Definition of doodle in English:



  • Scribble absentmindedly.

    ‘he was only doodling in the margin’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In each piece, he combines and stacks images much as one would do when doodling in the margins of notebook.’
    • ‘With her right hand she doodled absent-mindedly on the edge of her mother's precious newspaper.’
    • ‘So I sat at my desk and doodled a couple of pictures.’
    • ‘Thinking back, he vaguely remembered writing or doodling something while not paying attention to the lesson.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I go back to doodling mini cheerleaders on my notepad.’
    • ‘I picked up a pen and started doodling absently on notebook paper.’
    • ‘I look up from my math notebook where I'm doodling a duck.’
    • ‘After listening to the teacher drone on for about five minutes, she grew bored and began doodling in the margins of her paper.’
    • ‘I sipped a coffee, my favourite blend, and doodled absent-mindedly on my notepad.’
    • ‘Because she's not directly in front of me, I can see that's she's doodling something in her notebook.’
    • ‘I was still peeved at myself for doodling hearts all over my paper, even if I was daydreaming.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Ever since then, I was always doodling in the margins of my papers or in spare notebooks.’
    • ‘I picked my pen up and began to draw her, absent-mindedly doodling in the margins of the paper.’
    • ‘I was actually doodling in the margins of my paper and writing.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Apparently, science just wasn't his thing, because he was scribbling and doodling all over the front page of his science book.’
    write hurriedly, write untidily, write illegibly, scratch, scrawl, dash off, jot, jot down
    View synonyms


  • A rough drawing made absentmindedly.

    • ‘But a collection of doodles, sketches and self-portraits by more than 40 celebrities are proving to be a big draw in Salford.’
    • ‘Many are illustrated with sketches and doodles.’
    • ‘It looks like doodles he dashed off when he was a teenager.’
    • ‘In the notebook were pretty drawings, simple little doodles of simple little joys.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She spent most of her class time drawing incredibly complicated and ornate doodles on the covers of her class binders.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But about two-thirds of this book is filler, page after page of mildly amusing caricatures of political figures, doodles and sketches.’
    • ‘He stared down at the pages filled with notes, the margins empty of any sort of drawings or doodles.’
    • ‘In animation, ideas start with doodles and you arrive at visually interesting things that way.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She said: ‘I am delighted with the response I received, from simple doodles and sketches to more elaborate paintings.’’
    • ‘This book held all of his doodles, sketches, and documentations on the many floras and faunas of the worlds he trekked.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 showed the same concern with graffiti, T-shirt designs, doe-eyed cartoon figures, cute toys, robots and illustrations based on whimsical doodles.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 weren't bad, but struck me as doodles, sketch book observations that have their own merit but lack a certain oomph.’


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.