• synonyms


[kuhj-uh l]
See more synonyms for cudgel on Thesaurus.com
  1. a short, thick stick used as a weapon; club.
Show More
verb (used with object), cudg·eled, cudg·el·ing, or (especially British) cudg·elled, cudg·el·ling.
  1. to strike with a cudgel; beat.
Show More
  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.
Show More

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 for cudgelled

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 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
Show More
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
Show More
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."

Show More



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

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper