A Word for Wednesday

Noodle - n. A simpleton

I had no idea that "noodle" could be used to describe something besides pasta, did you? Now, I love pasta. I'm half-Italian. Spaghetti and all other forms pasta kind of come with the territory, along with meatballs and tomatoes and olive oil and garlic. So, imagine my surprise when I'm skimming through words and see that noodle is not defined as relating to food. I honestly did a double take. I've heard things like "limp noodle" used to describe people, but the idea is that they're spineless, not silly. This is a drastically different way to use a very common word, which makes it doubly fun :) 

Obviously, this is an obscure useage of the word. Normally obscurity isn't the problem, because the words themselves are distinctive. Well, try typing "noodle, literature" into Google. It doesn't work out very well, unless you want all manner of recipes and stories involving pasta - in which case that search works perfectly. So, I have no idea what the history of this word is, or when it stopped meaning simpleton and started meaning pasta. I was really wanted to know that too, because I'm sure the evolution of meaning would be fascinating.

Noodle tales seem to be a sub-genre under both folk lore and children's stories. I found a number of books with noodle in their titles. Things like The Book of Noodles: Stories of Simpletons or Fools and their Follies by William Alexander Clouston, and All of Our Noses are Here: And Other Noodle Tales by Alvin Schwartz.

I think it makes for a great dialogue. It's almost as fun as using nincompoop. Noodle is just easier to say ;)

"I started walking away. I hadn't taken more than ten steps before I felt mud splatter on my back.

"Go on, keep walking, you noodle," he said. 

I stopped. 

"Ignore him," Elaina took the crook of my arm and tugged. 

I started walking again. 

"Oh, well done," he said. "You're a real hero now, aren't you? Being led away by a girl. What a pair you make! The noddle and the ninny."

Elaina spun on him. "You shut your mouth!"
I grabbed her around the waist. "Ignore him," I said.  


  1. In Ireland and the UK, noodle is rarely used to describe pasta. We call long thin strands of pasta spaghetti, that's it.

  2. oh how fun! I learn something new each day :)

  3. I did not know that! That's cool!

  4. fun! thanks for stopping by my blog!


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