All the dictionaries I've consulted list the origin of "canoodle"(to engage in caressing and fondling) as "unknown" or "obscure." Does anybody have an interesting theory (or has heard of one) for this term?
All the dictionaries I've consulted list the origin of "canoodle"(to engage in caressing and fondling) as "unknown" or "obscure." Does anybody have an interesting theory (or has heard of one) for this term?

It's from the low German knudl.
Seriously, though, its interesting that several words in the same semantic ballpark as "canooodle" end in "-le" "fondle", "cuddle", "snuggle" . . .

Ross Howard
All the dictionaries I've consulted list the origin of "canoodle"(to engage in caressing and fondling) as "unknown" or "obscure." Does anybody have an interesting theory (or has heard of one) for this term?

The AHD (at http://www.bartleby.com/61/36/C0073600.html ) suggests that it's:
"akin to English dialectal canoodle,
donkey, fool, one who is foolish in
love."

Christopher
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All the dictionaries I've consulted list the origin of "canoodle"(to ... interesting theory (or has heard of one) for this term?

It's from the low German knudl. Seriously, though...

You might actually be close to the mark. From the Maven's Word of the Day on the Random House site (from 1998, when I believe Jesse Sheidlower was still the Maven):
http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/index.pperl?date=19980225 A likely source for canoodle is the German knudeln 'to cuddle'. This etymon would be possible if canoodle is American, but it is very unlikely if the word is British.
If canoodle is not from German knudeln, no other likely source suggests itself. The English Dialect Dictionary records "canoodle" from the English county of Somerset, meaning 'donkey', and the EDD notes that the word is "used also figuratively of one who makes love foolishly." The connection between donkeys and foolish behavior is well established, but this still seems like an extremely tenuous link to explain this word. And of course we still don't know where canoodle 'donkey' comes from.
... its interesting that several words in the same semantic ballpark as "canooodle" end in "-le" "fondle", "cuddle", "snuggle" . . .

... "nuzzle", "nestle", "dandle", "firkytoodle" (*)...

(*) Firkytoodle: "to indulge in physically intimate endearments, esp. in those provocative caresses which constitute the normal preliminaries to sexual congress." Dictionary of Historical Slang (1972) Removed)
... "nuzzle", "nestle", "dandle", "firkytoodle" (*)...

snozzle? Maoris (and possibly Eskimos) like to smash noses. My newest pickup line: "May I dip my billy into your billabong?"
... "nuzzle", "nestle", "dandle", "firkytoodle" (*)...

A colleague of mine recently described "dangling" her infant son on her knee. I asked her if a hotel balcony was involved. She reacted with confusion.
snozzle? Maoris (and possibly Eskimos) like to smash noses. My newest pickup line: "May I dip my billy into your billabong?"

You're a brave, brave man.

Bob Lieblich
Who is not that brave
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A colleague of mine recently described "dangling" her infant son on her knee. I asked her if a hotel balcony was involved. She reacted with confusion.

snozzle? Maoris (and possibly Eskimos) like to smash noses. My newest pickup line: "May I dip my billy into your billabong?"

Aren't you worried about getting sniffulus?
All the dictionaries I've consulted list the origin of "canoodle"(to ... interesting theory (or has heard of one) for this term?

The AHD (at http://www.bartleby.com/61/36/C0073600.html ) suggests that it's: "akin to English dialectal canoodle, donkey, fool, one who is foolish in love."

Seeing that The term "'canoodle" seems to have arisen in the US and not the UK, I think the German etymology is more probable.

(orig. U.S.).
canoodle - ex OED
intr. To indulge in caresses and fondling endearments. Also formerly trans., to persuade by endearments or deception. Hence canoodler, canoodling vbl. n. and ppl. a.
(first citation)

1859 SALA Tw. round Clock 11 a.m., A sly kiss, and a squeeze, and apressure of the foot or so, and a variety of harmless endearing blandishments, known to our American cousins..under the generic name of ‘conoodling'