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There is a particular word for the action mentioned in Title line. I've not been able to recall it despite I've tried my best. Can anyone tell me what 'verb' that is which we used for such action? i.e. to play with fingers on the floor for nothing but even with absent mind, drawing lines with fingers. When we are just sitting doing nothing and deeply sunk in thoughts, we move our fingers on the floor as if sketching or drawing lines.

Even if it's done with a stick, such drawing that has no purpose, what verb should be used? 'draw'? or something else? When I was a kid, I read a word for this thing but it now doesn't occur to me. It sounded like SCRABLE or something like that.

  • do you mean drawing pictures in the dust? I'm having trouble imagining what this action is. – James K Jun 23 '19 at 10:58
  • Yes. Sometimes we, in particular when we are just sitting doing nothing and deeply sunk in thoughts, move our fingers on the floor as if sketching or drawing lines. I need to have an exact 'verb' for this. – xeesid Jun 23 '19 at 11:01
  • I suppose the person would already have to be sitting on the ground. To be honest I can't imagine myself doing this. I sometimes draw with a stick in the dust, but I don't think I'd use my fingers. – James K Jun 23 '19 at 11:05
  • Even if it's done with a stick, such drawing that has no purpose, what verb should be used? 'draw'? or something else? When I was a kid, I read a word for this thing but it now doesn't occur to me. It sounded like SCRABLE or something like that. – xeesid Jun 23 '19 at 11:07
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    Perhaps "scribble", see my answer below. – James K Jun 23 '19 at 11:16
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Drawing done without care or real purpose is called "doodling" (from the noun "a doodle")

Making random lines is called "scribbling", this can also be used for illegible writing.

Neither term is particular to "drawing with fingers on the floor" but could include that use:

The meeting was boring, so the President doodled on the margin of the agenda paper

The toddler took the crayon and scribbled all over the paper.

To pass the time, he doodled in the dust, drawing caricatures of his friends.

She doodled a picture of her teacher with a big nose, then scribbled over it when she saw the same teacher walking towards her.

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  • YES, it was scribble... – xeesid Jun 23 '19 at 11:17
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    Note, this doesn't mean "play with fingers on the floor". Check in a dictionary. – James K Jun 23 '19 at 11:18
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The verb I would use is trace. While most often it is used when the finger follows visible lines (or creates lines, as when drawing in the dirt), it is also used when there are no lines:

Hold up one palm and trace letters with the index finger from the other hand.

National Handwriting Day: Invisible Writing to Promote Emergent Literacy

Miss Fawcett nodded, and began to trace invisible patterns on the table with one forefinger.

The Unfinished Clue

... while he watched the little white finger tracing busily again on the cloth.

Everybody's Magazine

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