Recently I came across the word noodling which in the context referred to singing an improvised sort melody made up of nonsense syllables over the top of a song. I hadn’t encountered this usage before so remembered it. I thought this sort of thing would be called improvisation or scat singing. Have you heard of noodling use in this way.
According to the OED, a noodle can be a stupid or silly person; a slang term for the head; long string-like pasta-type stuff; or a trill or improvisation on an instrument (mainly in jazz).
According to Wikipedia noodling “is fishing for catfish using only bare hands, practiced primarily in the southern United States.” Other names for this activity include catfisting, grabbling, graveling, hogging, dogging, gurgling, tickling and stumping. I’ve heard of tickling for trout, but never of noodling for catfish, or those other terms.
The Free Dictionary lists a number of noodle related phrases:
- to noodle around = to wander around; to fiddle around with something
- to noodle over something = to think about something.
- to use one’s noodle = to use one’s head/brain
Have you heard or do you use any of these expressions? If not, what equivalents might you use?