Definition of decal in US English:



  • A design prepared on special paper for transfer onto another surface such as glass, porcelain, or metal.

    • ‘Especially compelling were the bathrooms, where colorful decals and objects extended from the more public washing areas into the stalls themselves.’
    • ‘We asked participants if they were wearing any reflective or fluorescent clothing or other articles such as a jacket, vest, apron, sash, ankle or wrist band, or back pack including stripes, decals, or strips.’
    • ‘Fontaine said it has already been proven to be an effective deterrent against car thefts because thieves see the decals and know that police are likely to stop vehicles if they see them being driven late at night or early morning.’
    • ‘A lovely t-shirt from hip shop ‘Plum’ with a decal of a graffiti artist spray painted onto the shirt.’
    • ‘Painted blue and white, with rotors on roof and bootlid and daubed with sponsor's decals, the four drove out of the St Mary's League's Club carpark on Saturday, August 2.’
    • ‘Hologram decals aren't all that expensive, and could be applied after printing if need be.’
    • ‘Although meticulously handpainted, the glossy images have a machine-made look, as if they were, say, transfer decals or press-on tattoos.’
    • ‘In addition, vinegar can be used to remove price labels and other decals from glass, wood, and china.’
    • ‘Stella wore her favorite jeans with the big butterfly decals on the legs.’
    • ‘Nearby, Mike Martin showed his N-scale PM locomotive roster, applying decals to an E7 as I watched in awe of his precise results on such a small model.’
    • ‘The hot rod was plastered with decals, among them some that reproduced the paintings on the wall.’
    • ‘You can easily personalize the look of your car's floors with floor mats embellished with logos, decals, prints and even embroidery.’
    • ‘Other bold steps you'll see more of this summer: shimmery brights, and playful touches such as toe rings and artful decals you can apply on top of your pedicure.’
    • ‘On a simple shelf affixed to the gallery wall near the figure he placed six large votive candles, each decorated with a photographic decal portraying the artist in the jester's costume.’
    • ‘The paint was carefully matched, and all original decals and stencils were applied.’
    • ‘Updated New Yorkers are complaining about a flood of butterfly advertising decals being pasted to every available surface in town to promote MSN - 8, the New York Times reports.’
    • ‘In 1970, I worked for a while for an outfit called Marvelmania International, which was selling posters and decals and other merchandise of the Marvel characters.’
    • ‘The Mini Web site is 22% more fun than the Porsche site, mostly because you can customize your own Mini with flame decals.’
    • ‘When it finally emerged from the wreckage, the car was still wearing its 1987 racing livery, numbers and sponsors' decals, and in a totally original form.’
    • ‘I used to put the decals on the paper covers of my school books.’


1950s: abbreviation of decalcomania.