And now it’s time for a linguistic pop quiz.
Which of the following words is not a synonym for chat: yak, gab, canoodle or blab?
If you guessed canoodle, you have a better mastery of old-fashioned expressions than CTV news anchor Andrew Johnson, who unintentionally proposed an amorous interlude with his colleague Astrid Braunschmidt on the local Vancouver Island channel yesterday.
The make-out mix-up came about after a segment on Union Bay, a small community near Courtenay, B.C. An elderly woman recalled a time when guys would bring their girlfriends to a wooded area to “canoodle or whatever.”
In his transition to the weather report, Johnson announced, “It’s time now for a full look at your forecast with Astrid. Maybe we can canoodle before you get into it.”
Braunschmidt, clearly aware of the word’s definition, appeared equally shocked and amused, emphasizing that there would be no canoodling.
Only then, as laughter could be heard from the offstage, was Johnson informed of his malapropism.
“Astrid, you’re lucky there’s a producer in my ear; I would have carried that on and on.”
News aggregating site Gather called the flub “one of the biggest news gaffes in recent history.” Cutest, maybe. But biggest seems a little extreme.
Indeed, this blooper highlight reel from local news stations across North America would suggest otherwise.
Although its etymology is not entirely clear, a British source from 1859 identifies its origin as American slang for caressing and fondling. Along with other colloquial terms like “smooch” and “necking”, “canoodle” has sadly fallen out of favour to “hooking up.”
But thanks to Johnson, the word has been kissed with a comeback, at least temporarily.
And there’s your morning water-cooler canoodle.