Sometimes random words just pop into my head – at other times words totally elude me! for some reason as I sat down to write ‘doodlebug’ came into my mind. I know it was a flying bomb during the last war, but was it something else… an actual bug or insect maybe? Or is the bug part of the word derived from something completely different… and doodle… to draw without concentrating…

This is what dictionary.com says about doodlebug:

  • any of various small, squat vehicles
  • a divining rod or similar device supposedly useful in locating underground water, oil, minerals, etc.
  • British Informal  buzz bomb
  • the larva of an antlion
  • any of certain insect larvae that resemble the antlion
  • a self-propelled railroad car; a one-car train
  • a small reconnaissance car
  • a military tank, esp a light tank
  • a German jet-propelled robot bomb, the V-1

A most interesting site, http://www.etymonline.com gives us this:

  • doodle – scrawl aimlessly, 1935, from the dialect word doodle from dudle meaning to “fritter away time, trifle,” and maybe associated with dawdle. It also meant a “simple fellow” from the 1620s.
  • doodle sack – a bagpipe and in Dutch a rude word!!
  • Yankee Doodle – a popular tune of the American Revolution, apparently written c. 1755 by the British Army surgeon Dr. Richard Schuckburgh
  • doodle-bug – type of beetle or larvae, c. 1866, Southern U.S. dialect – the same word was applied 1944 in R.A.F. slang to German V-model flying bombs
  • cock-a-doodle-doo  –  from the 1570s if not before, imitative and can compare to the  French cocorico, the German kikeriki, the Latin cucurire, Russian kikareku, Vietnamese cuc-cu, Arabic ko-ko, etc.
  • flapdoodle – 1833, originally “the stuff they feed fools on” probably an arbitrary formation of sounds meant to sound ridiculous, perhaps with allusions to flap “a stroke, blow” and doodle “a fool, simpleton.”

So now I know… might be useful if it crops up in the pub quiz!!

2 thoughts on “Doodlebug… why did it come into my head?

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