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

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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 This heady blend will sit contentedly in an airtight jar by your stovetop, ready for canoodling just as happily with avocado on toast as with stews. Sue Quinn, Washington Post, "Go ahead, have chocolate for dinner: Why you should cook with it, and not just dessert," 4 Oct. 2019 In the final throes of the campaign, Netanyahu issued a rather surreal video instructing Israelis to make correct use of election day — a national holiday — by casting a ballot rather than canoodling in bed with their lovers. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "Netanyahu’s election bid and the shadow of apartheid," 17 Sep. 2019 The two also seem unhappy to have gotten caught canoodling. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Hidden Clues from the "13 Reasons Why" Season 3 Trailer That You Probably Missed," 1 Aug. 2019 My favorite place to canoodle with my boo is at the mall. Longreads, "My Love Affair with Chairs," 13 Sep. 2019 Not to be outdone, Justin shared a picture of the two canoodling in a car. Vogue, "Justin and Hailey Bieber are Having a Romantic Time in Tokyo," 1 Aug. 2019 And Perrella draws a varied crowd, from tables of seasonal snowbirds savoring veal chops to canoodling couples on date nights over gnocchi. Claire Perez,, "Positano’s Zuppa di Mussels: ‘Everyone loves dunking their bread in the garlicky tomato sauce’," 30 Aug. 2019 The gift comes after the two ladies were spotted canoodling while on vacation together following Miley's split from husband Liam Hemsworth and Carter's break up from Jenner. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Miley Cyrus & Kaitlynn Carter Send Brody Jenner a Weed Bouquet for His Birthday," 21 Aug. 2019 Matt WinkelmeyerGetty Images Near the finale of the second season of Laguna Beach, Lauren Conrad helps organize a charity fashion show and watches in horror as then-boyfriend Jason canoodles with (and kisses!) his ex-girlfriend, Jessica. Anne T. Donahue, Marie Claire, "Heidi Montag Has Always Been the Hero of 'The Hills'," 8 July 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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Statistics for canoodle

Last Updated

12 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for canoodle

The first known use of canoodle was in 1859

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More Definitions for canoodle


How to pronounce canoodle (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of canoodle

informal + old-fashioned : to hug and kiss another person in a sexual way

More from Merriam-Webster on canoodle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with canoodle

Nglish: Translation of canoodle for Spanish Speakers

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).


not being in agreement or harmony

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