[kuhj-uh l]
See more synonyms for cudgel on
verb (used with object), cudg·eled, cudg·el·ing, or (especially British) cudg·elled, cudg·el·ling.
  1. to strike with a cudgel; beat.
  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.

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. 2018

Examples from the Web for cudgelled

Historical Examples of cudgelled

  • Schomberg cudgelled his brains for a new topic, but he could not find one.


    Joseph Conrad

  • They considered her a very fine lady because she was not afraid of them, but cudgelled them about.

  • He had cudgelled his brain for days to find just the right subject.

    A Little Girl in Old Salem

    Amanda Minnie Douglas

  • He cudgelled his memory, and at last he remembered it was the face of an old comrade.

    White Lies

    Charles Reade

  • She cudgelled her brains to devise some means of getting the better of her captives.

British Dictionary definitions for cudgelled


  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
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
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 cudgelled



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