AskDefine | Define doll

Dictionary Definition



1 a small replica of a person; used as a toy [syn: dolly]
2 informal terms for a (young) woman [syn: dame, wench, skirt, chick, bird]

User Contributed Dictionary

see Doll



From Doll, a popular pet form of Dorothy.



  1. A toy in the form of a human.
  2. Used to refer to or address a woman.
  3. A term of endearment (ie. darling).

Derived terms


a toy in the form of a human




Extensive Definition

A doll is a child's toy that represents a baby or other human being, but includes likenesses of animals and imaginary creatures. Dolls have been around since the dawn of human civilization, and have been fashioned from a vast array of materials, ranging from stone, clay, wood, bone, cloth and paper, to porcelain, china, rubber and plastic.
While dolls have traditionally been toys for children, they are also collected by adults, for their nostalgic value, beauty, historical importance or financial value. In ancient times, dolls were used as representations of a deity, and played a central role in religious ceremonies and rituals. Lifelike or anatomically correct dolls are used by health professionals, medical schools and social workers to train doctors and nurses in various health procedures or investigate cases of sexual abuse of children. Artists sometimes use jointed wooden mannequins in drawing the human figure. Action figures representing superheroes and their predecessors, action dolls, are particularly popular among boys. Baby dolls, paper dolls, talking dolls, fashion dolls - the list is almost endless.


Archaeological evidence places dolls as foremost candidate for oldest known toy, having been found in Egyptian tombs which date to as early as 2000 BC. In Egypt, as well as Greece and Rome, it was common to find them in the graves of children. Most were made of wood, although pottery dolls were buried with children from wealthier families. Dolls with movable limbs and removable clothing date back to 200 BCE.
Europe later became the center of dollmaking. In the United States, dollmaking became an industry in the 1860s, after the Civil War. The development of plastics after World War II led to the manufacture of new types of dolls and brought down their price.
Today, the Internet has introduced virtual dolls which can be designed, dressed up, and played with on web sites such as Stardoll, which has 17 million members.
Dolls have featured in modern art and fine art photography, notably in surrealist works. The "evil doll" has been a feature of horror literature, horror films and animation since the 1950s.


Antique dolls have become collector's items. Nineteeth-century bisque dolls made by French manufacturers such as Bru and Jumeau may be worth almost $22,000 today. Sporting event give-away bobblehead dolls and action figures from McFarlane Toys have also become popular collector's items.

Dolls as art

Dolls have always been created as folk art in cultures around the globe, and in the 20th century, dolls began to be accepted as high art. Artist Hans Bellmer made surrealistic dolls that had interchangable limbs in 1930s and 1940s Germany as opposition to the Nazi party's idolization of a perfect Aryan body. East Village artist Greer Lankton became famous in the 1980s for her theatrical window displays using lifesize dolls and took the art of doll making to a new level, creating distressed, drug addicted, anorexic and mutant dolls charged with an edgy sexuality.

Famous types of dolls

Festivals and Exhibits

Doll museums and collections


History of paper dolls -

External links

doll in Bulgarian: Кукла
doll in Catalan: Ninot
doll in Danish: Dukke
doll in German: Puppe
doll in Spanish: Muñeca
doll in Esperanto: Pupo
doll in Persian: عروسک
doll in French: Poupée
doll in Ido: Pupeo
doll in Indonesian: Boneka
doll in Italian: Bambola
doll in Hebrew: בובה
doll in Latin: Pupa
doll in Dutch: Pop (speelgoed)
doll in Japanese: 人形
doll in Norwegian: Dukke
doll in Polish: Lalka (figurka)
doll in Portuguese: Boneca
doll in Quechua: Urpu
doll in Russian: Кукла
doll in Finnish: Nukke
doll in Swedish: Docka (leksak)
doll in Thai: ตุ๊กตา
doll in Ukrainian: Лялька
doll in Vlaams: Puppe
doll in Chinese: 娃娃

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Elzevir, Jane, agate, angel, babe, baby, baby-doll, ball, baseball bat, bat, battledore, bauble, biddy, bird, bitch, blocks, brick, broad, bust, buttercup, carving, checkerboard, cherub, chessboard, chick, chickabiddy, club, cockhorse, colleen, crackerjack, cricket bat, cue, cutie, dame, damoiselle, damsel, darling, dear, deary, demoiselle, doll carriage, dolly, duck, duckling, dummy, duodecimo, fantoccini, figure, figurehead, figurine, filly, frail, gal, gewgaw, gimcrack, gingerbread man, girl, girlie, golf club, good Joe, good egg, good guy, heifer, hen, hobbyhorse, hon, honey, honey bunch, honey child, hoyden, jack-in-the-box, jacks, jackstones, jackstraws, jeune fille, jill, junior miss, kickshaw, knickknack, lamb, lambkin, lass, lassie, lay figure, likely lad, little missy, love, lover, mademoiselle, maid, maiden, man of straw, manikin, mannequin, marble, marionette, microcosm, mig, mini, miniature, minny, minx, miss, missy, model, monument, nice guy, no slouch, nymphet, paper doll, pet, petkins, pick-up sticks, piece, pinwheel, plaything, portrait bust, precious, precious heart, puppet, pussycat, racket, rag doll, rocking horse, romp, scarecrow, schoolgirl, schoolmaid, schoolmiss, sculpture, skirt, slip, snookums, snowman, sport, statuary, statue, statuette, steelie, stout fellow, subdeb, subdebutante, subminiature, subteen, subteener, sugar, sweet, sweetheart, sweetie, sweetkins, sweets, taw, teenybopper, teetotum, tomato, tomboy, top, toy, toy soldier, trinket, trump, twelvemo, virgin, wax figure, waxwork, wench, whim-wham, wood carving, young creature, young thing
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