• synonyms


[kuhj-uh l]
See more synonyms for cudgel on Thesaurus.com
  1. a short, thick stick used as a weapon; club.
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verb (used with object), cudg·eled, cudg·el·ing, or (especially British) cudg·elled, cudg·el·ling.
  1. to strike with a cudgel; beat.
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  1. cudgel one's brains, to try to comprehend or remember: I cudgeled my brains to recall her name.
  2. take up the cudgels, to come to the defense or aid of someone or something.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

excoriate, scold, berate, upbraid, castigate, assail, knock, pelt, trounce, punch, crush, thrash, smack, batter, bash, wallop, lash, flog, maul, whip

Examples from the Web for cudgeled

Historical Examples

  • At tampes, the mayor who promulgates the law is cudgeled to death.

    The Origins of Contemporary France, Volume 2 (of 6)

    Hippolyte A. Taine

  • I slackened my pace, and cudgeled my brain, as the saying is, for some moments.

    A New Sensation

    Albert Ross

  • Mullen, batting for Pipp, cudgeled the ball to left, and Baker and Gedeon counted.

    News Writing

    M. Lyle Spencer

  • He cudgeled his brains as to what answer he could make to the Emperor.

  • He cudgeled his brains to invent some reasonable excuse for bidding her farewell.

    The Great Mogul

    Louis Tracy

British Dictionary definitions for cudgeled


  1. a short stout stick used as a weapon
  2. take up the cudgels (often foll by for or on behalf of) to join in a dispute, esp to defend oneself or another
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verb -els, -elling or -elled or US -els, -eling or -eled
  1. (tr) to strike with a cudgel or similar weapon
  2. cudgel one's brains to think hard about a problem
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Derived Formscudgeller, 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

Word Origin and History for cudgeled



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

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper