Green’s Dictionary of Slang

piddle v.

[mid-16C SE piddle, to trifle, to work or act in a petty or insignificant way. The ext. to urination began as a childish expression (? implying the insignificant amount of urine produced). The phrs. below therefore refer back to the 16C use, even if the assumption is of the later one]

1. to urinate.

[UK]‘Peter Pindar’ More Lyric Odes to the Royal Academicians VI 15: A pair of globes, so like the things, That dogs may go, and ’gainst them piddle.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Piddle, to make Water. A childish expression, Mammy I want to piddle.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (3rd edn).
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK] ‘Sam Booze’s Funeral’ Lummy Chaunter 87: One mourner piddled in his shoes, / Another hah’d his breeches.
[UK] ‘Lord Bateman’s Long Jock’ Gentleman’s Spicey Songster 21: In his prison there grew a tree, / To which they chained him round the middle / For twenty years he could not move / Away from it, to go to piddle.
[UK] ‘Nursery Rhymes’ in Pearl 5 Nov. 32: Said she, ‘Does it itch?’ / ‘It does, you damned bitch, / And burns like hell-fire when I peedle.’.
[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) I 13: She sometimes held my little prick when I piddled.
[UK]‘Mary Suckit’ Yvonne 20: It was always when she was enjoying the most delicious sensations, that this want to piddle came over her.
[UK]‘Ramrod’ Nocturnal Meeting 113: Fancy your having the impudence to piddle down my back.
[US]E. Dahlberg Bottom Dogs 229: Suddenly the nag bolted, came to a suredead halt and started to piddle.
[US]H. Miller Tropic of Cancer (1963) 60: You run at her heels like a watchdog and you piddle everywhere.
[US]G. Legman Rationale of the Dirty Joke (1972) I 244: Send me up a blonde, a bedpan, and a violin — I don’t know whether I want to diddle, piddle or fiddle.
[Aus]‘Cats on the Rooftops’ in Mess Songs & Rhymes of the RAAF 1: He doesn’t stop to take it out, he piddles through his nose.
[UK]I. & P. Opie Lore and Lang. of Schoolchildren (1977) 113: Oh the black cat piddled in the white cat’s eye, / The white cat said, Gord blimey.
[UK]J.R. Ackerley We Think The World Of You (1971) 60: Don’t let ’im piddle on ’em, for Gawd’s sake!
[US] Ian Dury ‘Spasticus Autisticus’ [lyrics] I widdle when I piddle.
[UK]F. Pitt-Kethley Sky Ray Lolly 25: I was quite glad when Polly, next-door’s cat [...] ran up and piddled through our bannisters.
[Ire]R. Doyle Woman Who Walked Into Doors 13: It was only a bucket with a fancy lid on it [...] Roger was determined that he was going to piddle into it.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Mystery Bay Blues 274: He gazed down at the cherub piddling away in the backyard below.
[UK]Guardian G2 10 Jan. 7: On-screen piddling has come out of the (water) closet.
B. Reed ‘The Meat Axe by the Kitchen Door’ in Passing Strange (2015) 5: She knows she needs to piddle.

2. to rain, with an implication of drizzle rather than heavy rain.

[UK](con. 1950s) J. Healy Death of an Irish Town 56: The ubiquitous lawn-sprinkler piddled on grey-brown grass.

In derivatives

In phrases

piddle about (v.) (also piddle, piddle around) [see main ety. above]

1. to waste time, to mess about.

[[UK]R. Ascham Toxophilus (1761) II 136: You cunninge archers [...] beinge verye Englishmen, neuer ceasynge piddelynge about theyr bowe and shaftes, whan they be well].
[US]J.W. Carr ‘Words from Northwest Arkansas’ in DN III:i 90: piddle, v. To waste one’s time. ‘He’s just piddlin’ around.
[US]Eve. Star (Wash., DC) 11 Sept. 20/1: The kids piddling around in the attic.
[US]G.H. Mullin Adventures of a Scholar Tramp 108: At one house I found an old man piddling around in the kitchen.
[UK]P. Larkin letter 13 July in Thwaite Sel. Letters (1992) 153: I suppose there is a work of some kind somewhere that I should enjoy doing, [...] certainly piddling about in a Library is not it.
[US]K. Vonnegut ‘Thanasphere’ Bagombo Snuff Box (1999) 22: We can’t afford to piddle around.
[US]Mad mag. Summer 18: They didn’t waste time. They didn’t piddle. No messing around.
[US] H. Huncke ‘Oral History of Benzedrine’ in Huncke Reader (1998) 340: A lot of people who weren’t of the underworld were piddling around with the stuff [i.e. benzedrine].
[US]J. Lansdale Rumble Tumble 122: He wouldn’t work. Not really. He’d piddle here and there to pick up a few bucks.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

[US]T. Thackrey Gambling Secrets of Nick The Greek 41: This [...] piddle-around action is the worst that can happen.

3. to waste, to squander.

[US]R.W. Brown ‘Word-List From Western Indiana’ in DN III:viii 585: piddle, v. To waste one’s time in trifles.
[UK]W. Eyster Far from the Customary Skies 166: We was only listenin’ for the hell of it. Piddlin’ time by, that’s all.
piddle along (v.) [see main ety. above]

lit. or fig., to wander, to go.

[US]W.R. Burnett Dark Hazard (1934) 159: One minute you were piddling along, winning a little, losing a little; then suddenly something hit you; you were a different man; your ‘luck was in’.
[US]H. Miller Tropic of Cancer (1963) 204: We piddled along at the edge of the basin where everything was jumbled and tangled.
piddle away (v.) [see main ety. above]

to waste, to squander.

[UK]W. Eyster Far from the Customary Skies 308: Ah’m gonna hold up my strength for when I get back on the farm, an’ ju’ piddle away time like these’ns.
[Aus]J. Wynnum I’m a Jack, All Right 17: Piddling all your savings up against a pub wall.
[US]P. Conroy Great Santini (1977) 277: High school coaches in the Deep South who usually regarded basketball as a bastard weak-kneed son who whined and piddled away the dark season between football and baseball.
[US]A. Maupin More Tales of the City (1984) 93: We will not piddle away the rest of our days.