Definition of cudgel one's brain (or brains) in US English:

cudgel one's brain (or brains)

phrase

British
  • Think hard about a problem.

    • ‘So we are forever cudgelling our brains and therefore scowling.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I sense unhappy sponsors beating on the doors, and producers cudgeling their brains trying to figure out what has happened.’
    • ‘Miranda cudgels her brains trying to fathom how jokes work.’
    • ‘This must be one of the questions with which he has been cudgelling his brain over the last twelve months or so.’
    ponder, reflect, deliberate, meditate, contemplate, muse, cogitate, ruminate, be lost in thought, be in a brown study, brood
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