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 West Wing officials were caught off guard by the rise in the number of migrants, many of them children, streaming across the U.S.-Mexico border, creating a humanitarian upheaval and handing Republicans a political cudgel. Jonathan Lemire, chicagotribune.com, "Biden presidency enters more perilous phase after first 100 days," 1 May 2021 West Wing officials were caught off guard by the rise in the number of migrants, many of them children, streaming across the U.S.-Mexico border, creating a humanitarian upheaval and handing Republicans a political cudgel. Jonathan Lemire, Star Tribune, "More perilous phase ahead for Biden after his 1st 100 days," 1 May 2021 Both the Left and Right increasingly use economics as a cudgel in political battles. Alexander William Salter, National Review, "Is Economics a Liberal Art?," 31 Mar. 2021 Requiring people to show up in-person could also be used as a disciplinary cudgel or a way to keep an eye on less trusted or productive workers. Chase Difeliciantonio, San Francisco Chronicle, "'You show face in the office, you get brownie points': What are the risks of staying remote as offices reopen?," 12 Apr. 2021 It’s been decades since Puerto Rico was the prosperous tropical outpost of American capitalism, used as a contrast and a cudgel against socialist Cuba. Daniel Alarcón, The New Yorker, "The Collapse of Puerto Rico’s Iconic Telescope," 29 Mar. 2021 House Republicans are practically salivating at the chance to use Biden's move to reject the Keystone XL pipeline as a 2022 campaign cudgel against Democrats, the Washington Examiner’s Kerry Picket reports. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "Daily on Energy, sponsored by EFP: What makes Texas’ power grid unique," 16 Feb. 2021 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 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 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cudgel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cudgel. Accessed 17 May. 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

Comments on cudgel

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