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Cooked Chinese noodles


Its early plural form noodlejees suggests a Dutch origin; from Dutch noedel (noodle)[1], from German Nudel (piece of pasta, noodle), of uncertain origin. Perhaps from an alteration of German Knödel (dumpling), from German Knoten (knot) or from Latin minutulus (very small, tiny) in the sense of "to chop (food) into small pieces"[2] or Latin nodulus (little knot). The senses "fool" and "brain, head" are probably unrelated.[3]


  • IPA(key): /nuːdl̩/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -uːdəl


noodle (plural noodles)

English Wikipedia has an article on:
  1. (usually in the plural) a string or strip of pasta
    She slurped a long noodle up out of her soup.
  2. (colloquial, dated) a person with poor judgement; a fool
    • 1839, Sydney Smith, “Preface”, in The Works of Sydney Smith:
      the chuckling grin of noodles
    • 1854, Charles Dickens, “(please specify the chapter name)”, in Hard Times. For These Times, London: Bradbury & Evans, [], OCLC 4389957:
      If that portrait could speak, sir — but it has the advantage over the original of not possessing the power of committing itself and disgusting others, — it would testify, that a long period has elapsed since I first habitually addressed it as the picture of a noodle.
  3. (colloquial) the brain, the head
  4. (colloquial) a pool noodle

Usage notes[edit]

Udon: called noodles in the UK and US.
Fusilli: called noodles in the US only.

In British English, noodle is chiefly used to describe Asian-style products comprising long, thin strands of dough. In American English, noodle can also refer to a range of European-style products which in British English would only be referred to as pasta.[4]


For quotations using this term, see Citations:noodle.

Derived terms[edit]


See also[edit]


noodle (third-person singular simple present noodles, present participle noodling, simple past and past participle noodled)

English Wikipedia has an article on:
  1. To think or ponder.
    He noodled over the problem for a day or two before making a decision.
    "Noodle that thought around for a while" said Dr. Johnson to his Biblical Interpretations class.
  2. To fiddle, play with, or mess around.
    If the machine is really broken, noodling with the knobs is not going to fix it.
  3. To improvise music.
    He has been noodling with that trumpet all afternoon, and every bit of it sounds awful.
    • 2020 November 9, Gwen Ihnat, “With McCartney III, Paul McCartney offers lessons from a legendary life”, in The A.V. Club:
      We’ve learned the prospective danger of Macca noodling around in the studio from McCartney III’s predecessors—“Wonderful Christmastime” came out of the McCartney II sessions, after all.
  4. (fishing) To fish (usually for very large catfish) without any equipment other than the fisherman's own body
    Fred had several lacerations on his hands from noodling for flathead in the river.
  5. (Australia) To fossick, especially for opals.
    • 1989, Association for Industrial Archaeology, Industrial archaeology review, volume 12:
      On the Olympic Field the tour-group is permitted to ‘noodle’ (hunt for opals) on the waste or mullock heaps []
    • 1994, RonMoon, Outback Australia: a Lonely Planet Australia guide:
      In Coober Pedy, noodling for opals is generally discouraged, although a few tourist spots, such as the Old Timers Mine, have noodle pits open to the public.
    • 2006, Making Waves: 10 Years of the Byron Bay Writers Festival, Marele Day, Susan Bradley Smith, Fay Knight, editor,(Please provide the book title or journal name):
      We learn how Lennon used to noodle (fossick) for opal as a kid, how camels were for a long time the only form of transportation, and where the name 'Coober Pedy' came from.


Derived terms[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2022), “noodle”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.
  4. ^ August 12, 2015, Lynne Murphy, Noodles, Separated by a Common Language




noodle m (plural noodles)

  1. noodle (food)