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 Trump was frequently explicit in using race as a cudgel. Aamer Madhani, ajc, "Trump legacy on race shadowed by divisive rhetoric, actions," 10 Jan. 2021 By turning the country’s dependence on foreign chips into a cudgel for attacking companies like Huawei, the administration made Chinese business and political leaders resolve never to be caught out that way again. New York Times, "With Money, and Waste, China Fights for Chip Independence," 24 Dec. 2020 The Hong Kong government denied the moves were politically motivated, but experts said the city’s standing as the premier banking center in Asia would be jeopardized if China’s national security law were seen as a cudgel for economic coercion. David Pierson, Los Angeles Times, "China freezes pastor’s bank account in Hong Kong clampdown," 16 Dec. 2020 That’s because the threat to go out of network and charge patients sky-high rates gives providers a cudgel to hold over insurers in their negotiations over network status. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, "Column: The AMA throws a last-minute wrench into a plan to outlaw surprise medical billing," 16 Dec. 2020 Not that Italians would ever liquidate their national collections, but art, as was the case in the Leonardo show, became a political cudgel in disputes with the French, having nothing to do with art. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "Reforms Boost Italian Museums," 12 Sep. 2020 Presidential candidates did not haphazardly accuse their rivals of criminal behavior; incumbents did not threaten to jail their opposition or try to wield the Justice Department as a cudgel against their foes. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Case for Prosecuting Trump and His Cronies," 12 Nov. 2020 Newman said that showed how some members of the City Council think now is the time to give law enforcement a cudgel to move people living on the streets. Benjamin Oreskes, Los Angeles Times, "A newly constituted City Council could change L.A.'s approach to homelessness," 8 Nov. 2020 Republicans used it as a cudgel in the run-up to Tuesday’s election linking Madigan to Democratic candidates and causes on the ballot. Lisa Donovan, chicagotribune.com, "U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth: Time to consider replacing Michael Madigan as Illinois Democratic Party chair, House speaker," 6 Nov. 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

17 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

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

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More Definitions for cudgel

cudgel

noun
How to pronounce cudgel (audio)

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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