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Definition: A noisy, yapping, dog (noun); Making the noises associated with a yappy dog (verb).

Pronunciation: Ki-Yoo-del

Origin: A word born inside American English, this word dates to about 1925. It had its genesis in the Louisiana area of America. It has been used by both John Steinbeck and Upton Sinclair.

Why this word?

Although there are differences between American English and English English, many of the differences are simply matters of dialect. For example, I say ‘footpath’, you say ‘sidewalk’, I say ‘colour’ you say ‘color’, let’s call the whole thing off …

Kyoodle, however, is an altogether different beast. It is a word that belongs solely to American English. It does not have a shared history with English English. Whereas different spellings of the same word, such as ‘Favourite’ (England) and ‘Favorite'(US) are signals perhaps of evolving dialects, brand-new words such as kyoodle are a sign of something altogether different – the possibility of a new language.

Finally – if nothing else, kyoodle and the act of kyoodling sound too good to pass up!

How to use this word:

It is difficult to know if you should use this word if you are not a native speaker of American English. Being an Irishman, and a speaker of Hiberno-English, I feel no more right to use this word than I might a German or a French word. However, if I was to, I might refer to that kyoodling neighbourhood dog that kept me awake until 3 last night. And people might just know what I was talking about …


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Written by Sean Carabini

Seán Carabini is a Dublin-based author. To date, Seán has written the humorous travel memoirs 'Sticking Out in Minnesota' and 'American Road', as well as 'American Road: The poems' - a book of travel poetry related to the memoir. Seán has also developed a podcast based on the book - subscribe to the American Road podcast today! Seán is a committee member of the Irish Writers' Union.

Chrissy Skelton is Seán Carabini's editor. A graduate of the University of Minnesota's Anthropology programme, Chrissy emerged armed with an arsenal of little-known words and cumbersome jargon - all of which will now be off-loaded onto 'unusedwords' readers!


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