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[kuhj-uh l] /ˈkʌdʒ əl/
a short, thick stick used as a weapon; club.
verb (used with object), cudgeled, cudgeling or (especially British) cudgelled, cudgelling.
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
Related forms
cudgeler; especially British, cudgeller, noun
uncudgeled, adjective
uncudgelled, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for cudgel
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Then, with what a gracious dexterity he brandishes his cudgel!

    The Ned M'Keown Stories William Carleton
  • Down went the Dumb man, and away flew his cudgel from his hand as he fell.

  • Not sorry to have a weapon in addition to his cudgel, Charlie placed it in his belt, and then started with the bandits.

    A Jacobite Exile G. A. Henty
  • Coupeau had a cudgel, which he called his ass's fan, and he fanned his old woman.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • He griped the cudgel in his right hand, and struck the dancers with might and main, just as the old man had done.

    Twilight Land Howard Pyle
British Dictionary definitions for cudgel


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, -elled (US) -els, -eling, -eled
(transitive) to strike with a cudgel or similar weapon
cudgel one's brains, to think hard about a problem
Derived Forms
cudgeller, 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
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Word Origin and History for cudgel

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
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