Word of the day: canoodle

August 27, 2008

According to the OED:

canoodle, v. intr. To indulge in caresses and fondling endearments. Also formerly trans., to persuade by endearments or deception.

The earliest usage given is from 1859, but my favourite is from 1864:  “He will ‘canoodle’ the ladies … into the acquisition of whole packages of gimcrack merchandise.” [my italics]

The American Heritage Dictionary thinks the word is more explicit, defining it as “To engage in caressing, petting, or lovemaking.”

Before today, I did not know that this was the meaning of the word.  Before today, I thought it was a nonsense word.  In my ignorance, I have for several years been using “canoodle” as an affectionate, and perhaps sometimes gently mocking, synonym for “Canada”: “I am from Canoodlia”, “I’m a Canoodlian”, and so forth. I think I may have even used the word in that sense on this web log.

Well, this is all a little embarrassing.

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One Response to “Word of the day: canoodle”

  1. Marc Says:

    Uh… it’s a slang word that’s been misinterpreted due mostly to TV shows in the past decade. It literally means to fuck. Came into English with Scandinavian immigrants 150 years ago as Knulla which is pronounced exactly the same. Pretty well understood slang term by the oldest old timers in the upper midwest.


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