toodle

Today’s One Big Happy:

The church lady uses the verb toodle (or possibly tootle), which the kids don’t know. Ruthie, mind on bathrooms, guesses that it’s a polite synonym for pee ‘urinate’, like tinkle.

On tootle, from NOAD2:

tootle verb [no obj.]

1 casually make a series of sounds on a horn, trumpet, or similar instrument: he tootled on the horn.

2 informal  go or travel in a leisurely way: they were tootling along the coast.

ORIGIN early 19th cent.: frequentative of toot.

The origin is for sense 1, and the connection between the two senses is not at all clear to me.

For American speakers, with intervocalic “flapping” of t, toodle would be an unsurprising variant of tootle.

Or perhaps the church lady meant toddle:

verb [no obj.]   (of a young child) move with short unsteady steps while learning to walk: William toddled curiously toward the TV crew.

  • informal  walk or go somewhere in a casual or leisurely way: they would go for a drink and then toddle off home.

ORIGIN late 16th cent.: of unknown origin.

But it’s probably silly to speculate about the mental processes of cartoon characters.

For completeness, I add

toodle-oo  exclam. informal, dated    goodbye: we’ll see you later, toodle-oo!

ORIGIN early 20th cent.: perhaps an alteration of French à tout à l’heure ‘see you soon.’

One Response to “toodle”

  1. Jocelyn Limpert Says:

    This made me think of Chicago being referred to as “that toddling town.”

    Chicago (That Toddlin’ Town) – Wikipedia, the free …
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_(That_Toddlin’_Town)
    Wikipedia
    “Chicago” is a popular song. It was written by Fred Fisher and was published in 1922. The original sheet music variously spelled the title “Todd’ling” or “Toddling.

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