Definition of doodle in English:



[no object]
  • Scribble absent-mindedly.

    ‘he was only doodling in the margin’
    • ‘Ever since then, I was always doodling in the margins of my papers or in spare notebooks.’
    • ‘I look up from my math notebook where I'm doodling a duck.’
    • ‘I sipped a coffee, my favourite blend, and doodled absent-mindedly on my notepad.’
    • ‘With her right hand she doodled absent-mindedly on the edge of her mother's precious newspaper.’
    • ‘I picked my pen up and began to draw her, absent-mindedly doodling in the margins of the paper.’
    • ‘Since I had maybe five minutes before the late bell rang, I pulled out a piece of paper and started doodling random things on it.’
    • ‘I go back to doodling mini cheerleaders on my notepad.’
    • ‘I was still peeved at myself for doodling hearts all over my paper, even if I was daydreaming.’
    • ‘I was actually doodling in the margins of my paper and writing.’
    • ‘After listening to the teacher drone on for about five minutes, she grew bored and began doodling in the margins of her paper.’
    • ‘Because she's not directly in front of me, I can see that's she's doodling something in her notebook.’
    • ‘Instead of doodling your crush's name on your binder, whip through those math problems that are due tomorrow.’
    • ‘Feeling kind of bored I pulled a pen out of my backpack and began doodling a little star on the inside of my wrist.’
    • ‘So I sat at my desk and doodled a couple of pictures.’
    • ‘Apparently, science just wasn't his thing, because he was scribbling and doodling all over the front page of his science book.’
    • ‘I picked up a pen and started doodling absently on notebook paper.’
    • ‘I was in my global history class and doodling her name again and again on the outside of my hands, until they looked rather messy.’
    • ‘So far, I had doodled pictures of my bagel that sat uneaten in front of me, my old house, and the cover of my ‘Christianity in Youth’ book that sat next to me.’
    • ‘In each piece, he combines and stacks images much as one would do when doodling in the margins of notebook.’
    • ‘Thinking back, he vaguely remembered writing or doodling something while not paying attention to the lesson.’
    write hurriedly, write untidily, write illegibly, scratch, scrawl, dash off, jot, jot down
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  • A rough drawing made absent-mindedly.

    ‘the text was interspersed with doodles’
    • ‘It looks like doodles he dashed off when he was a teenager.’
    • ‘As part of the leaving festivities, she privately published and presented to her colleagues a book of sketches and doodles made during the many faculty meetings she was obliged to attend.’
    • ‘Likewise, the designers of tomorrow are all around us - in our schools, our churches, or up in their bedrooms, lost in their own worlds of sketches and doodles.’
    • ‘He made a face at her before settling in his seat and happened to glance at her notebook, half a page of which was full of doodles and sketches.’
    • ‘At a certain point I determined that pretty much everything I was thinking about was pretty unadventurous and everyone knew it already so I kind of left my sketches and doodles aside and only fiddled with them when no one was looking.’
    • ‘In drawings that seem as impromptu as doodles, he banished imagery as well as traditional graphic gesture.’
    • ‘It might be helpful if you would consider keeping a journal of your thoughts and feelings, or saving your doodles and sketches for me to look at.’
    • ‘They weren't bad, but struck me as doodles, sketch book observations that have their own merit but lack a certain oomph.’
    • ‘She spent most of her class time drawing incredibly complicated and ornate doodles on the covers of her class binders.’
    • ‘He stared down at the pages filled with notes, the margins empty of any sort of drawings or doodles.’
    • ‘Many are illustrated with sketches and doodles.’
    • ‘This book held all of his doodles, sketches, and documentations on the many floras and faunas of the worlds he trekked.’
    • ‘In the notebook were pretty drawings, simple little doodles of simple little joys.’
    • ‘Illustrated by photographs, this part renders an endearing picture of the artist, illuminated by notes from his personal journal and his first sketches and doodles.’
    • ‘In animation, ideas start with doodles and you arrive at visually interesting things that way.’
    • ‘But about two-thirds of this book is filler, page after page of mildly amusing caricatures of political figures, doodles and sketches.’
    • ‘But a collection of doodles, sketches and self-portraits by more than 40 celebrities are proving to be a big draw in Salford.’
    • ‘They showed the same concern with graffiti, T-shirt designs, doe-eyed cartoon figures, cute toys, robots and illustrations based on whimsical doodles.’
    • ‘The blue bags of classified memos, records, reports, executive doodles, and whatever are dumped into the back of the truck, where a growling metal contraption devours a half-ton of paper an hour.’
    • ‘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.