Photo of author


An antimacassar is a piece of cloth or a doily attached to the back of a sofa or armchair, and on the arms of a sofa or armchair, to protect the upholstery from dirt and grease. The word antimacassar was coined in 1852, from the prefix anti– and the name Macassar, a brand name of an oily hair tonic that was imported from Macassar on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. With the advent of easily cleanable upholstery fabrics and the wane of hair grease, antimacassars have generally fallen into disuse. Occasionally, antimacassar is found hyphenated, as anti-macassar.


Just in time, the randy page dives into a closet or under some antimacassar or another convenient hiding place. (The Guardian)

In the well-papered living-room and behind the antimacassar lay the dark seething forces of madness, bigamy, poison and murder. (The Independent)

My parents have the same lounge suite they bought in 1975. (Chintzy, ordinary, with an antimacassar over the back of one chair to protect it from Dad’s Brylcreem). (The New Zealand Herald)

Many of its products are tongue-in-cheek takes on local culture, including a line of leather handbags made to resemble the 75-cent plastic carryalls toted by the city’s domestic helpers and squashy bean-bag chairs meant to mimic the antimacassar-clad armchairs favored by China’s Communist premiers. (Time Magazine)

It’s like a large splatter of blood on a Victorian antimacassar. (The Financial Times)

My grandfather was a Brylcreem man, and the antimacassar on his Parker Knoll armchair — a high-backed number with wings for him to snooze against — was not merely decorative. (The New York Times)

And the photographer always ensured the coach was pictured so you could clearly see that every passenger seat had its own freshly ironed cream linen antimacassar. (The Derby Telegraph)