- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- to scribble or draw aimlessly
- to play or improvise idly
- (intr often foll by away) US to dawdle or waste time
- a shape, picture, etc, drawn aimlessly
Word Origin for doodle
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
"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