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[dood-l] /ˈdud l/
verb (used with or without object), doodled, doodling.
to draw or scribble idly:
He doodled during the whole lecture.
to waste (time) in aimless or foolish activity.
Dialect. to deceive; cheat.
a design, figure, or the like, made by idle scribbling.
Archaic. a foolish or silly person.
Origin of doodle1
1625-30 in archaic sense “a fool”; 1935-40 in current senses; compare Low German dudeltopf simpleton
Related forms
doodler, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for doodling
Historical Examples
  • "Why—its like some of the designs in his doodling," he exclaimed.

    The 4-D Doodler Graph Waldeyer
  • Perry looked at the table, doodling in the puddles of beer with a fingertip.


    Cory Doctorow
  • Don't mind my doodling either—see the border I drew around your true name while I daydreamed and my pen was thinking for me?

  • Handy Sam, with one foot up on the table and a pencil between his toes, was doodling self-consciously on a paper napkin.

    At the Post Horace Leonard Gold
  • When he got back to Tortha Karf's office, the Chief was awake, and doodling on his notepad with his multicolor pen.

    Time Crime H. Beam Piper
  • Vall looked at the pad and winced; the Chief was doodling bugs again—red ants with black legs, and blue-and-green beetles.

    Time Crime H. Beam Piper
British Dictionary definitions for doodling


to scribble or draw aimlessly
to play or improvise idly
(US) (intransitive) often foll by away. to dawdle or waste time
a shape, picture, etc, drawn aimlessly
Derived Forms
doodler, noun
Word Origin
C20: perhaps from C17 doodle a foolish person, but influenced in meaning by dawdle; compare Low German dudeltopf simpleton
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for doodling



"scrawl aimlessly," 1935, from dialectal doodle, dudle "fritter away time, trifle," or associated with dawdle. It was a noun meaning "simple fellow" from 1620s.

LONGFELLOW: That's a name we made up back home for people who make foolish designs on paper when they're thinking. It's called doodling. Almost everybody's a doodler. Did you ever see a scratch pad in a telephone booth? People draw the most idiotic pictures when they're thinking. Dr. Von Holler, here, could probably think up a long name for it, because he doodles all the time. ["Mr. Deeds Goes to Town," screenplay by Robert Riskin, 1936; based on "Opera Hat," serialized in "American Magazine" beginning May 1935, by Clarence Aldington Kelland]
Related: Doodled; Doodling.
Doodle Sack. A bagpipe. Dutch. -- Also the private parts of a woman. ["Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," 1796]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for doodling



Idle playing; fool around, noodling: When Sinatra entered the wings, the doodling ceased (1970s+)



  1. Wretched material; shit: How can he write such doodle?
  2. The penis •A child's term (1780s+)


  1. To cheat; swindle; diddle (1823+)
  2. To make drawings and patterns while sitting at a meeting, talking on the telephone, etc: From your doodling, the shrink sees what's in your noodle (1935+)
  3. To defecate •Also doo-doo: dog doodled in the yard

Related Terms

dipsy-doodle, whangdoodle, whoop-de-do

[second sense apparently coined by Robert Riskin, screenwriter for the movie Mr Deeds Goes to Town; third sense perhaps fr doo, childish word for ''shit'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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