Definition of doodle in English:



  • Scribble absent-mindedly.

    ‘he was only doodling in the margin’
    • ‘With her right hand she doodled absent-mindedly on the edge of her mother's precious newspaper.’
    • ‘Because she's not directly in front of me, I can see that's she's doodling something in her notebook.’
    • ‘I was actually doodling in the margins of my paper and writing.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I go back to doodling mini cheerleaders on my notepad.’
    • ‘Feeling kind of bored I pulled a pen out of my backpack and began doodling a little star on the inside of my wrist.’
    • ‘Thinking back, he vaguely remembered writing or doodling something while not paying attention to the lesson.’
    • ‘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 was in my global history class and doodling her name again and again on the outside of my hands, until they looked rather messy.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 still peeved at myself for doodling hearts all over my paper, even if I was daydreaming.’
    • ‘I sipped a coffee, my favourite blend, and doodled absent-mindedly on my notepad.’
    • ‘In each piece, he combines and stacks images much as one would do when doodling in the margins of notebook.’
    • ‘Instead of doodling your crush's name on your binder, whip through those math problems that are due tomorrow.’
    • ‘So I sat at my desk and doodled a couple of pictures.’
    • ‘After listening to the teacher drone on for about five minutes, she grew bored and began doodling in the margins of her paper.’
    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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It looks like doodles he dashed off when he was a teenager.’
    • ‘This book held all of his doodles, sketches, and documentations on the many floras and faunas of the worlds he trekked.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In drawings that seem as impromptu as doodles, he banished imagery as well as traditional graphic gesture.’
    • ‘She spent most of her class time drawing incredibly complicated and ornate doodles on the covers of her class binders.’
    • ‘But a collection of doodles, sketches and self-portraits by more than 40 celebrities are proving to be a big draw in Salford.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She said: ‘I am delighted with the response I received, from simple doodles and sketches to more elaborate paintings.’’
    • ‘But about two-thirds of this book is filler, page after page of mildly amusing caricatures of political figures, doodles and sketches.’
    • ‘In the notebook were pretty drawings, simple little doodles of simple little joys.’
    • ‘They weren't bad, but struck me as doodles, sketch book observations that have their own merit but lack a certain oomph.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Many are illustrated with sketches and doodles.’
    • ‘In animation, ideas start with doodles and you arrive at visually interesting things that way.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He stared down at the pages filled with notes, the margins empty of any sort of drawings or 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.’
    • ‘They showed the same concern with graffiti, T-shirt designs, doe-eyed cartoon figures, cute toys, robots and illustrations based on whimsical doodles.’
    • ‘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.’


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.