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  1. amounting to very little; trifling; negligible: a piddling sum of money.
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Origin of piddling

First recorded in 1550–60; piddle + -ing2


See more synonyms for piddling on Thesaurus.com
trivial, insignificant, paltry, picayune.


verb (used without object), pid·dled, pid·dling.
  1. to spend time in a wasteful, trifling, or ineffective way; dawdle (often followed by around): He wasted the day piddling around.
  2. Informal. (especially of children and pets) to urinate.
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verb (used with object), pid·dled, pid·dling.
  1. to waste (time, money, etc.); fail to utilize (usually followed by away).
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Origin of piddle

First recorded in 1535–45; origin uncertain
Related formspid·dler, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for piddling


  1. informal petty; trifling; trivial
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Derived Formspiddlingly, adverb


  1. (intr) informal to urinate
  2. (when tr, often foll by away) to spend (one's time) aimlessly; fritter
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Derived Formspiddler, noun

Word Origin

C16: origin unknown
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

Word Origin and History for piddling


"insignificant, trifling," 1550s, past participle adjective from piddle (v.).

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1540s, "to peddle, to work in a trifling way," of uncertain origin, apparently a frequentative form. Meaning "to pick at one's food" is from 1610s; that of "urinate" is from 1796. Related: Piddled; piddler; piddling.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper