Definition of dado in English:



  • 1The lower part of the wall of a room, below about waist height, when decorated differently from the upper part.

    • ‘In this period wallpapers were conceived as an ensemble of three parts: the paper used on the dado, the paper from the dado to ceiling border (known as fill), and the border, or frieze.’
    • ‘The room had dark wood panelling, cream paint above the dado, a muted silver ceiling, and comfortably padded brown leather chairs.’
    • ‘The ceiling was enormously high with elaborate plasterwork round the remains of a nonexistent chandelier and an opulent floral dado.’
    • ‘This technique is best used on doors, paneling, dados, baseboards and also as a subtle wall finish.’
    • ‘Wallcovering which covers the lower part of the wall, or dado, and ending at the chair rail height.’
    1. 1.1
      ‘dados were fixed to the wall to protect the plaster’
      short for dado rail
      • ‘In its two hundred-odd rooms gold leaf covered every dado, while solid marble flagged every floor.’
      • ‘The hall has black and white marble floor tiles, with shades of red above and below the dado.’
      • ‘The hall teams a pale oatmeal carpet with yellow tones above and below the dado, plain coving and stylish pendant lighting.’
      • ‘Inside the hallway is elegantly proportioned, with ornate plasterwork and a dado dividing the coffee and cream colour scheme.’
  • 2North American A groove cut in the face of a board, into which the edge of another board is fixed.

    as modifier ‘a dado joint’
    • ‘Check your plans for the exact location of the dado cuts.’
    • ‘Use a framing square to draw a line on the outside of the plywood for each dado joint so when finishing nails are used they will penetrate the shelves and not be visible on the inside.’
    • ‘Cut a replacement tread and insert it into the dados in the stringers.’
    • ‘Check the plans for the specified depth and thickness of all your dado and rabbet cuts.’
    • ‘Guide wood along the blade to make the dado grooves.’
  • 3Architecture
    The part of a pedestal between the base and the cornice.

    • ‘We are therefore reminded of a pedestal of which the base, dado and cornice were alike, wholly clad in bronze.’


Mid 17th century (denoting the main part of a pedestal, above the base): from Italian, literally ‘dice or cube’, from Latin datum ‘something given, starting point’ (see datum).