ca·​noo·​dle | \ kə-ˈnü-dᵊl How to pronounce canoodle (audio) \
canoodled; canoodling\ kə-​ˈnü-​dliŋ How to pronounce canoodle (audio) , -​ˈnü-​dᵊl-​iŋ How to pronounce canoodle (audio) \; canoodles

Definition of canoodle

intransitive verb

: to engage in amorous embracing, caressing, and kissing : pet, fondle lovers canoodling in the park … used to sit in the sun porch in the evening, among the geraniums and the begonias, whispering, holding hands, canoodling.— Edna O'Brien … widows in their sixties canoodle and exchange sweet nothings with boys a third of their age.— Matthew Gwyther

The Foolish History of Canoodle

The origins of canoodle are obscure. Our best guess is that it may come from an English dialect noun of the same spelling meaning "donkey," "fool," or "foolish lover," which itself may be an alteration of the word noodle, meaning "a foolish person." That noodle, in turn, may come from noddle, a word for the head. The guess seems reasonable given that, since its appearance in the language around the mid-19th century, canoodle has been most often used jocularly for playful public displays of affection by couples who are head over heels in love.

Examples of canoodle in a Sentence

Two lovers were canoodling on a park bench.
Recent Examples on the Web The adults-only ship has luxurious gold fixtures and bannisters, ultrachic, boutique-sized restaurants and double chaise loungers absolutely everywhere that seem destined for guests who want to canoodle the day away. Channon Hodge, CNN, 19 Sep. 2021 Watching the vulture parents canoodle with one another and care for and protect their young has provided a welcome relief from the daily dose of grim news of human misery and political gridlock. WSJ, 9 Mar. 2021 Her adventures have been adapted into a steamy Starz series with lots of kilts and canoodling. Brandon Griggs, CNN, 10 May 2020 Fortunately, canoodling with the well-monied is a longtime hobby of A-Rod’s. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 21 Apr. 2020 The program – whose Super Bowl ad featuring coy orangutans and canoodling polar bears was a standout— is a lead in to April 22’s Earth Day. Paula Parisi, Billboard, 4 Apr. 2019 From boldly addressing the nuances of #MeToo on her new Apple TV+ drama, The Morning Show, to canoodling with a five-foot python for BAZAAR, the 43-year-old actress and producer takes risks without even wobbling in her stilettos. Camilla Akrans; Fashion Editor: Patrick Mackie, Harper's BAZAAR, 7 Oct. 2019 Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton walked arm-in-arm down the red carpet on Sunday night at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, and, inside, John Legend and Chrissy Teigen canoodled in their seats. Emily J. Sullivan, The Hollywood Reporter, 27 Jan. 2020 From getting up close and personal on their sun loungers to full-on touching tongues in public to canoodling in the swimming pool, Davidson and Gerber both looked pretty smitten. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, 23 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'canoodle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of canoodle

1859, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for canoodle

perhaps from English dialect canoodle, noun, donkey, fool, foolish lover

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The first known use of canoodle was in 1859

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can opener

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Cite this Entry

“Canoodle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2022.

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English Language Learners Definition of canoodle

: to hug and kiss another person in a sexual way

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for canoodle

Nglish: Translation of canoodle for Spanish Speakers


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