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

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

Did you know?

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 Holmes, 46, shared several photos of the couple canoodling on the sidelines while rooting for the Razorbacks. Emily St. Martin, Los Angeles Times, 24 Oct. 2023 Or, practice in the indoor studio, which begs for a thick pair of socks and yoga blanket canoodling. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, 5 Oct. 2023 Would she and Kelce be caught canoodling amid the biker merch at Blip Roasters in the West Bottoms, brewery-hopping in the Crossroads or debating sauces at Arthur Bryant’s? Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times, 28 Sep. 2023 Palmer was even seen canoodling with her baby father, Darius Jackson. Dominique Fluker, Essence, 5 Sep. 2023 Viewers even get a sweet montage of the boys canoodling to kick it all off. Jacqueline Tempera, Women's Health, 8 Aug. 2023 Cook and Shayne had been canoodling and seemingly formed an alliance, so castmates were shocked when Cook sent Shayne home. Erin Jensen, USA TODAY, 25 July 2023 Its name alone conjures swaying palms, calm lagoons and, of course, canoodling couples who flock here for romantic getaways in the ubiquitous overwater bungalows. Terry Ward, Travel + Leisure, 10 July 2023 Though it's been a while since viewers saw Daisy and first mate Gary King canoodling in Parsifal III's hot tub last season, Daisy's decision to act on her long-simmering attraction to his newly single wingman Colin came as a surprise. Dory Jackson, Peoplemag, 17 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'canoodle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1859, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of canoodle was in 1859


Dictionary Entries Near canoodle

Cite this Entry

“Canoodle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on canoodle

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