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[kuhj-uh l] /ˈkʌdʒ əl/
a short, thick stick used as a weapon; club.
verb (used with object), cudgeled, cudgeling or (especially British) cudgelled, cudgelling.
to strike with a cudgel; beat.
cudgel one's brains, to try to comprehend or remember:
I cudgeled my brains to recall her name.
take up the cudgels, to come to the defense or aid of someone or something.
Origin of cudgel
before 900; Middle English cuggel, Old English cycgel; akin to German Kugel ball
Related forms
cudgeler; especially British, cudgeller, noun
uncudgeled, adjective
uncudgelled, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for cudgeling
Historical Examples
  • He will come quicklier than for cudgeling him as thou dost.'

  • I was just cudgeling my brains for a suitable form in which to present my request.

    Trusia Davis Brinton
  • Tom had been cudgeling his brains to remember all that Old Sol had told him about his favorite places for setting his mink traps.

    Rocky Mountain Boys St. George Rathborne
  • One was driven by wind and sun; even the clouds took a hand in cudgeling one on.

    The Camerons of Highboro Beth B. Gilchrist
  • They walked out to the avenue, Joe cudgeling his brains as to what the next step should be.

    Baseball Joe on the Giants Lester Chadwick
  • Edouard was in despair, and Lampin was cudgeling his brains, swearing that they should not take him alive.

  • There is a possibility, he said, as one cudgeling his brains to recall something once known but long out of memory.

  • There is less kicking and cudgeling, and more attention is given to that best of all rules, "The Golden Rule."

  • When my day boy left, I promoted a night boy to the second day job, and was cudgeling my brain for a good chap to go on nights.

    Danger Signals John A. Hill and Jasper Ewing Brady
  • Here have I been cudgeling my brains all day to devise means to retain a cook that will please you!

    Wanted: A Cook Alan Dale
British Dictionary definitions for cudgeling


a short stout stick used as a weapon
take up the cudgels, often foll by for or on behalf of. to join in a dispute, esp to defend oneself or another
verb -els, -elling, -elled (US) -els, -eling, -eled
(transitive) to strike with a cudgel or similar weapon
cudgel one's brains, to think hard about a problem
Derived Forms
cudgeller, noun
Word Origin
Old English cycgel; related to Middle Dutch koghele stick with knob
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cudgeling



Old English cycgel "club with rounded head;" perhaps from PIE root *geu- "to curve, bend."



"to beat with a cudgel," 1590s, from cudgel (n.). Related: Cudgeled; cudgeling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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