Dictionary.com defines noddle as:

noun Older Slang.

the head or brain.

What is the etymology of this slang?

I've never heard the term "noddle" before, but I have heard the term "noodle" used as slang to describe the head or brain. Did this slang derive directly from noddle, or did it become slang to mean head or brain through an independent route?



1 Answer 1


Nobody knows.

The OED says "noddle" is "of uncertain origin"; it dates back to around 1425. It suggests there might be a relation to "nod" (around 1390, origin unknown but probably Germanic) or "noll" (Old English, now dialect, meaning the top of the head), but thinks a link to Latin nōdulus (meaning a little knot and hence other things of a similar shape) is less likely.

"Noodle" (meaning both idiot and head, which are apparently related; the idiot sense from 1720, head from 1762) is likewise "origin uncertain"; with a link to the older word "noddle" possible but unproven.

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