An antimacassar is so named to keep Macassar’s hair cream for men off of upholstered furniture — where the man’s head rests on the back and where his hands, which touch his head, touch the arms of the chair or sofa. The shape, be it rectangular or otherwise, has absolutely nothing to do with the name. It is “anti”/against-Macassar’s hair cream. The point is that the antimacassar can easily be unpinned and laundered. They were also informally referred to as “tidies,” because they kept the upholstery tidy -- another infrequently used word these days. Doilies are usually round, but not nearly always, and they’re normally used on various sorts of large and smaller occasional tables, but also on dressers, chests of drawers, or vanities, even on shelves of china cabinets or étagères. I was around in time to get the information at firsthand. I’m 76 and still use antimacassars my grandmother and other relatives made 80 and 90 years ago, and they're still in mint condition. My inherited doilies, some embroidered on linen with crocheted edging, have been made into a collage and framed. Feel free to google for information if in doubt. I grew up surrounded by elderly ladies of the Victorian period, and they all did various forms of “fancy work”: crochet, tatting, needle point, embroidery, lace making, cut work, crewel work, and so on. However, if it was pinned to furniture to keep it clean, whether on the arms or back, it was an “antimacassar,” and so it remains, independent of shape. Most people don’t even know the word any longer, let alone its etymology, so misinformation is rife. When wondering about something old, ask someone who is old. Those of us who are still sound of mind are your best source of information. Hoping you find this helpful, I remain . . .