|Photo by Becky Wetherington|
Verb intransitive and transitive. Slang (originally US). Mid-19th century.
Cuddle amorously; fondle, pet.
Since becoming a regular reader and occasional contributor to the Lexicolatry project, I have developed an increasing fascination with the stories behind word origins. And, as an all-grown-up person in this world, I have more than a passing interest in today's subject matter. Canoodle, it turns out, is a mystery word that appeared in the mid-1800s of unknown and contested origins. Some note the similarity with the German word knudeln, which means 'to cuddle,' as well as the Swedish knulla, 'to fornicate.' However, the graying heads in the hallowed halls of etymology remain unconvinced and, while the earliest cited sources of the word are British, they are all quick to point to America as the originator of the word, hence the British Eddie of Lexicolatry passing this word off to the resident American Lexicolatrist.
While the debate rages in scholarly circles, and internet word enthusiasts scour the syllables for etymological leads, this humble blog contributor would like to simply ask if there could be a nicer word for a chilly January day? Canoodle with a loved one before the fire. Watch an old movie with severe characters warning teenagers against unwise canoodling in the backseats of old-fashioned cars. Whisper sweet nothings while canoodling on a couch and then fix a cajoling look upon the object of your affection and whisper "Darling, won’t you please pass the dictionary?"
Where do you canoodle? Any good canoodling stories?
Does canoodle make you think first of 'canoe' or 'noodle'?
(or cuddling, of course, since that’s the word’s meaning …)
Happy canoodling, fellow Lexicolaters. Stay warm and cozy out there!
(and please pass the dictionary)