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.