From dialectal duddle (to trick) (16th century), duddle (to totter) (17th century); perhaps influenced by the name (which itself was probably chosen as an allusion to duddle) of the swindling character Jeremy Diddler in Kenney's Raising the Wind (1803). Meaning "to have sex with" is from the 19th century; "to masturbate" is from the 1950s. Compare dildo.


  • (UK) IPA(key): [ˈdɪdəɫ]
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪdəl
Examples (music)
Single Paradiddle  
Double Paradiddle  
Triple Paradiddle  


diddle (plural diddles)

  1. (music) In percussion, two consecutive notes played by the same hand (either RR or LL), similar to the drag, except that by convention diddles are played the same speed as the context in which they are placed.
  2. (slang, childish) The penis.
    • 2011, L. R. Baker, Wingnut: Operation Payback, page 104:
      Paul was the first one to unzip his pants, take out his diddle, and make himself ready to pee on the wire.


diddle (third-person singular simple present diddles, present participle diddling, simple past and past participle diddled)

  1. (transitive, slang) To cheat; to swindle.
    • 1988, Roald Dahl, Matilda:
      'No one ever got rich being honest,' the father said. 'Customers are there to be diddled.'
  2. (transitive, slang) To have sex with.
  3. (transitive, slang) To masturbate (especially of women).
  4. (transitive) To waste time.
  5. (intransitive) To totter, like a child learning to walk; to daddle.
    • (Can we date this quote by Frances Quarles and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      And, when his forward strength began to bloom, / To see him diddle up and down the Room!
  6. (transitive, computing, slang) To manipulate a value at the level of individual bits (binary digits).
    Coordinate term: twiddle



The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.



  1. A meaningless word used when singing a tune or indicating a rhythm.
    What's that tune that goes "diddle di-dum, diddle di-dum, diddle di-dum-dum"?