cudgel

noun
cud·​gel | \ ˈkə-jəl How to pronounce cudgel (audio) \

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 How to pronounce cudgel (audio) , 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

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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 But after Republicans attempted to use his background as a political cudgel, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi passed over Hastings and picked a different chairman. Anthony Man, sun-sentinel.com, "Congressman Alcee Hastings, after career of triumph, calamity and comeback, dies at 84," 6 Apr. 2021 Meanwhile, Republicans have latched onto Biden's immigration policies, long the cornerstone issue of former President Donald Trump's policy platform, as a political cudgel to harshly criticize the new administration. Matthew Brown, USA TODAY, "'The border is closed': DHS Secretary Mayorkas defends Biden administration's handling of unaccompanied minors at border," 22 Mar. 2021 The fraying of those ties was exacerbated by a bitter trade war, the coronavirus pandemic and a re-election campaign in which Mr. Trump used China as a cudgel to attack the ultimate winner, President Biden. New York Times, "Trump as You’ve Never Seen Him Before," 12 Mar. 2021 Health care was a top issue for Democrats in the last two elections, both as a potent political cudgel against Republicans as well as a defining force in the presidential primary. USA TODAY, "Biden's COVID-19 relief bill includes an expansion of Obamacare. Here's how it would work," 2 Mar. 2021 The Mullah regime has also leveraged its vast oil supplies to apply pressure to energy importers like Iraq, using energy sales as a cudgel. Ariel Cohen, Forbes, "Mystery Israeli Oil Spill Leads To Multimillion Dollar Clean-Up," 26 Feb. 2021 The Feds, still licking their wounds after Prohibition ended in 1933, had moved on from marijuana to opiates as their cudgel of choice. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Andra Day burns hot and cool as jazz great in ‘The United States vs. Billie Holiday’," 25 Feb. 2021 With high mandatory sentences as a cudgel, prosecutors pervasively threaten defendants with draconian charges that could lead to years of imprisonment. Washington Post, "A fed-up judge condemns the inequities in America’s legal system," 19 Feb. 2021 Colbert asked: People who want to make hay in Washington are going to try to use your adult son as a cudgel against you. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "There’s Nothing Unfair about Investigating the Bidens’ Shady Dealings," 20 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Yet doing away with the government’s critic-cudgelling arsenal should be a much higher priority. The Economist, "Malaysia’s government should scrap repressive laws while it still can," 20 July 2019 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 and Verb

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

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Time Traveler for cudgel

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for cudgel

Last Updated

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cudgel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cudgel. Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce cudgel (audio) \

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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Comments on cudgel

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