a doodle by any other name

Since I’m such a stand by your doodle man, and since it’s a large part of what this blog is dedicated to, I did what I frequently do - I looked up the word doodle in the dictionary to see exactly what the definition was.  Here we go, it’s a goodie.

But first as an aside, guess what my favorite cookie is?  That is correct – Snickerdoodle.  Coincidence?  I think not, I’ve always loved them ever since I can remember.  It’s destiny I tell you.  Nobody could make a snickerdoodle like my mother’s mother; they were so perfect.  Until now, that is.  My very own sweet & savory vegan makes the best, and now easily my favorite of all time snickerdoodle.  Sorry Grammy.

The bluish text below was extracted from dictionary dot com, a place I frequent.  http://dictionary.reference.com/



1)  to draw or scribble idly:  He doodled during the whole lecture.

2)  to play or improvise idly.

3)  to waste (time) in aimless or foolish activity.


4)  a design, figure, or the like, made by idle scribbling.

5)  Archaic – a foolish or silly person.

Word Origin & History: doodle.  “scrawl aimlessly,” 1935, from dial. doodle, dudle  “fritter away the time, trifle.”  It was a noun meaning “simple fellow” from the 1620s.

LONGFELLOW: That’s a name we made up back home for people who make foolish designs on paper when they are thinking.  It’s called doodling.  Almost everybody’s a doodler.  Did you ever see a scratch pad in a telephone booth?  People draw the most idiotic pictures when they’re thinking.  Dr. Von Holler, here, could probably think up a long name for it, because he doodles all the time. ["Mr. Deeds Goes to Town," screenplay by Robert Riskin, 1936; based on "Opera Hat," serialized in "American Magazine" beginning May 1935, by Clarence Aldington Kelland]

and from the Slang Dictionary…

doodle definition

1)  n. – the penis.  (Usually objectionable.) : Put your doodle away, Jimmy and flush the toilet.

2)  n. – feces, especially a baby’s feces.  (Baby talk.)  :  Billy’s got doodle in his diapers.

3)  in. – to defecate.  (See also doo-doo.  Baby talk.)  :  The dog doodled on the back porch.

Damn dude, but I suppose, if the shoe fits… and what does the encyclopedia have to say about the ol’ doodle?

Absent-minded scrawl or scribble, usually executed in some unexpected place, such as the margin of a book or manuscript or a blotting pad when the doodler is preoccupied with some other activity, such as attending a meeting or lecture. The word is supposed to have gained currency because of its use in the film Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), though the practice of course is much older, doodles being found in medieval manuscripts, as well as in the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci and on the margins of manuscripts written by Fyodor Dostoysvsky.

Well at least the encyclopedia makes it sound a little bit more noble there at the end.  So apparently the doodle can fall in a spectrum anywhere between a piece of scat or penis all the way to a glimpse into the mind of a genius.  What a great word.

I personally think there is something highly insightful and telling in that mindless scribbling we all do.  When the mind opens up to the subconscious and lets it flow uninhibited down your arm, through your hand, and onto the paper.  I think the connection of head and hand is something quite primal and intuitive to us as humans.  In some respects it is our base language, one that unfortunately can get lost.

I’ve often marveled at how many people express an interest or even love of drawing only to imediatedly dismiss their ability to pursue it in the same breath because they thought, or worse yet, were told they couldn’t draw by a peer, parent or even a teacher.  WTF  That is absurd!  We can ALL draw.  Everyone can draw.  You don’t have to be Leonardo da Vinci to get your ideas down on paper.  There is nothing sacred, there is nothing it needs to be compared to; it is what it is, and it is all valid.  Do not stop doodling and drawing people.  We all have our own unique way of looking at the world, and that connection of brain to paper is an ancient and important way of communicating with ourselves and others.

Doodles also tell us about ourselves and shed light on what we are feeling.  Un-edited and un-filtered; direct from your subconscious to the paper.  For me doodles are the inception or first glimpse of an idea or image.  Doodles are things I don’t know yet, but my brain is trying to help me figure out.  Often doodles are not at all what the final thing ends up being, but they are the spark that lights the fire.  Doodles can be that thing out of the corner of your minds eye that makes you stop and think – wait… what was that?

December 13, 2010 | Leave a Comment