dol·​ly | \ ˈdä-lē How to pronounce dolly (audio) , ˈdȯ-lē \
plural dollies

Definition of dolly

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : doll
2 : a wooden-pronged instrument for beating and stirring clothes in the process of washing them in a tub
3 : a compact narrow-gauge railroad locomotive for moving construction trains and for switching
4a : a platform on a roller or on wheels or casters for moving heavy objects
b : a wheeled platform for a television or motion-picture camera


dollied; dollying

Definition of dolly (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to treat with a dolly
2 : to move or convey on a dolly

intransitive verb

: to move a motion-picture or television camera about on a dolly while shooting a scene also, of a camera : to be moved on a dolly

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Synonyms for dolly

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of dolly in a Sentence

Noun We'll need a dolly to move the refrigerator. my kid sister was always playing with her dollies
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Her body sways backward and forward like a rocking horse being pulled along on a dolly. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, "The Last Giraffes on Earth," 13 Mar. 2020 All day, motorcycle deliverymen handed off items to the security guards, who trundled through the compound’s grounds with dollies and shopping carts, dropping off boxes and bags. Peter Hessler, The New Yorker, "Life on Lockdown in China," 23 Mar. 2020 Neewer dolly For smooth, sideways motion—or to move a shot closer or further from without a zoom lens—get a dolly. Billy Cadden, Popular Science, "Gear to make better movies on your smartphone," 19 Nov. 2019 Sets already have ramps for wheeled dollies, and they can easily be added in front of portable bathrooms and other elevated areas as well. Rebecca Sun, The Hollywood Reporter, "Media Access Awards Releases Best Practices Guide for Hiring Writers With Disabilities," 16 Oct. 2019 The dolly allows you to stretch and strengthen all four abdominal muscles while simultaneously training your upper and lower body. NBC News, "10 core exercises better for your back (and body) than crunches," 16 Jan. 2018 For more than two decades, the factory has seen growth in its business making stainless steel racks, metal dolly carts and display signs, including ones for Volvo (the company has Swedish investment). David Pierson,, "Vietnam strains to reap the rewards of the U.S.-China trade war," 12 July 2019 Note to launch at Putah Creek, a tow dolly helps plenty to get your kayak down to the water’s edge. Tom Stienstra,, "Everything you need to know to visit Lake Berryessa in fall," 18 Oct. 2019 Carts, dollies, buckets, trestle tables, and concertina platforms are rolled around the open floors in a complex yet orderly choreography. Eve Macsweeney, Vogue, "Will MoMA’s New Commissions Make the Museum Modern Again?," 7 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dolly.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dolly


1790, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1878, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Time Traveler for dolly

Time Traveler

The first known use of dolly was in 1790

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Cite this Entry

“Dolly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for dolly


How to pronounce dolly (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of dolly

: a child's toy doll
: a piece of equipment that has wheels and that is used for moving heavy objects


\ ˈdä-lē How to pronounce dolly (audio) \
plural dollies

Kids Definition of dolly

2 : a platform on a roller or on wheels for moving heavy things

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More from Merriam-Webster on dolly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dolly

Nglish: Translation of dolly for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about dolly

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