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 cudgelling (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

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

Now, the Elysian Valley artist has obtained that cudgel. Los Angeles Times, "This activist bought 4.5 acres of the L.A. River just to have a stake in its revitalization," 5 Aug. 2019 Union leaders have launched a frontal assault on Garcetti’s sweeping environmental plan — and are using homelessness as a cudgel. Sammy Roth, latimes.com, "Those ads ripping Garcetti on homelessness? They’re about fighting his Green New Deal," 14 July 2019 Democrats have used Trump’s rejection of climate science as a cudgel in the early stages of the presidential campaign. Scott Waldman, Scientific American, "In Environment Speech, Trump Fails to Mention Climate Change," 9 July 2019 Yet Harris chose this issue as a cudgel with which to bludgeon Joe Biden. George Will, National Review, "How Can Presidential Candidates Be So Silly?," 7 July 2019 Yet Harris chose this issue as a cudgel with which to bludgeon Joe Biden. George Will, Twin Cities, "George Will: How can presidential candidates be so silly?," 7 July 2019 Democrats could well find a similar political cudgel. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "Trump’s free ride from Congress just ended," 7 Nov. 2018 Other figures scribble graffiti, or torture a dog with a cudgel. A.v. | New York, The Economist, "Why William Hogarth’s polemics were so successful," 25 June 2019 And using the gas tax as a cudgel on a seemingly unrelated issue should rightly raise concerns. James Sutton, National Review, "The California Housing Crisis and the Problem with Local Control," 19 June 2019

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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Dictionary Entries near cudgel

cuddly

cuddy

cuddyhole

cudgel

cudgel play

cudgerie

cudweed

Statistics for cudgel

Last Updated

13 Aug 2019

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 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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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

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