from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A dog of a breed developed in Europe to retrieve game from the water, having a thick curly coat that is often clipped, and classified by size into standard, miniature, and toy varieties.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One of a breed of usually undersized fancy or toy dogs, with long curly hair.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Zoöl.) A breed of dogs having curly hair, and often showing remarkable intelligence in the performance of tricks.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Any of various breeds of dog originating in Europe as hunting dogs, and having heavy, curly fur in a solid color; their shoulder height indicates their classification as standard, miniature, or toy.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an intelligent dog with a heavy curly solid-colored coat that is usually clipped; an old breed sometimes trained as sporting dogs or as performing dogs


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[German Pudel, short for Pudelhund : Low German pudeln, to splash about (from pudel, puddle) + German Hund, dog.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From German Pudel, a shortened form of Pudelhund, a compound of Hund ("dog") and the German Low German term Pudel, Pūdel ("puddle"), from the onomatopoeic term pudeln ("to splash about").


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  • figuratively, One eager to take care of someone else's needs—either stated or anticipated—especially in order to maintain a position of privilege or status.

    July 27, 2009

  • "... the word poodle derives from the German word puddeln, meaning 'to splash in water.' Originally a water dog and retriever of water game, the poodle is closely related to the Portuguese water dog and the Irish water spaniel."

    —Merrily Weisbord and Kim Kachanoff, Dogs with Jobs: Working Dogs Around the World (NY and London: Pocket Books, 2000), 130

    More info on poodle clip.

    July 28, 2009

  • Online Etymological Dictionary gives a slightly different emphasis on the derivation:

    "1825, from Ger. Pudel, shortened form of Pudelhund 'water dog', from Low Ger. Pudel 'puddle' (cf. pudeln 'to splash') + Ger. Hund 'hound'."

    July 28, 2009

  • Yeah, it's not the best source to trust for etymologies, but I thought the quote was interesting. (Actually I like the one on poodle clip better!). Also pudeln is a more fun thing to say than Pudel. No? Reminds me of kugeln.

    ... is that even a word? Maybe I'm thinking of flugelhorn.

    Oh, and the book spelled pudeln wrong. Dumb book.

    July 28, 2009