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A doodle is a type of sketch, an unfocused drawing made while a person's attention is otherwise occupied. Doodles are simple drawings that can have concrete representational meaning or may just be abstract shapes.

Stereotypical examples of doodling are found in school notebooks, often in the margins, drawn by students daydreaming or losing interest during class. Other common examples of doodling are produced during long telephone conversations if a pen and paper are available.

Popular kinds of doodles include cartoon versions of teachers or companions in a school, famous TV or comic characters, invented fictional beings, landscapes, geometric shapes and patterns, textures, banners with legends, and animations made by drawing a scene sequence in various pages of a book or notebook.



The word doodle first appeared in the early 17th century to mean a fool or simpleton.[1] It derives from the German dudeln, to play (originally, to play the bagpipe or dudel).[citation needed] German variants of the etymon include Dudeltopf, Dudentopf, Dudenkopf, Dude and Dödel. American English dude may be a derivation of doodle.

The meaning "fool, simpleton" is intended in the song title "Yankee Doodle", originally sung by British colonial troops prior to the American Revolutionary War. This is also the origin of the early eighteenth century verb to doodle, meaning "to swindle or to make a fool of". The modern meaning emerged in the 1930s either from this meaning or from the verb "to dawdle", which since the seventeenth century has had the meaning of wasting time or being lazy.

In the movie Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Mr. Deeds mentions that "doodle" was a word made up to describe scribblings to help a person think. According to the DVD audio commentary track, the word as used in this sense was invented by screenwriter Robert Riskin.

Effects on memory

According to a study published by Applied Cognitive Psychology, doodling helps a person's memory significantly. The study was done by Professor Jackie Andrade, of the School of Psychology at the University of Plymouth.[2]

See also


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