Definition of doodlebug in US English:



  • 1North American The larva of an ant lion.

    • ‘I was so fascinated by ants, wasps, and doodlebugs that I would have squatted in the road all day too, but unfortunately I did not inherit the slow gene.’
    • ‘One guy ate doodlebugs and another packed mud in his pants.’
  • 2US An unscientific device for locating oil or minerals; a divining rod.

  • 3British

    another term for V-1
    • ‘The doodlebug's flaming engine cut out and it turned to glide in our direction.’
    • ‘In the woolly, soft-focused world of Britain's public information business, the answer seems no less obscure than in those hazy, black - and-white days of the doodlebug.’
    • ‘Ack-ack guns were operated by women for the first time in the war, preventing many home strikes by doodlebugs and the Luftwaffe.’
    • ‘Under the van Mr King was holding his head in his hands as a one-metre section of the doodlebug embedded itself in the vehicle.’
    • ‘And that was dreadful, because we were bombarded with these doodlebugs and we were instructed during the night.’
    • ‘Born in 1930, Pinter was old enough to see and remember fascist actions in the East End and, of course, to be around when fascism stopped marching and started dropping bombs and launching doodlebugs.’
    • ‘We were free - no more bombs, doodlebugs or air raid sirens.’
    • ‘The doodlebug bomb which hit Harrington Road and destroyed the Albert Tavern on July 9, 1944, was the 78th out of 142 V1s to strike Croydon.’
    • ‘Originally set in a military hospital during the Blitz in 1941, the film relocates the action to a civilian emergency hospital during the doodlebug campaign of 1944.’
    • ‘He quotes from the diary: ‘a doodlebug comes over our bus and we all crouch down to avoid the shattering of the window-glass.’’
    • ‘The old doodlebugs which we feared are toys by comparison.’
    • ‘‘One night we held our breath as a doodlebug putt-putted overhead,’ said Sheila.’
    • ‘The device was the notorious doodlebug, or buzz bomb.’
    • ‘Londoners under attack would come to know it as the doodlebug or buzz bomb, so called for the mechanical hum it made before dropping on its target.’
    • ‘In many ways the crowd at a football match is like a World War Two doodlebug - it's when it stops making a noise that those on the ground should panic.’
    • ‘So began London's doodlebug summer, with more than 2000 flying bombs launched from occupied France creating sudden havoc and destruction, especially across the south and east of the city.’
    • ‘Its father handed him to Mr King, then a 15-year-old bread delivery boy, after the doodlebug crashed into land behind Old Tye Avenue, Biggin Hill.’
    • ‘In 1943, I joined the Royal Marines at the Commando Training Unit, Lympstone, Devon, so I missed the doodlebugs and most of the V2 rockets.’
    • ‘In his first, wartime diaries, where he journeyed round Britain listing buildings for rescue by the National Trust, bombing raids and doodlebugs meant that death was in the air even though he was only in his thirties.’
    • ‘Now 60 years on, after watching countless documentaries about D-Day and doodlebugs, he is desperate to find out what happened to the infant.’


Mid 19th century (in doodlebug (sense 2 of the noun)): from 17th-century doodle ‘ninny’ + bug.