- a short, thick stick used as a weapon; club.
- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- 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
- (tr) to strike with a cudgel or similar weapon
- cudgel one's brains to think hard about a problem
Word Origin for cudgel
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
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
cudgel one's brains
see rack one's brains.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.