Definition of cudgel in English:



  • A short, thick stick used as a weapon.

    • ‘Just as noise trumps silence and rage trumps courtesy, the cudgel of lawsuits to silence or cower the opposition trumps free debate.’
    • ‘A gang of men - armed with hockey sticks and cudgels - rammed a white Transit van through the shutters of a warehouse on the outskirts of Heathrow Airport, said a Scotland Yard spokesman.’
    • ‘Stones were attached to walking sticks to form cudgels.’
    • ‘But the cudgel was wielded to get me back in line; it worked.’
    • ‘Khan was among a mob wielding cudgels, swords, hammers and guns who attacked a group of West Indians in what was described as a premeditated and racially motivated attack.’
    • ‘The vicious movement had caused him to drop his makeshift cudgel in fear a moment before his life was taken.’
    • ‘The muledrivers with their cudgels made short work of the pair, and Don Quijote and his faithful squire soon joined Rocinante on the ground.’
    • ‘Our boats bristled with cudgels, axes, knives, and machetes.’
    • ‘The Government was wielding a rapier, not a cudgel, and wanted to concentrate on the clear and pressing dangers.’
    • ‘Seven armed men jumped out, four carrying cudgels, two with spears, and one holding a bow.’
    • ‘He changed from the cudgel to the rapier, and achieved a rare mastery at it.’
    • ‘He started to his feet and grasped his cudgel; but the next moment he fell back into his seat, trembling violently, and with the countenance of death itself.’
    • ‘As they poured out of cars, waving cudgels, swords, hammers and guns, the West Indians who were enjoying the sunshine fled for cover.’
    • ‘The notion that peace demonstrators had arrived at a demonstration tooled-up with cudgels and swords seemed improbable to practically everyone bar the time.’
    • ‘Instead of a burglar with a bag and maybe a cudgel or shotgun, they saw a small mound under the bedclothes.’
    • ‘In 1974, Jimmy Connors, a strutting young braggart who used his racket like a cudgel, bludgeoned his way to the final of Wimbledon.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I traced the sound of dripping water past a shelf case stacked with thick wooden cudgels and a full row devoted to big butcher-type knives.’
    • ‘If a patent has been primarily a shield - to protect an inventor's discovery from exploitation by others - lately it has become just as much a cudgel.’
    • ‘As a pundit, he usually favored the shiv over the cudgel.’
    club, bludgeon, stick, truncheon, baton, blackthorn, mace, bat
    blackjack, billy, billy club, nightstick
    lathi, danda
    kierie, knobkerrie
    cosh, life preserver
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  • Beat with a cudgel.

    ‘they would lie in wait and cudgel her to death’
    • ‘Virgil's lines are as a shepherd's staff, for cudgeling foes or correcting friends.’
    • ‘They cudgel him and force him to confess to his iniquities.’
    • ‘I must mention, in passing, that there was a picture of him in the newspaper - and he does have a face, or wears an expression, that rather invites a cudgelling.’
    • ‘The temple guards cudgel him even before he has been judged.’
    • ‘Physicality, violence, and apparent cruelty were part and parcel of popular recreations, exemplified in activities like cudgelling, cock throwing, and bull baiting.’
    • ‘The fact that we get along at all with out cudgelling each other to death is one of life's minor miracles.’
    • ‘We are being cudgeled into agreeing to wars of aggression, to make first use of nuclear weapons and to put weapons in outer space.’
    • ‘Sadly, as with many good things, doom cryers scurried up from their disgruntled burrows, saw people having a good time, and cudgeled the party.’
    • ‘The blasts cudgeled the black ship, smashing it back and forth like a ball tossed between hands as the shields sputtered, flaming and flickering in tortured protest.’
    • ‘Bluetooth takes its name from Harald Blatand, the 10th-century Danish king who cudgeled neighboring Viking chieftains into unifying Denmark and Norway.’
    bludgeon, club, beat, batter, bash
    attack, assault
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  • cudgel one's brain (or brains)

    • Think hard about a problem.

      ‘she cudgelled her brain, trying to decide what had caused such an about-face’
      • ‘Friends, theorists may be cudgeling their brains trying to explain this, but perhaps you share my feeling that the explanation is not really too hard to come up with.’
      • ‘But for all of that, the breakthrough wouldn't come, however hard I cudgeled my brains.’
      • ‘So we are forever cudgelling our brains and therefore scowling.’
      • ‘I sense unhappy sponsors beating on the doors, and producers cudgeling their brains trying to figure out what has happened.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This must be one of the questions with which he has been cudgelling his brain over the last twelve months or so.’
      • ‘Miranda cudgels her brains trying to fathom how jokes work.’
      ponder, reflect, deliberate, meditate, contemplate, muse, cogitate, ruminate, be lost in thought, be in a brown study, brood
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  • 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’
      • ‘The municipal workers union has taken umbrage at the allegations and has vowed to take up cudgels on behalf of their comrades in the flying squads.’
      • ‘I wrote to those who were talking about affordable housing, but neither took up the cudgels.’
      • ‘Bearing this in mind, it is intriguing to see it taking up the cudgels on behalf of the family of a murdered police officer.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 after her husband Michael died a year ago after being seriously ill for two years, during which time she had to provide him with 24-hour care.’
      • ‘Anyway, it is not surprising that some of the townspeople have taken up the cudgels against the hunt.’
      • ‘When she left later that year, he took up the cudgels and drove the school towards achieving its target.’
      • ‘This week I took up the cudgels of credit controller for my small business.’


Old English cycgel, of unknown origin.