Share this entry

doodle Line breaks: doo¦dle
Pronunciation: /ˈduːd(ə)l/

Definition of doodle in English:


[no object]
Scribble absent-mindedly: he was only doodling in the margin
More example sentences
  • I picked my pen up and began to draw her, absent-mindedly doodling in the margins of the paper.
  • Apparently, science just wasn't his thing, because he was scribbling and doodling all over the front page of his science book.
  • I sipped a coffee, my favourite blend, and doodled absent-mindedly on my notepad.


Back to top  
A rough drawing made absent-mindedly: the text was interspersed with doodles
More example sentences
  • In the notebook were pretty drawings, simple little doodles of simple little joys.
  • He stared down at the pages filled with notes, the margins empty of any sort of drawings or doodles.
  • She said: ‘I am delighted with the response I received, from simple doodles and sketches to more elaborate paintings.’


Early 17th century (originally as a noun denoting a fool, later as a verb in the sense 'make a fool of, cheat'): from Low German dudeltopf, dudeldopp 'simpleton'. Current senses date from the 1930s.

  • If you are a doodler, you may not be pleased to know that the original meaning of doodle was ‘a fool, a simpleton’. The word came from German dudeltopf or dudeldopp in the early 17th century. The modern senses, ‘to scribble absent-mindedly’ and ‘a rough drawing’, date from the 1930s. The Second World War doodlebug, or German V-1 flying bomb, may have got its name from the 1930s slang sense ‘a small car or railway locomotive’, or from the English dialect use ‘cockchafer’. A cockchafer is a large beetle which flies around slowly at dusk, making a deep hum.



Example sentences
  • ‘The ways of plain folk,’ he says, ‘is rich material for doodlers like me.’
  • And this at a time when, for a good century, art schools had been turning doodlers into artists.
  • Memories of my years as a childhood doodler resurface from time to time.

Words that rhyme with doodle

boodle, caboodle, canoodle, feudal, noodle, poodle, strudel, udal

Definition of doodle in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day fortissimo
Pronunciation: fɔːˈtɪsɪməʊ
(especially as a direction) very loud or loudly