Definition of dolly in US English:



  • 1A child's word for a doll.

    • ‘He said that he hoped I realised this was not a little dolly for me to dress up.’
    • ‘I whine like a little baby girl who just had her favorite dolly taken away from her.’
    • ‘IT'S going to be dolly warfare this Christmas, as dolls and character figures vie for top place in Santa's sack.’
    • ‘Each child got a present that had been chosen for them, and it was fabulous to see all of the little girls pushing their new dollies in their new dolly prams and the boys driving their remote control Hummers.’
    • ‘She jumped on mats that sang, put dollies to bed, chose a dolls' house to take home and finally she waited patiently next to her grandfather as two baskets of chocolate eggs were paid for; one for her and one for her baby brother.’
    • ‘In the letter, which was sent up the chimney on November 1, 1960, she asks Santa Claus for a jar, a bottle for her dolly, a stick with a balloon on it and a Rolls Royce dinky and a game of Ludo.’
    • ‘She loves pushing her dolly around on its buggy and playing with her brothers.’
    • ‘Without any prompting from anyone, the little girls got together and started playing with dollies.’
    • ‘She stands in her flowered patterned shorts giving her dolly its bottle.’
    • ‘She loved to play with her dollies.’
    • ‘A few years ago, I found myself on a typical Minnesota night, cozy between quilt and feather bed, peaceful as a dolly in a box.’
    • ‘She will play happily so long as the dolly is within her reach should she desire it.’
    puppet, marionette, figure, figurine, model
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1dated, informal An attractive and stylish young woman, usually with connotations of unintelligence.
      • ‘Whether they were their wives or some dolly they picked up along the way is unclear.’
      • ‘It has recently come to my attention that you have been spuriously promising your vast readership pictures of young dolly songbirds in a state of total undress.’
  • 2A small platform on wheels used for holding heavy objects, typically film or television cameras.

    • ‘She would just park herself on the end of a dolly and wait for us to re-light.’
    • ‘The camera dollies with Christian as he walks into Le Moulin Rouge, through the doors and down the aisle to the stage.’
    • ‘The town is all one set, and at the end of the film, when he dollies in on Doc Halliday's tombstone, he takes care to put a tiny wagon train heading west in the background of the shot.’
    • ‘He would ask me to do certain things on the set like move the dollies and be the water boy.’
    • ‘Nearly a quarter of the film's movement - dollies, crane shots - are synthetic.’
    • ‘Even parked on a dolly, the craft looks fierce, with a shallow, open hull that flares out into wings.’
    • ‘Some of them were friendly and even allowed the use of dollies to transport the books from the stacks to the check-out desk.’
    • ‘I wandered over and they were using a hammer and dolly on the car instead of replacing the door as we would in the West.’
    • ‘During the 60 second or so shot we are treated to a filming device where the camera is fixed on a rotating dolly of sorts along with the gypsy playing the violin.’
    • ‘Bungees on the wheels of a tow dolly is not going to fix the problem.’
    • ‘What I'm ultimately interested in is what this filmmaker has to say; I really couldn't care less about what he can do with a dolly and jib.’
    • ‘She watched as he wheeled the dolly over to the porch and stacked the boxes on the porch.’
    • ‘By this point he had won the trust and respect of the subjects of his documentary to such an extent that they also acted as crew members for him, rigging up makeshift lights and constructing dollies that would run on the existing tracks.’
    • ‘At one point he apparently even made use of a shopping trolley he found at the side of the road - and rode in it as a makeshift dolly.’
    • ‘He turned around and wheeled his dolly toward a stack of boxes.’
    • ‘It is a extended platform that the camera operator stands on while shooting from a camera dolly.’
    • ‘We decided the best way to do it would be to use a car as a dolly.’
    • ‘There is no better view of the Colosseum than the circular dolly shot, as you lean into the curve with the throttle open.’
    • ‘She watched as three more workers lent a hand and got the grand piano off of the platform dolly and removed the layers of bubble wrap and shrink-wrap.’
    • ‘The camera dollies in slightly, then cuts to a close-up of her and tilts down to the page, upon which she is drawing crude crosses in red ink.’
  • 3historical A short wooden pole for stirring clothes in a washtub.


  • no object, with adverbial of direction (of a film or television camera) be moved on a mobile platform in a specified direction.

    ‘the camera dollies back to reveal hundreds of people’
    • ‘He dollies the camera across sparse prison sets.’
    • ‘Move with your camera and take tracking or dollying shots.’
    • ‘The student's march is filmed in a playful series of dolly shots which alternately follow and move ahead of the squad.’
    • ‘There is a dolly shot that pans out from the room where Blake is recording some music, and it gently keeps panning out.’
    • ‘I can only speculate that exterior locations discourage this camera movement, since in practice it is usually accomplished by dollying out, which is easier to do on studio floors but would always require laying tracks in an exterior.’
    • ‘The camera dollies back to reveal a large flashlight in the foreground, similar to what a security guard might carry on his nightly rounds.’
    • ‘Finally I want to exclude widescreen films (which were phased in in 1953 and 1954), on the theory that they initially reduced the perceived need for panning and dollying.’
    • ‘He shoots in lush 35 mm for once, dollying his camera around at just the right moments and placing his lens at just the right length for maximum suspense.’
    • ‘He uses his narrative's inherent elasticity to open perspective and depth of field naturally, then skillfully dollies around and pans in and out of larger contexts as illuminating backdrop for his two odd couples.’
    • ‘The camera's frequent slow dollies backwards, from a small detail to the wider scene, echo the plot's revelations and the inexorability of fate.’
    • ‘It's a fast-paced 84 minutes, and several of the dolly shots are quite impressive.’
    • ‘Obviously, the size and capacity of the safe determines its weight, but you want one that cannot be easily dollied.’
    • ‘He begins talking to himself at home as the camera dollies in.’