cudgel (one's) brains

(redirected from cudgelled his brain)

cudgel (one's) brains

To try very hard to comprehend, solve, think of, or remember something. I was up all night cudgeling my brains for a way to pay off all my debts. She cudgeled her brains to remember the man's name.
See also: brain, cudgel
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

cudgel your brain (or brains)

think hard about a problem.
This expression was used by Shakespeare in Hamlet: ‘Cudgel thy brains no more about it’.
See also: brain, cudgel
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

cudgel one's brains, to

To think hard; to make a vigorous attempt to solve or answer some question, or to remember something. The verb “to cudgel” means to beat with a cudgel (a short thick stick). Possibly the allusion here is to thrashing a schoolboy for failing to answer promptly or correctly. The word “cudgel” is hardly ever heard anymore except in this context, which dates from before 1600. Shakespeare had a clown say to another who was puzzling over a riddle, “Cudgel thy brains no more about it, for your dull ass will not mend his pace with beating” (Hamlet, 5.1). See also beat one's brains; rack one's brain.
See also: cudgel, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in classic literature ?
Passepartout might have cudgelled his brain for a century without hitting upon the real object which the detective had in view.
Two weeks had passed since Martin had seen him, and he vainly cudgelled his brains for some cause of offence.