cudgel

noun
cud·​gel | \ˈkə-jəl \

Definition of cudgel 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: a short heavy club The eighteenth-century audience went to the theatre armed with whistles, rattles, … and sometimes even wooden cudgels.— Ronald Hayman

cudgel

verb
cudgeled or cudgelled; cudgeling or cudgelling\ ˈkəj-​liŋ , ˈkə-​jə-​ \

Definition of cudgel (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to beat with or as if with a cudgel

cudgel one's brains

: to think hard (as for a solution to a problem)

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Synonyms for cudgel

Synonyms: Noun

bastinado (or bastinade), bat, baton, billy, billy club, bludgeon, cane, club, nightstick, rod, rung [Scottish], sap, shillelagh (also shillalah), staff, truncheon, waddy [Australian]

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Examples of cudgel in a Sentence

Noun

a farmer armed with a cudgel drove us off his land

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The latest flash point: the recent state budget that served as a cudgel to exert his dominance over Mr. de Blasio. Shane Goldmacher And J. David Goodman, New York Times, "Inside One of America’s Ugliest Political Feuds: Cuomo vs. de Blasio," 22 Apr. 2018 In the race for governor, Trump is wielded as a political cudgel. Matt Stout, BostonGlobe.com, "From statewide contests to local races, all politics are about Trump," 6 June 2018 The latest flash point: the recent state budget that served as a cudgel to exert his dominance over Mr. de Blasio. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Macron wants to be Trump’s buddy. Can it last? Five flash points to watch.," 23 Apr. 2018 Trump had used Saucier’s case as a political cudgel against Hillary Clinton during the campaign. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Problem With Trump’s Pardons," 1 June 2018 An alarmed Washington has started wielding national security as a cudgel to counter the gambit. Charlie Cambell/beijing, Time, "Lei Jun Wants to Be China’s Answer to Steve Jobs. But Trump’s Trade War Is Getting In His Way," 12 July 2018 Maybe the family separation issue is a cudgel that’s useful for attacking the Trump administration, but which, as a principle, will be abandoned as soon as Democrats retake power in 2021, 2025, or beyond. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "Dems are unified on immigration now. Will they still be when Trump is gone?," 20 June 2018 The United States had sought use the tariff threat as cudgel to win concessions from Canada and Mexico in talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. Paul Wiseman, BostonGlobe.com, "Trump takes aim at Canada as nations protest his tariffs," 1 June 2018 Evan Spiegel, Snap’s founder and CEO, tried to use the words as a cudgel. Tom Simonite, WIRED, "Big Tech Trades Splashy Conference Demos for Introspection," 31 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In the winter of 1775-76, Dunbar didn’t stand a chance against the 40 patriots in Farmington, Conn., who cudgeled him nearly to death near his home. Caitlin Fitz, WSJ, "Lives Lost for Their Countries," 11 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cudgel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cudgel

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1596, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cudgel

Noun

Middle English kuggel, from Old English cycgel; perhaps akin to Middle High German kugele ball

Verb

see cudgel entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near cudgel

cuddly

cuddy

cuddyhole

cudgel

cudgel play

cudgerie

cudweed

Statistics for cudgel

Last Updated

5 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cudgel

The first known use of cudgel was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for cudgel

cudgel

noun

English Language Learners Definition of cudgel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a short heavy club

cudgel

verb

English Language Learners Definition of cudgel (Entry 2 of 2)

: to hit (someone or something) with a club

cudgel

noun
cud·​gel | \ˈkə-jəl \

Kids Definition of cudgel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a short heavy club

cudgel

verb
cudgeled or cudgelled; cudgeling or cudgelling

Kids Definition of cudgel (Entry 2 of 2)

: to beat with or as if with a short heavy club

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More from Merriam-Webster on cudgel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cudgel

Spanish Central: Translation of cudgel

Nglish: Translation of cudgel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cudgel for Arabic Speakers

Comments on cudgel

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