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Alternative forms[edit]


Origin unknown; compare Swedish knulla (to fuck), Norwegian Bokmål knulle (to fuck), German knuddeln (to cuddle). Folk etymology cites the use of two-person canoes as an activity to escape the presence of a chaperon by couples during Victorian and Edwardian times, and the activities such privacy allowed. Supposedly, a "canoe" and "paddle" were used to sail away from the chaperone.


  • IPA(key): /kəˈnuːdl̩/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -uːdəl
  • Hyphenation: ca‧noo‧dle


canoodle (third-person singular simple present canoodles, present participle canoodling, simple past and past participle canoodled)

  1. To caress, pet, feel up, or make love.
    Synonyms: touch up, grope; see also Thesaurus:fondle
    He’s got a big smile on his face; who’s he been canoodling recently?
    • 1915, Frank Danby (pseudonym; Julia Frankau), “The Arbuthnot Case”, in The Story Behind the Verdict:
      "Oh, yes! I felt I ought to know. They told me he had food the doctors forbade, and of the open window. Gerald Arbuthnot sat with her in the library all the time Jim was upstairs dying and they canoodled together on the sofa in front of the fire."
    • 2014 June 26, A. A. Dowd, “Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler Spoof Rom-com Clichés in They Came Together”, in The A.V. Club[1], archived from the original on 7 December 2017:
      As Norah Jones coos sweet nothings on the soundtrack, the happy couple—played by Paul Rudd and Amy Poehlercanoodle through a Manhattan montage, making pasta for two, swimming through a pile of autumn leaves, and horsing around at a fruit stand.
  2. To cajole or persuade.
    Synonyms: coax, inveigle, sweet-talk, wheedle
    • 1900, Pidgin, Charles Felton, Quincy Adams Sawyer and Mason's Corner Folks - A Picture of New England Home Life:
      He canoodled my husband into believin' that the end of the world was comin' and it was his duty to give all his property away.



canoodle (plural canoodles)

  1. A cuddle, hug, or caress