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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 cudgelled
Historical Examples
  • And though she cudgelled her brains, she could not come at it.

    The Rainbow D. H. (David Herbert) Lawrence
  • He cudgelled his memory, and at last he remembered it was the face of an old comrade.

    White Lies Charles Reade
  • Besides raising up two poor people as accusers, they thought it advisable to have him cudgelled by a noble.

  • Do you need to be cudgelled with a whole universe to begin to learn to guess?

    The Lost Art of Reading Gerald Stanley Lee
  • After settling down at Kadampur he cudgelled his brains for some means of increasing his slender resources.

    Tales of Bengal S. B. Banerjea
  • She was cudgelled with Paul in the Church and with her inability to fight by the State.

    The Arena Various
  • Harper cudgelled his still dazed brain, and finding none, shook his head.

    The Black Moth Georgette Heyer
  • Then with sticks and staves they fell upon the rearguard and cudgelled them.

    Cheshire Charles E. Kelsey
  • She was not an ordinary working-woman, he saw that, and cudgelled his brains to find out how she came into the country at all.

    The Sweep Winner Nat Gould
  • So one of the party, an inventive genius, cudgelled his brains for a substitute.

    Cakes & Ale Edward Spencer
British Dictionary definitions for cudgelled


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 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
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