Definition of cudgel in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkəjəl/


A short thick stick used as a weapon.
Example sentences
  • The notion that peace demonstrators had arrived at a demonstration tooled-up with cudgels and swords seemed improbable to practically everyone bar the time.
  • He first declared a state of rebellion in May 2001 after his opponent's supporters, armed with cudgels and sticks, attempted to come close to the presidential palace.
  • The muledrivers with their cudgels made short work of the pair, and Don Quijote and his faithful squire soon joined Rocinante on the ground.
club, bludgeon, stick, truncheon, baton, mace, blackjack, billy club, nightstick, shillelagh

verb (cudgels, cudgeling, cudgeled ; British cudgels, cudgelling, cudgelled)

[with object]
Beat with a cudgel.
Example sentences
  • The fact that we get along at all with out cudgelling each other to death is one of life's minor miracles.
  • Virgil's lines are as a shepherd's staff, for cudgeling foes or correcting friends.
  • We are being cudgeled into agreeing to wars of aggression, to make first use of nuclear weapons and to put weapons in outer space.
bludgeon, club, beat, batter, bash



cudgel one's brain (or brains)

Think hard about a problem.
Example sentences
  • But for all of that, the breakthrough wouldn't come, however hard I cudgeled my brains.
  • I spent half my time in London, pontificating on everything from superpower disarmament to Scottish nationalism, half in Oxford, cudgelling my brains into understanding the German hyper-inflation of 1923.
  • So we are forever cudgelling our brains and therefore scowling.

take up the cudgels

Start to defend or support someone or something strongly: there was no one else to take up the cudgels on their behalf
More example sentences
  • She is adamant there is need to again take up the cudgels and for people to become involved in a campaign to have a general hospital located in Carlow Town.
  • Last week the government took up the cudgels and lodged a formal complaint that could eventually lead to a full-scale trade dispute.
  • She took up the cudgels at the recent protest meeting at the Wyvern Club in Church Walk, when many town councillors and members of local groups voiced their opposition to the closure.


Old English cycgel, of unknown origin.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cudg·el

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