Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day


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Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.



February 14th, 2016

Episode 449 of 681 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 14, 2016 is: canoodle \kuh-NOO-dul\ verb : to engage in amorous embracing, caressing, and kissing Examples: Chaperones watched for couples attempting to sneak under the gymnasium's bleachers to canoodle. "The sexiest new lounge in Des Moines features a must-drink cocktail list that blends in well with the atmosphere of dim lights and cute little seating areas where couples cancanoodle." — Susan Stapleton, The Des Moines Register, 16 Dec. 2015 Did you know? The origins of canoodle are obscure. Our best guess is that it may come from an English dialect noun of the same spelling meaning "donkey," "fool," or "foolish lover," which itself may be an alteration of the word noodle, meaning "a foolish person." That noodle, in turn, may come from noddle, a word for the head. The guess seems reasonable given that, since its appearance in the language around the mid-19th century, canoodle has been most often used jocularly for playful public displays of affection by couples who are head over heels in love.

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