with a double chin.
[Aus]S.J. Baker in Sun. Herald (Sydney) 8 June 9/5: Other English incorporations [in Australian slang] include: [...] ‘doll,’ a female.
[Ire]J.P. Donleavy Ginger Man (1958) 35: When I’m [...] sacked in with some lovely French doll.
[Ire](con. 1940s) B. Behan Borstal Boy 310: In Scotland, all the old dolls in the place would be talking.
[US]C. Cooper Jr Syndicate (1998) 29: He spoke to a doll with very long but shapely legs.
[Aus]J. Wynnum I’m a Jack, All Right 15: It so happens that some dolls I met up with in Brisbane will be getting to Sydney tomorrow.
[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 20: One night at the Copa [...] All the wise guys ’n dolls was jammed in.
[Ire]J. Morrow Confessions of Proinsias O’Toole 81: It’s hard to listen to stuff like that – especially in a phone box with a queue of oul’ dolls glarin’ in.
[UK]M. Amis London Fields 269: Give me a taste. Come on, doll. Give me a taste.
[UK]I. Welsh Filth 38: I’ll give the auld doll this: she always made a good nosh-up.
[UK]I. Rankin Fleshmarket Close (2005) 56: ‘I like a doll with balls’.

3. (US) anything, or anyone, excellent, first-rate; also as adj.

[US]T. Haliburton Clockmaker (1843) I 115: I raised a four year old colt once [...] a real daisy, a perfect doll.
[US]T. Haliburton Sam Slick’s Wise Saws I 125: Aint she a doll? [a ship].
[UK]D. Lawley Hustling Hobo 254: [to a man] Oh! you beautiful doll, you great big-hic-beautiful doll. Some stage driver I guess. You bet I am!
[US]C.R. Bond 13 Feb. in A Flying Tiger’s Diary (1984) 99: Many had local girls. One was a real doll.
[US]W.R. Burnett Little Men, Big World 55: He’s only six weeks old, but look how big he is. And strong! He’s already grabbing at things, and swinging his fists at you. Ain’t he a doll-dear?
[US]F. Kohner Affairs of Gidget 48: Have doll of a weekend.
[UK]R.L. Pike Mute Witness (1997) 52: He’s a doll.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Spring 3: doll – someone cute and adorable.
[US]R. Price Clockers 429: Victor – a doll, a gentleman and a doll.

4. (US) a conceited or self-satisfied person.

[Aus](con. 1830s–60s) ‘Miles Franklin’ All That Swagger 294: The fellow from Government House is one of those flash dolls out from England who must have olives to eat.
[US]G. Underwood ‘Razorback Sl.’ in AS L:1/2 58: doll n Female who has a high estimation of herself but whom others do not think highly of.

5. a conventionally attractive young woman; occas. used of (homosexual) young men.

[US]Bill Murray’s American Quartet [song title] Oh, You Beautiful Doll!
[UK]C. Mackenzie Sinister Street I 167: Winnie with her grey eyes and ordinary hair [...] was certainly not comparable to this exquisite doll of his own.
[US]F.S. Fitzgerald This Side of Paradise in Bodley Head Scott Fitzgerald III (1960) 132: If a blonde girl doesn’t talk we call her a ‘doll’; if a light-haired man is silent he’s considered stupid.
[US]J. Callahan Man’s Grim Justice 142: She was keeping a big masculine doll on my money.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Breach of Promise’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 15: He picks up much law business there, and sometimes a nice doll.
[US]W.R. Burnett Asphalt Jungle in Four Novels (1984) 153: She was a doll — no doubt about it.
[US]‘Swasarnt Nerf’ et al. Gay Girl’s Guide 8: doll: [...] a beautiful kid.
[US]‘Swasarnt Nerf’ Gaedicker’s Sodom-on-the-Hudson 9: Very few of these Museumiteas will be found to have much similarity to the above-mentioned dolls.
[US]R. Prather Always Leave ’Em Dying 25: It was a woman, a doll, a sensational tomato who looked as if she’d just turned twenty-one.
[US]W. Burroughs Naked Lunch 166: [of boys] Oh you dolls, you great big beautiful dolls.
[US]H. Selby Jr Last Exit to Brooklyn (1966) 30: She looked like one of the show girls you see in some of the magazines [...] a real doll.
[US]A. James America’s Homosexual Underground 79: As for those young husbands, they’re dolls. Sweet little things who got married too soon.
[US]Sepe & Telano Cop Team 50: A shapely, good-looking doll of twenty-two years.
[Aus]Lette & Carey Puberty Blues 5: It was Darren Peters — the top surfing spunk of sixth form [...] ‘Oh Gord. What a doll’.
[UK]S. Berkoff Decadence in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 21: You’re a doll.
[Can]M. Atwood Cat’s Eye (1989) 235: Cordelia says, ‘That Gregory! What a hunk,’ and I say, ‘Of cheese.’ Cordelia gives me a hurt look. ‘I think he’s a doll.’.
[UK]I. Welsh Filth 26: Fuckin doll, I hear a voice in my ear.
[SA]K. Cage Gayle 66/2: doll n. 1. desirable man 2. term of endearment.

