ca·noo·dle | \kə-ˈnü-dᵊl \
canoodled; canoodling\-ˈnü-dliŋ, -ˈnü-dᵊl-iŋ \

Definition of canoodle 

intransitive verb

: pet, fondle lovers canoodling in the park

Keep scrolling for more

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

Justin Bieber’s engagement to Hailey Baldwin is definitely surprising, considering the two have been canoodling only since mid-June. Sarah Spellings, The Cut, "A Comprehensive Timeline Of Hailey Baldwin and Justin Bieber’s Relationship," 9 July 2018 Mendes, who isn't normally one to post pictures with lady friends, has already been rumored to be canoodling with Alec Baldwin's niece. Abby Jones, Billboard, "Shawn Mendes Posts Pic With Hailey Baldwin and Fans Are Instantly Shipping Them," 4 Apr. 2018 And then the next month, paparazzi caught the two canoodling in the Mendes’ hometown for the holidays., "Sorry If You Were Shipping Shawn Mendes & Hailey Baldwin," 26 May 2018 Then, in July, the two were reportedly canoodling, holding hands and kissing at Entertainment Weekly’s Comic-Con bash in San Diego. Julia Emmanuele,, "Are They or Aren't They? We Investigate the Status of 7 Celeb Couples Who Are Confusing Everyone," 25 Apr. 2018 While Lambert celebrated making history as the most decorated act in ACM history with 32 wins, her ex spent the night canoodling with his new love Stefani. Sasha Savitsky, Fox News, "ACMs: Miranda Lambert shares 'broken heart' at first awards show with ex Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani," 16 Apr. 2018 Though famous couples like Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor and John Lennon and Yoko Ono once canoodled in happy seclusion here, King Eddy is frequented now more by business masterminds. New York Times, "We’ll Never Be Royals, But ...," 21 Apr. 2018 The couple often took their relationship public, canoodling on red carpets and talking about each other in interviews., "Wrestlers John Cena, Nikki Bella call off engagement," 16 Apr. 2018 Though the couple has kept an extremely low-profile, they were caught canoodling a few times during the music festival on Saturday night. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "Leonardo DiCaprio's Coachella Disguise Was A Giant Fail," 16 Apr. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about canoodle

Listen to Our Podcast about canoodle

Statistics for canoodle

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for canoodle

The first known use of canoodle was in 1859

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for canoodle



English Language Learners Definition of canoodle

: to hug and kiss another person in a sexual way

Comments on canoodle

What made you want to look up canoodle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


lying above or upon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!