Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 16:07:20 -0600
From: Mike Salovesh t20mxs1[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU
Subject: Re: canoodle [long]

Jim Rader wrote:

Ms. Lubell--

Seeing that you sent a query about the etymology of _canoodle_ both
to this office (left on an editor's voicemail) and the list, I will
reply to both at the same time. Sorry if this is too late for your

An article by B.J. Whiting that appeared in _American Speech_ in 1945
seems to have been overlooked in the recent discussion of this word.
Whiting pointed out that the acceptance of _canoodle_ as an
Americanism in the standard dictionaries was questionable.


When the thread on "canoodle" began, I had a vague memory of running across
that word in a different context: classic mystery novels by British authors.
The recollection is getting stronger, but I haven't identified the source . .
. the word was put in the mouth of a "great detective" character with lots of
persona-setting individual speech mannerisms (and, as I recall, a large middle
reminiscent of Nero Wolfe). I'm pretty sure that the author was John Dickson
Carter Dickson. (Same author, two noms de plume.)

Following up on this lead, I just talked to a colleague who collects mystery
novels. She couldn't help with a Carr/Dickson cite (partly because she doesn't
like locked-room mysteries in the first place), but she suggests that her only
familiarity with the word canoodle comes out of the British side of the
Atlantic. She has the impression that the word does turn up in mysteries by
several British authors writing in the 1920s/1930s. Nope, no citations came to

I'll keep following this lead until my curiosity bone stops itching. Just
thought I'd pass it on FWIW. Anyhow, I really DO like the Dickson/Carr
oeuvre. It will be fun to go back to it.

-- mike salovesh
anthropology department
northern illinois
university PEACE !!!