6. a general term of affection.

[US](con. 1948) G. Mandel Flee the Angry Strangers 255: It ain’t over yet, doll.
[UK]W. Manus Mott the Hoople 180: ‘What do you say, doll? Want to go upstairs?’ It was the B-girl, a big shtup of a blonde, sitting on my lap.
[UK]Observer Mag. 14 May 13: The man at the table next to us called his girlfriend ‘doll’.
[UK]A. Payne ‘Get Daley!’ Minder [TV script] 24: Thanks, doll.
[UK](con. 1950s) J. Byrne Slab Boys [film script] 10: No’ me, doll.
[UK]N. Griffiths Grits 106: Give us a smile then, doll. Tha looks raht miserubble.

7. (US) a person, a man.

[US]F. Kohner Gidget Goes Hawaiian 30: As we drove up to the main building, out stepped this manager doll.
[US]F. Kohner Affairs of Gidget 31: And I thought my old man was a libertine. Compared to this doll, Dr. Gottfried Hofer was a hard-shell Ammanite.

8. (S.Afr.) a term of affection.

[SA]CyberBraai Lex. at www.matriots.com [Internet] Doll: A term of affection between males and females, it is used mostly in the Johannesburg area. A corrupted form of ‘darling’, it will be heard thus: ‘Your turn to take out the dirtbin, Doll.’ ‘But I took it out it last time, Doll.’ ‘Well take the bladdy thing out again, Doll.’.

In compounds

doll baby (n.) [baby n. (3)] (US)

1. an attractive young woman; also as a term of address, sweetheart.

[US]G.W. Harris ‘Sut Lovingood’s Adventures in New York’ N.Y. Atlas XXI Aug. in Inge (1967) 138: A passel ove doll-babys, bonnets, caps [...] an’ purty wimmen.
[US]Harper’s Mag. XCII 808/2: I keep on looking just the same frivolous doll-baby [DA].
[US]L.W. Payne Jr ‘Word-List From East Alabama’ in DN III:iv 306: doll-baby, n. [...] 2. A sweetheart.
[US]Day Book (Chicago) 16 July 5/1: Judge Caverly fined husband $5 for assaulting a man who called his wife a ‘doll baby’.
[US]C. McKay Home to Harlem 91: Who’s the doll baby at the Wolf’s table?
[US]W. Smith Bessie Cotter 204: Don’t be bashful, doll-baby.
[US](con. 1948) G. Mandel Flee the Angry Strangers 30: Same to you, dollbaby.
[US]W. Styron Set This House on Fire 79: Lemme explain, dollbaby.
[US]W. Murray Sweet Ride 168: He’s a doll baby, now ain’t he?
[US]J. Stahl Permanent Midnight 22: Standing on my head beside my Deutschland doll-baby.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skinny Dip 265: Inez [...] says to me, ‘Doll baby, I’d love to hear it.’.
[US]T. Black Ringer [ebook] n.p.: I wipes the froth off my chops, goes: ‘What you doing here, doll?’.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

[US]J.G. Baldwin Flush Times of Alabama and Mississippi 42: She never had more than a thimbleful of brains in her doll-baby head .
[US]S.F. Call 10 June 11/3: They have less fear to overcome than the doll-baby type has.
[US]T.T. Chamales Never So Few (1958) 35: Don’t call them girls. They’re doll baby bitches to us.
[US]A. James America’s Homosexual Underground 81: One of those doll-baby, young husbands had complained.
doll city (n.) [-city sfx]

(US teen) of women, the act of being conventionally pretty.

[US]G. Sculatti Catalog of Cool [Internet] Doll City (adj): Physically attractive in a standard-issue way. ‘Those Hemingway chicks with the Brezhnev brows are Doll City. I’ll freeze.’.
doll common (n.)

see sense 1 above.

doll house (n.) [house n.1 (1)]

(US) a brothel; thus doll woman, a prostitute.

[Ire]Joyce Ulysses G429: Gaudy doll women loll in lighted doorways, in window embrasures, smoking birdseye cigarettes.
[US]N. Algren Walk on the Wild Side 196: Every one came to Dockry’s Dollhouse night after night.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

doll-rags (n.) [SE doll + rags, clothes; thus pieces small enough to make a doll’s wardrobe]

(US) small pieces.

[US]J. Corbin Cave Man 229: Why don’t you take your doll-rags and go home.
[US]L.W. Payne Jr ‘Word-List From East Alabama’ in DN III:iv 306: doll-rags, n. 1. Small pieces, bits. 2. Belongings, clothes. ‘I packed up my doll-rags and left.’.