[kuhj-uh l]


a short, thick stick used as a weapon; club.

verb (used with object), cudg·eled, cudg·el·ing, or (especially British) cudg·elled, cudg·el·ling.

to strike with a cudgel; beat.

Nearby words

  1. cudbear,
  2. cuddle,
  3. cuddlesome,
  4. cuddly,
  5. cuddy,
  6. cudgel one's brains,
  7. cudgerie,
  8. cudjo,
  9. cudlipp,
  10. cudweed


    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 formscudg·el·er; especially British, cud·gel·ler, nounun·cudg·eled, adjectiveun·cudg·elled, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for cudgel one's brains



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 or -elled or US -els, -eling or -eled

(tr) to strike with a cudgel or similar weapon
cudgel one's brains to think hard about a problem
Derived Formscudgeller, noun

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

Word Origin and History for cudgel one's brains
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with cudgel one's brains

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.